Legal Nurse Consultant: Is this what it is made out to be?

  1. 1
    Several of my colleagues are considering attending a class to become Legal Nurse Consultants. They are under the impression that they can make a very large salery doing part time work screening/reviewing charts for attorneys. They discussed this class with the doctors on the unit. The doctors stated they know attorneys who are having a hard time making a living/obtaining a job and that the legal market is saturated at all levels. The doctors did not believe that a decent salery could be made by the nurses after attending a quick class on chart reviewing/summarizing and self marketing. The doctors stated the legal field is very credential oriented and status driven so nurses with quick training are low in the prestige factor that dominates in the legal field. I heard the nurses discuss this training as a way to leave the hospital and start a new glamourous life. I feel they are wasting their money on a get rich quick scheme. When I went to several job boards to see what jobs are posted for legal nurse consultants, nurse paralegals, nurse chart reviewers, etc, I did not see much out there. My assumption is that this is a for profit business being marketed to eager but naive nurses who can sign up for a student loan to attend this class. Beside wasting time, this course is very expensive. I asked our hospital lawyer if he knows any thing about Legal Nurse Consulting and he said it is a small niche market for nurses who have very good communication and computer skills who just want "a little" pocket money ($15-20 an hour) for once in a while work-senior nurses who are at the end of their career. My question is: Is this training worh attending? The class is over $6000 plus travel and lodging expenses. The doctors said it was too good to be true and that this class is not reimbursed by the hospital or the nurses union. I am also concerned that it does not give recognized CEU credits. The class offers it own certification but it is not accrediated by the American Nurses Association nor is this certification recognized by the hospital for a wage increase. They were told by the school that alot of students take the class for fun and to network with other students.
    Colleagues, your ideas and suggestions are needed. Should they take this class?
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    My (admittedly limited) experience shows that the expensive courses are not worth the tuition.

    Two co-workers took the course, formed their own company and hung their sign. Even with extensive contacts in the legal field, they could not make a go of it. They're back to working nursing shifts after giving it their all.
    CNA1991, lindarn, and Fiona59 like this.
  5. 3
    Many of the malpractice attorneys will employ an RN to evaluate cases. It's my understanding that the nurses are extremely experienced. I did talk to one and she makes > $100 an hour "when" working on a actual case. This one I talked with had some type of degree for para-legal and had 20 years experience.

    It can be lucrative if you work with an attorney. Most attorneys will not avail themselves of a nurse service to evaluate their cases when they can hire there own.

    I was just recently involved with a malprac lawyer and this was a large firm and they had their own RN. The smaller firms or the independent ones send their cases to be evaluated by docs and not nurses. I must say I was intrigued and it caught my interest as I have been interested in law before I became a nurse.

    I don't know if this course is the way to go. I would call a counselor at a college and talk about it vs actually taking a steps to obtain a para-legal degree. Also if you know any lawyers ask them or call a big firm and talk with their RN and ask what's the skinny
    CNA1991, lindarn, and Fiona59 like this.
  6. 3
    The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants has a lot of info your friends might want to look at before they do anything. The AALNC also offers on line courses for a whole lot less than $6,000.

    As always, if pays to do research before jumping into anything.
    lindarn, TDCHIM, and DizzyLizzyNurse like this.
  7. 3
    Quote from DNS on the go
    Several of my colleagues are considering attending a class to become Legal Nurse Consultants. They are under the impression that they can make a very large salery doing part time work screening/reviewing charts for attorneys. They discussed this class with the doctors on the unit. The doctors stated they know attorneys who are having a hard time making a living/obtaining a job and that the legal market is saturated at all levels. The doctors did not believe that a decent salery could be made by the nurses after attending a quick class on chart reviewing/summarizing and self marketing. The doctors stated the legal field is very credential oriented and status driven so nurses with quick training are low in the prestige factor that dominates in the legal field. I heard the nurses discuss this training as a way to leave the hospital and start a new glamourous life. I feel they are wasting their money on a get rich quick scheme. When I went to several job boards to see what jobs are posted for legal nurse consultants, nurse paralegals, nurse chart reviewers, etc, I did not see much out there. My assumption is that this is a for profit business being marketed to eager but naive nurses who can sign up for a student loan to attend this class. Beside wasting time, this course is very expensive. I asked our hospital lawyer if he knows any thing about Legal Nurse Consulting and he said it is a small niche market for nurses who have very good communication and computer skills who just want "a little" pocket money ($15-20 an hour) for once in a while work-senior nurses who are at the end of their career. My question is: Is this training worh attending? The class is over $6000 plus travel and lodging expenses. The doctors said it was too good to be true and that this class is not reimbursed by the hospital or the nurses union. I am also concerned that it does not give recognized CEU credits. The class offers it own certification but it is not accrediated by the American Nurses Association nor is this certification recognized by the hospital for a wage increase. They were told by the school that alot of students take the class for fun and to network with other students.
    Colleagues, your ideas and suggestions are needed. Should they take this class?

    i think the fact that the school says alot of students take the class for fun and to network with other students should raise a lot of red flags. Really?? There are people who will spend over $6000 plus travel and lodging expenses for fun and networking? Can you translate - you will have spent a significant amount of money but you will not be able to get a job. Not my idea of fun.

