New here: Paralegal student

  1. Hi all, it's my first time here; first post:

    Well i've always been interested in nursing and law as well, and when the time came to decide i decided to go towards law. Im now a Paralegal major in south Texas.
    Up until today, i had never heard of such profession as legal nurse. We had a speaker in school today who mentioned this, and i started researching nursing and ended up here.
    My question is, do you have to be an RN and then study law, or can it be the other way around? I'm so interested in law but am not thinking of law school, and even studying law i cannot stop thinking about being a nurse. But if i can do both, how would i go about that?
    Would i have to switch majors, apply for nursing school, get my Associate's, and then take some law courses?
    I'm so excited that this career combines both of my interests. Im only 20, so i hope i can get some advice ASAP so i can get going. Any advice would be of great help.
    Thanks so much, and i hope none of you get angry that im joining, you know, not being a nurse and all...
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   Epona
    Hi vane20. I am not a nurse YET, but can share with you what I know thus far. No, you do not have to have a degree in law to be a legal nurse consultant. I believe you have to be ceritifed to be a legal nurse consultant. I have heard it's hard to find a job as one, but if you do, you can get upwards of $150 an hour. I have considered it myself.

    Good luck! Epona

    :gandalf: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!
  4. by   vane20
    In case you're asking, the only reason i didn't go with nursing is my fear of needles. I just think i won't have the guts to poke someone. i was talking to my cousin about this and she said she felt the same way until she actually did it, that it's pretty smooth and not that bad.
    But an RN doesnt do all that much bloodwork, am i right?
    What about the hours? Do you think it'd be a good idea to wait (i have a son and want one more asap) until i'm done with kids to start so i can go at full speed? God, i have so many questions!!! I don't know what to do!!
  5. by   tnbutterfly
    Quote from vane20
    hi all, it's my first time here; first post:

    well i've always been interested in nursing and law as well, and when the time came to decide i decided to go towards law. im now a paralegal major in south texas.
    up until today, i had never heard of such profession as legal nurse. we had a speaker in school today who mentioned this, and i started researching nursing and ended up here.
    my question is, do you have to be an rn and then study law, or can it be the other way around? i'm so interested in law but am not thinking of law school, and even studying law i cannot stop thinking about being a nurse. but if i can do both, how would i go about that?
    would i have to switch majors, apply for nursing school, get my associate's, and then take some law courses?
    i'm so excited that this career combines both of my interests. im only 20, so i hope i can get some advice asap so i can get going. any advice would be of great help.
    thanks so much, and i hope none of you get angry that im joining, you know, not being a nurse and all...
    welcome vane20 to the site!!

    :groupwelcome:

    i will attempt to answer some of your questions, but i refer you to siri for more information as she is an experienced clnc.

    in order to be an lnc you do have to be an rn, but you don't really study specific laws as a basis of your practice as an lnc. the professional foundation of the lnc is nursing. the lnc is valued in the legal arena for his/her health care education and experience rather than knowledge of the law. but an understanding of general law practices is important. i think your training as a paralegal will be very valuable in your pursuit of a lnc career.

    it is recommended that you have a few years experience as an rn before pursuing a career as an lnc. you do not have to be certified to be an lnc. in fact, there is a difference between a certificate and being certified. many lnc courses grant a certificate upon successful completion of their program and taking a test. currently, the only lnc certification program accredited by the american board of nursing specialties is one given by the aalnc upon completion of certain criteria including lnc experience and passing an exam.

    once you get a nursing degree, you have different options for obtaining lnc training. you don't need to have special training to be an lnc, but it is recommended. there are several online classes, as well as seminar classes.

    good luck as you continue to pursue this as a possible career.

    be sure and read the stickies on this site as well as go to www.aalnc.org for more information.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Oct 10, '06
  6. by   madwife2002
    Quote from tnbutterfly
    welcome vane20 to the site!!


