Certified Legal Assistant v. Legal Nurse Consultant | allnurses

Certified Legal Assistant v. Legal Nurse Consultant

  1. 0 The legal definition of "competence" includes appropriate training, experience, and the "tools" requisite to accomplish the professional task.
    To that end, licensed nurses who have attended and graduated from ABA accredited paralegal schools and who have successfuly passed paralegal accrediting exams such as the Certified Legal Assistant Exam (a two day exam which includes objective questions and writing both a legal brief and a memorandum of law) have demonstrably significantly more competence than Legal Nurse Consultants whose training consists of informal training and testing which last several days to less than two weeks.
    The wide spread useage of the "Legal Nurse Consultant" certificate and the wide spread useage of nurses within the legal and related professions who have not demonstrated true "competence" as delineated above clearly disserves the public's interest to competent legal representation, advice, and care.
    Given the aforementioned, I believe that it is both ethical and practical, that all paralegals should be licensed, whether nurses or not, such that competent and ethical legal representation, as a nurse paralegal or simply as a paralegal, should be maintained.
    I am a Registered Nurse and a Certified Legal Assistant.
  2. Visit  Demonsthenes profile page

    About Demonsthenes

    70 Years Old; Joined May '05; Posts: 102; Likes: 13.

    13 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  sirI profile page
    0
    Quote from Demonsthenes
    The legal definition of "competence" includes appropriate training, experience, and the "tools" requisite to accomplish the professional task.
    To that end, licensed nurses who have attended and graduated from ABA accredited paralegal schools and who have successfuly passed paralegal accrediting exams such as the Certified Legal Assistant Exam (a two day exam which includes objective questions and writing both a legal brief and a memorandum of law) have demonstrably significantly more competence than Legal Nurse Consultants whose training consists of informal training and testing which last several days to less than two weeks.
    The wide spread useage of the "Legal Nurse Consultant" certificate and the wide spread useage of nurses within the legal and related professions who have not demonstrated true "competence" as delineated above clearly disserves the public's interest to competent legal representation, advice, and care.
    Given the aforementioned, I believe that it is both ethical and practical, that all paralegals should be licensed, whether nurses or not, such that competent and ethical legal representation, as a nurse paralegal or simply as a paralegal, should be maintained.
    I am a Registered Nurse and a Certified Legal Assistant.
    Interesting, Demonsthenes,

    I would like to see your cited sources for the "demonstrably significant competenc(y) (differences)".

    So, do you work in an attorney's office?
  4. Visit  NRSKarenRN profile page
    0
    what is informal learning?

    most learning doesn't occur during formal training programs. it happens through processes not structured or sponsored by an employer or a school. informal learning is the term i use to describe what happens the rest of the time. in order to truly differentiate between formal and informal, i also find it valuable to examine what is learned intentionally or accidentally.



    formal learning includes the hierarchically structured school system that runs from primary school through the university and organized school-like programs created in business for technical and professional training.

    informal learning describes a lifelong process whereby individuals acquire attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment, from family and neighbors, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media.

    intentional learning is the process whereby an individual aims to learn something and goes about achieving that objective.

    accidental learning happens when in everyday activities an individual learns something that he or she had not intended or expected.

    i also sometimes refer to one more category: non-formal learning. i define it is any organized educational activity outside the established formal system whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity intended to serve identifiable learning objectives.

    the distinctions between formal, informal, and non-formal were first developed in the 1950s by people working in the area of international development. in my experience and from the work we have done with organizations, there are far more opportunities for informal accidental learning than any other single type of learning.
    http://agelesslearner.com/intros/informal.html
    --------------

    what is certification?


    people often ask, "what is the difference between certification and a certificate?" to assist you in communicating with your colleagues and clients and to help avoid confusion in the marketplace, we have provided you with a detailed comparison. [color=#006666]click here for more information!



    legal nurse consultant certified (lncc) examination: certification

    certified legal nurse consultant http://www.legalnurse.com/cer/cer_01.html


    versus:



    certified legal assistant: professional certification
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Dec 18, '05
  5. Visit  Havin' A Party! profile page
    0
    Dem -- What are we really addressing here? Seems like apples to kiwis.