    I have a sister-in-law who is a paralegal for lawyers who defend doctors in malpractice suits. She said due to some changes in the law, things have been slow. (She is in Texas and I do not remember if it was state or federal law.)
    OBRN4U, lindarn, and sevensonnets like this.
  8. 3
    Just my opinion, but I think case reviews are most valuable when done by someone currently working in the specialty area of the case. That is what provides credibility when providing an opinion with regard to the strengths and weaknesses of a potential malpractice case and whether actions fall outside the normal standard of care.

    I did that informally for a friend of mine who is a medical malpractice defense attorney. She always had a lot of cases involving my specialty and frequently ran things by me to get my opinion. She even offered me a paid position after I left that job, but within a year of leaving that specialty, I no longer felt qualified.

    And NO to the $6,000 course......big ripoff !
    OBRN4U, lindarn, and tyvin like this.
  9. 4
    A parent I know from my daughter’s gym works as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. She operates independently and makes very, very good money; however, she has over 25 years experience working as an RN, and she seems to have an excellent ability to market her skills to attorneys. Aside from providing advice to attorneys, she also gives expert witness testimony at trials and hearings.

    I am moving over to the nursing field from the legal field, and I have a BA in paralegal studies. The legal field has many complex procedures and rules that an individual must have sufficient knowledge of if he or she is going to function as a successful legal nurse consultant. Before spending $6,000 dollars, I would ensure that the program will provide adequate preparation for this field.

    Another point to mention, being an attorney is not always as lucrative as many people are led to believe. Many attorneys, especially attorneys who operate out of smaller offices, do not have available or are not willing to spend to funds necessary to keep a legal nurse consultant on staff. Some attorneys find it difficult to even afford to keep secretaries and paralegals on staff. Attorneys will often seek out individuals on a contract basis, and experience and professionalism are of utmost importance to attorneys. If a person is truly interested in this career field and wants to be successful, it would be wise to develop strong marketing skills.
    OBRN4U, lindarn, tyvin, and 1 other like this.
  10. 3
    I am a simple country RN, no extra certification at all. I am contracted to review charts, compose a document summarizing care and reporting the final level of impairment or disability of the patient. I make $25 per document. Some take 10-15 minutes, some take hours. Sometimes I am slammed (20+/week) sometimes there is a long dry spell (1 or 2 in 6 weeks).

    I don't think the class is necessary if someone wants to pursue this type of career.

    I also don't think it is a great option for someone who needs steady income or hours.
    OBRN4U, lindarn, and chorkle like this.
  11. 2
    Fact: One doesn't need this class to work for attorneys.

    You need experience--i.e. high acuity and years of it.

    I work for a Cali lawyer who downloads info for me to review once a month.

    I do it as a favor as the lawyer is a friend. She pays me a good fee per case, and appreciates my input...

    I find it boring, to be honest...so I only do it when I want extra $$$....
    OBRN4U and lindarn like this.
  12. 2
    Unfortunately, the Legal Nurse Consulting field has become saturated with LNCs, due to the heavy marketing by the, "Amway of Legal Nurse Consulting" program. And all the other programs that have jumped on the bandwagon.

    You see the ads in nursing magazines all the time-"Make $150 and hour and kiss those 12 hour shifts good by!!"

    It used to be a lucrative profession, and many nurses did make a good living at it. All I hear now is, "Legal Nurse are a dime a dozen". And they are right.

    You do not need to spend $6000+ to "learn how to be a Legal Nurse Consultant". You can read medical records, you know if something is not right. Why do you need to spend $6000+ to learn what you already know.

    If you have never worked in Critical Care, or as an OR nurse, you have no business reviewing those cases. All of the overpriced legal nurse programs, will not buy credibility with attorneys.

    As stated above, the AALNC has a wonderful on-line program, and they have great and very useful books. They are ALL very reasonably proced. There is no need to promise your firstborn child, or take out loans, to purchase a Legal Nurse Program. That should be a red flag.

    Most of the program you are considering taking is really marketing, not legal nursing. Legal Nursing is reading medical records for an attorney. You can take marketing and business classes at a local community college, for far less money. You can also contact the local Small Business Organization in your community, and ask to meet with them. They are very helpful, and they are FREE!

    You can contact a Paralegal Program at a Community College, and ask about taking some classes, to learn about the law. I recommend Torts, Administrative Law, Insurance Law, The Law of Business Organizations, Environmental Law, Evidence, Legal Writing, Legal Research, to name a few. It was a little overwhelming at first, because it was something new, but once I got the hang of it, they were easy.

    Save your money for purchasing business letterhead, business cards, marketing, and setting up a business. JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    PM me and I can tell you what other classes I have taken. It is late, and I am tired. I hope that helps.
    Last edit by lindarn on Dec 6, '10
    GrnTea and OBRN4U like this.


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