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Legal Nursing

What is Legal Nursing?

Legal nursing combines the medical and legal fields. Legal nurse consultants review medical records and assist attorneys. This specialization gives nurses the opportunity to work in the medical field and the legal field simultaneously.

What Do Legal Nurse Consultants Do?

Legal nurse consultants serve as the medical expert on a legal team, advising on healthcare-related topics and helping others to understand medical situations and terminology. These nurses may be employed by hospitals, law offices, insurance companies, and other employers. Some of these individuals are self employed and provide consulting services on a case-by-case basis. According to Johnson & Johnson, some of the responsibilities of a legal nurse consultant include researching medical records, identifying standards of care, and testifying as a witness in cases involving medical matters, including malpractice, disability, and worker's compensation cases.

What are the Education and Certification Requirements?

In order to become a legal nurse consultant, one must first become a registered nurse. In order to do this, he or she has to complete an accredited nursing program and earn a diploma, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree. After graduation, the individual must pass the NCLEX-RN and become licensed as a registered nurse. Formal education is not required in legal nurse consulting, but it can be beneficial.

The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) offers certification and resources for becoming a legal nurse consultant. The organization requires that individuals have 5 years of clinical experience prior to taking the certification exam to become a legal nurse consultant. The AALNC also requires a current, unencumbered RN license and 2,000 hours of clinical nurse consulting experience within the past 3 years. After passing the exam, a nurse earns the Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) credential.

What is the Average Salary of a Legal Nurse Consultant?

It is difficult to estimate the average salary for legal nurse consultants, as this can vary by location, employer, and the individual's experience and education. Johnson & Johnson, estimates that legal nurse consultants make an average of $49,000-$64,000 per year.

What is the Job Outlook?

It is unclear exactly what the job outlook is for legal nurse consultants, but these individuals are technically registered nurses who work in the legal field. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts 26% job growth for registered nursing from 2010-2020.

Additional Resources

  • American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants: This is the official home page of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. This site provides you with a wealth of information on the legal nurse consulting industry as a whole, what to expect when testing for certification, educational and professional resources and membership opportunities.
  • The American College of Legal Nurse Consulting: This site provides you with information on how to enroll into the educational program to become a legal nurse consultant, frequently asked questions on legal nurse consulting and a link to an online resource board.
  • Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate Program: This is a link to a certificate nursing program that provides you with information on what to expect including the average amount of time you will spend studying and examples of the curriculum you will be required to complete.
  • Legal Nurse Consultant: This is a nursing program that is offered by Duke University that leads to a certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting. This site provides you with information so you know what to expect when enrolling.
  • Registered Nurses: This site provides you with in-depth information on a career as a registered nurse. It also provides you with specific information on the various specializations that are offered and includes projected outlook for the next 10 years as well as reported wage information for registered nurses. This is the official entry in the Occupational Outlook Handbook as put together by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the United States Department of Labor.
  • American Nurses Association: This is the official site to the American Nurses Association, which is the largest organization of its kind in the United States that is geared towards nurses. On this site, you will find information on nursing ethics, government affairs, professional nursing practice, health care policy and careers and credentialing.
  • Legal Nurse Consulting Program: This page provides you with information on the program that is offered at Widener Law Center. This program is approved by the American Bar Association and this page informs you on what to expect throughout the program.