    The functions / roles of paralegals and LNCs are totally different.
  6. Visit  legalnurse22 profile page
    0
    Demonsthenes,
    "Legal Nurse Consultants utilize different skills than paralegals and nurse-paralegals, skills we already possess from our nursing education and experience. We participate in cases where health, illness or injury is at issue. We do not delve into real estate, probate, marital property, real property or other fields of law unrelated to a specific health issue. Nor do we do legal research and writing. A nurse who enters the legal field as a legal nurse consultant is still practicing nursing. We have not changed careers; we've only changed our practice area. We are not legal experts, nor do we 'perform specifically delegated substantive legal work' (which, according to the ABA, is what a paralegal/legal assistant does)." This quote was taken from a LNC that I respect very much. She taught me and thousands of other CLNCs around the country. I'm not an expert on legal matters, I'm an expert on nursing. My "competence" is my 27 years of clinical nursing experience and "to utilize a RN as a paralegal/legal assistant is to pull her away from her CORE strengths". I have what I need to get the job done. I do not need additional training as a paralegal. My role is clear. I am a LEGAL NURSE CONSULTANT.

    legalnurse22
  7. Visit  sirI profile page
    0
    Quote from legalnurse22
    demonsthenes,
    "legal nurse consultants utilize different skills than paralegals and nurse-paralegals, skills we already possess from our nursing education and experience. we participate in cases where health, illness or injury is at issue. we do not delve into real estate, probate, marital property, real property or other fields of law unrelated to a specific health issue. nor do we do legal research and writing. a nurse who enters the legal field as a legal nurse consultant is still practicing nursing. we have not changed careers; we've only changed our practice area. we are not legal experts, nor do we 'perform specifically delegated substantive legal work' (which, according to the aba, is what a paralegal/legal assistant does)." this quote was taken from a lnc that i respect very much. she taught me and thousands of other clncs around the country. i'm not an expert on legal matters, i'm an expert on nursing. my "competence" is my 27 years of clinical nursing experience and "to utilize a rn as a paralegal/legal assistant is to pull her away from her core strengths". i have what i need to get the job done. i do not need additional training as a paralegal. my role is clear. i am a legal nurse consultant.

    legalnurse22
    i could not have said it better myself, legalnurse22. excellent post.

    we as lncs are a compliment to the legal profession. we also know that we do not nor should we ever provide legal advice and/or legal writings for anyone. the paralegal is in no way prepared to offer medical-legal consulting services to anyone. the nurse paralegal is an excellent resource and much like the lnc. but, an rn who has demonstrated strong ability to practice as an lnc is equally important and really the better choice of the two professions, imho.

    finally, the lnc is better prepared to offer services to the attorney-client than the the legal assistant for the latter has no clue of the ins and outs of nursing and/or medicine. not that the assistant is not necessary in the attorney office. they are. they can "assist" the attorney in preparations of the case, do research, file important documents for later retrieval, etc. they have no clue how to assist in the preparation of an expert medical witness for deposition. the legal assistant has no clue how to review the medical record and determine whether the case has merit. the legal assistant has no clue how to conduct in depth research regarding the myriad medical/nursing diagnoses. the legal assistant really has no business offering any type of service as a medical-legal consultant.
  8. Visit  Havin' A Party! profile page
    0
    Quote from siri
    ... lnc... really the better choice of the two professions, imho.