    :groupwelcome:

    i will attempt to answer some of your questions, but i refer you to siri for more information as she is an experienced clnc.

    in order to be an lnc you do have to be an rn, but you don't really study specific laws as a basis of your practice as an lnc. the professional foundation of the lnc is nursing. the lnc is valued in the legal arena for his/her health care education and experience rather than knowledge of the law. but an understanding of general law practices is important. i think your training as a paralegal will be very valuable in your pursuit of a lnc career.

    it is recommended that you have a few years experience as an rn before pursuing a career as an lnc. you do not have to be certified to be an lnc. in fact, there is a difference between a certificate and being certified. many lnc courses grant a certificate upon successful completion of their program and taking a test. currently, the only lnc certification program accredited by the american board of nursing specialties is one given by the aalnc upon completion of certain criteria including lnc experience and passing an exam.

    once you get a nursing degree, you have different options for obtaining lnc training. you don't need to have special training to be an lnc, but it is recommended. there are several online classes, as well as seminar classes.

    good luck as you continue to pursue this as a possible career.


    be sure and read the stickies on this site as well as go to www.aalnc.org for more information.
    i agree with your posting and i think you have pretty much covered the basics of lnc.
  7. by   vane20
    THANK YOU TNBUTTERFLY AND MADWIFE2002!!

    I spoke with the head of the Paralegal program at my school and i told her i was interested in going for that. She said I'd have to be an RN, but i told her i didnt want to switch majors, especially because im doing better than most in my legal classes. So she told me that she was going to try to add some medical courses to the program, or she was gonna try to make them available to us.
    I really hope she does, cause she said that then I'd have to get 2 degrees or go into nursing, but i read the requirements to be admitted into the program and i'd hate to be on a waiting list
  8. by   charebec65
    Quote from vane20
    THANK YOU TNBUTTERFLY AND MADWIFE2002!!

    I spoke with the head of the Paralegal program at my school and i told her i was interested in going for that. She said I'd have to be an RN, but i told her i didnt want to switch majors, especially because im doing better than most in my legal classes. So she told me that she was going to try to add some medical courses to the program, or she was gonna try to make them available to us.
    I really hope she does, cause she said that then I'd have to get 2 degrees or go into nursing, but i read the requirements to be admitted into the program and i'd hate to be on a waiting list
    Welcome!

    Once upon a time I was a paralegal...I guess I still am though I don't do it anymore. Like you, I was interested in both but I went with the paralegal program because I was a single mom with 3 kids and really didn't desire being destitute any longer than necessary and there was a 2 year wait even then (1991).

    After my kids grew up, I went to nursing school and am now an LPN working on my RN. One of my instructors is a legal nurse and she told me that I probably wouldn't need anymore schooling to be a legal nurse once I finish my RN. I would not be certified though.

    I doubt that adding a few "medical courses" to a paralegal program will cut it. In order to become an RN, which is a requirement for being a CLNC, you have to attend and graduate from an accredited RN program, be it ADN, BSN, MSN. When I was a paralegal I worked on PI cases and frankly it was difficult because I had no real knowledge of the terminology, diseases, injuries on all those medical records I had to deal with.. A few medical classes isn't going to rectify this problem....

    Nursing courses are generally only offered in sequence to students accepted into the nursing program. There's not enough room for those who want to be nurses much less space for people who are in other majors. If you really want to do this and complete the parelegal program, getting two degrees is the reality of the situation.....as is being on a waiting list. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the US that don't get in a nursing program every year because there's no room and these are people who want to be nurses. The current waiting list at my school is 2 1/2 years...and these are people who have finished pre-requisites, PAX-RN, etc.

    Insofar as nursing being a bloody business, nurses are exposed to blood, vomit, urine, feces, mucous, needles, disease, etc. etc. etc. Just part of the job. I too was a bit freaked the first time I had to give a shot....I have to laugh at myself when I look back...dry mouth, shaky, broke into a sweat...:smackingf:selfbonk:

    Good luck in whatever you decide..
    Last edit by charebec65 on Oct 10, '06
  9. by   Demonsthenes
    I graduated from an ABA approved paralegal program with an Associate of Applied Science-Legal Assistant-Paralegal. I, then, passed the two day Certified Legal Assistant exam. I am a Registered Nurse. Certified Legal Nurse Consultants attend a two-three day seminar and take an exam. They are Registered Nurses. However, given the aforementioned, they have minimal legal training and competence.
  10. by   sirI
    Certified Legal Nurse Consultants attend a two-three day seminar and take an exam. They are Registered Nurses. However, given the aforementioned, they have minimal legal training and competence
    This is very misleading information. The certified LNC is NOT an expert in the law. We compliment and assist the attorney-client as well as other legal entities. We are experts in nursing and possess the unique ability to apply our knowledge to medical-legal issues.