    ... lnc is better prepared to offer services to the attorney-client than the the legal assistant for the latter has no clue of the ins and outs of nursing and/or medicine...
    think both roles / functions are valuable. which is the "better" choice as a profession is totally subjective. what's a better profession, medicine or law? culinary arts or engineering? tons of variables involved there.

    but both lncs and paras can be equally prepared to assist attorneys. it's just that each will cover different client needs.

    everyone have a great holiday(s)!
  9. Visit  marissa81579 profile page
    0
    I am confused. Paralegals and consultants are two totally different paths!! Why compare them? Personally, I would rather be a consultant, but that's just me.
  10. Visit  lisabeth profile page
    0
    I know I would rather be a consutant. I know what a legal assistant does all too well. LOL
  11. Visit  topamicha profile page
    0
    I've always been interested in what legal assistants do...since there seem to be a couple of you on here...can you tell me more about being a paralegal (not legal nurse consultant, just paralegal)? How is the demand? Pay? Benefits? If you just have an associates in legal assisting, can you still find a job? Off topic, I know...
  12. Visit  sirI profile page
    0
    Quote from topamicha
    i've always been interested in what legal assistants do...since there seem to be a couple of you on here...can you tell me more about being a paralegal (not legal nurse consultant, just paralegal)? how is the demand? pay? benefits? if you just have an associates in legal assisting, can you still find a job? off topic, i know...
    hello, topamicha,

    try these links for more info. i'm not aware of any paralegals on these boards. not to say there aren't any, just have not conversed with them.

    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos114.htm

    national paralegal association

    national association of legal assistants

    american association for paralegal education
  13. Visit  peblz521 profile page
    0
    Well, here I am, a R.N. and a certified paralegal. So ask away. I will tell you what I do and how I got here. I see a lot of confusing and misleading things said about nurse paralegals. I have 15 years of experience as a registered nurse. I wanted to do something different with my nursing degree, I wanted to be able to use my background and training in something else. About 5 years ago, I received an ABA paralegal certification. Nobody even knew I was a nurse at first, but when they found out, they were all jealous becuase they knew I wouldn't have trouble finding a job. You learn about negligence, causation, damages, how to do legal research and writing, etc. I had considered taking the Kaplan course I think, if I remember correctly but didn't know how to afford it. The paralegal program accepted financial aid whereas the other LNC courses didn't, so I took the paralegal course instead. It took me six months full time, you had to have a degree already, in anything. I have absolutely no regrets. What role do I function in? Completely as an RN. I have worked in law firms for plaintiff medical malpractice and product liability (bad drugs). I recieve a higher salary than a starting out paralegal because I am a nurse. Basically, my salary has been comparable to a paralegal that has been working 15-20 years. An example of what I do (in a nutshell) is, I receive the first call from the potential plaintiff, I evaluate the case to determine if it is even a case. I met with the attorney and family and got more details, I ordered (or had my legal assistants) order medical records and billing records. I reviewed the records, developed a chronology of care along with a narrative for the attorneys to insert into their correspondence as needed. I determined what kind of expert(s) was needed for each case, or if more than one was needed, be it medical or nursing. I developed lines of questioning for depositions for doctors and nurses, I attended the depositions with the attorneys and they depended on my judgment. I wrote complete settlement brochures, I prepared the case for trial, I ordered all the trial exhibits, and conducted extensive research. I have put all the medical case information in a power point presentation to make it easy for a jury to understand. I had 2 legal assistants who worked on discovery and filing with the courts. But, I could oversee the whole case from start to finish. (I am a neuro-trauma ICU nurse, so yes, I am a control freak) I want to know every aspect of the case, in fact, I can't even start looking at a case until I see the POP.

    (The position went down the drain after med-mal laws changed in Texas, the attorney I was working for got into civil rights for black farmers and native americans, I stayed with him for awhile but it wasn't busy enough and he was going through his mid-life crisis, but that's another story - but the civil rights was fascinating, we also had another case on the side involving a huge aviation manufacturing company)

    I am currently working in a law firm doing insurance defense. I love it too, and it suits me right now, I needed something lower key due to some changes in my life last year. Defense aspect is great too, I am still reviewing the plaintiff's medical records and giving the attorneys my opinion, whether it's good or bad for their side. They want the truth. The one difference in this role, this time, is that I do draft and answer discovery for the partner, it was a requirement - neither position was needed full time. But being involved in discovery only allows me to use my legal mind even more. I love to learn, the more the better for me. Being a paralegal only made me a more informed person. (for example, I did my own divorce, pro se', and the judge signed it the first time around - not a simple one, 3 kids, cost me about 200 bucks) I can still work as a nurse part-time or a paralegal alone if I wanted to. Now, let me be blunt on a few things. Would I want to be a paralegal? Hell no. It is a very tedious and time consuming job, it would drive me crazy and I don't have the patience, but as a nurse paralegal, the attorneys want my nursing brain and they are only happier if I can type up and file a designation of experts or medical and billing affidavits also. I couldn't be a legal secretary or a receptionist either though, I need autonomy and flexibility. I am appreciated for my sharp legal mind and my nursing ability and background.

    I have seen some very negative things posted by Vickie on her websites in regards to nurse paralegals and her dogma has been passed around quite a bit. It reminds me of when I was a new nurse and heard the saying that we eat our young. The other thing I find interesting, is the forcefulness of her comments, I can't help but read between the lines and it appears as usual, nurses are having to fight for every scrap of respect they can. Not understanding something is not a reason to completely dismiss it. I think that LNC's and Nurse Paralegals function in pretty much the same roles as far as nursing negligence goes, but I don't presume to know what her course is about and how an LNC should or should not function, because I am not one. Here is my "perceived" idea as to what an LNC does, now you all can tell me if I am correct or not. I think a LNC works on a contract basis, such as she markets herself to law firms that may need the services (no details needed here), the LNC then can work on a particular case for the attorney at an agreed upon rate for an agreed upon time. When the LNC is finished with her assignment, she may or may not have another one right away, depending on where she is in her "practice." The LNC can work from home if the attorney will allow the records to leave the building, or she may come in and do her thing, I'm not sure. I don't know if the role of an LNC pertains only to nursing standard of care or not. I don't think an LNC has benefits, so this must be taken care of elsewhere, like a husband, and who can guarantee one of them these days. I don't think I would have been hired if I didn't have a paralegal certification, many firms require it or prefer it. But, like I said, I don't think (or know) how LNC's work, most likely you don't want to work in a law firm, I do. I don't want to work in a hospital. I have been hired over RN's wanting to get in the legal field several times when they have tried to get salaried positions because I am a nurse paralegal, in today's market and economy, everyone wants to stretch the almighty dollar and a duel role sure isn't hurting me. We are paid comparable to nursing salaries, depends what area of the country. My salary would also compare to a paralegal who has been working 15-20 years.

    Back to LNC, I think it is great, I am proud of everyone who succeeds at it, but the competition will be there and it isn't fair to be uninformed. Nurse paralegals are hired in-house all the time, most major firms are already going to have at least 1 on staff, and likely many of them will be nurse attorneys, how are you going to compete with that?

    Well, I will shut up for now until I get some feedback. One final thing though, a nurse paralegal is not just a paralegal, we are registered nurses with all the background and training as the rest of you. We just happen to have gone about our legal training obtaining a paralegal certification rather than taking Vickie's class (or similar). What can all the extra knowledge do to hurt you? Don't you think real estate law will help you when buying or selling your house? Don't you think that civil torts class will help you when your neighbors little dog gets out and runs through your yard and your dog beats the crap out of it. Don't you think contract law will help you when your health club doesn't come through with what they promised, I could go on and on. But, hey, that's me.

    I support the LNC and it would be nice if the LNC would understand and support the nurse paralegal too.

    Thanks for listening and I apologize if any words are jumbled, I am on this darn laptop and all of a sudden I will be typing in the middle of a different paragraph, drives me nuts!
  14. Visit  Havin' A Party! profile page
    0
    Super post, peblz!

    Sounds to me like your fab experience has been a blend of both para and LNC functions... with an emphasis in the latter. Kinda unique!

    May I ask what the ballpark rate for what you do is compared to the going per hour compensation paid nurses in your geographic area?

    Thanks!


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