    Our education in legal matters allows us to have a better understanding of the system.
    Last edit by sirI on Oct 12, '06
  11. by   tnbutterfly
    Quote from Demonsthenes
    I graduated from an ABA approved paralegal program with an Associate of Applied Science-Legal Assistant-Paralegal. I, then, passed the two day Certified Legal Assistant exam. I am a Registered Nurse. Certified Legal Nurse Consultants attend a two-three day seminar and take an exam. They are Registered Nurses. However, given the aforementioned, they have minimal legal training and competence.
    I am currently taking an on-line LNC program offered by AALNC and I assure you that it will take longer to complete the 8 modules in this course than it would to attend a 2-3 day seminar. Each module takes at least 12 hours to complete. There are other programs offering a 6-day seminar followed up by an extensive mentoring program. So as you can see, there are LNC training programs that are quite comprehensive. The value of the LNC is that they have years of experience in the health field compared to the lack of medical training that a parlegal would have. Lawyers are the experts in the legal realm. They value LNC's for their health-related knowledge.....not their knowledge of the law.
  12. by   jCLNC
    Quote from Demonsthenes
    I graduated from an ABA approved paralegal program with an Associate of Applied Science-Legal Assistant-Paralegal. I, then, passed the two day Certified Legal Assistant exam. I am a Registered Nurse. Certified Legal Nurse Consultants attend a two-three day seminar and take an exam. They are Registered Nurses. However, given the aforementioned, they have minimal legal training and competence.


    I'm sure you feel that since you are a Registered Nurse, and because you have completed a paralegal program which required a two day exam you feel very prepared to assist your attorney-client(s) or employer (as the case may be), possibly in some ways superior to a legal nurse consultant.

    I am also a Registered Nurse.

    I have also completed a program which has prepared me to assist my attorney-client(s) (along with all the knowledge I have accumulated over my career).

    I have also taken a course as a paralegal in my career.

    As far as 2-3 day seminars, the only one I am truly familiar with is the one I attended personally, and that was the Milazzo Institute, and it is no 2-3 day seminar. Unless you have attended this particular seminar, you don't understand the depth and breadth of the knowledge obtained through the Milazzo educational program and continuing mentorship. The nurses who have attended this training program (whether home study or seminar) will tell you, it is not easy and certainly not a "cream puff" course. The material is difficult and the testing is rigorous. But as Vickie says, we are nurses, and we can do ANYTHING!

    You may be very comfortable in your opinion that your ABA approved paralegal program and 2 day testing has given you more legal training, but the Legal Nurse Consultant is not there to help the attorney client understand the law, the Legal Nurse Consultant is not a lawyer. They are there to assist them to understand their cases in light of the medical issues. And this is something I have prepared for ALL MY LIFE, all 51 years, 30 of those in NURSING.

    As for competency, competency is defined in many ways. One way to judge competency in this area might be to do a survey of those lawyers who have used paralegal assistants and CLNC legal nurse consultants, and compare the results of their satisfaction with the work products of both entities. Have you done that? It would be wise before making such a statement: "they have minimal legal training and competence."

    Regards
    jCLNC
  13. by   tnbutterfly
    I am confused about what the debate is about. I don't believe anyone is saying that an LNC has the same LEGAL knowledge as a paralegal. But on the other side , there is no way a paralegal without medical/nursing training can possess the same MEDICAL knowledge as the LNC who is an RN. Both the paralegal and the LNC can be valuable to a attorney as they offer different types of knowledge. As stated earlier, "The Legal Nurse Consultant is not there to help the attorney client understand the law, the Legal Nurse Consultant is not a lawyer. They are there to assist them to understand their cases in light of the medical issues." The paralegal is not a lawyer either and their legal knowledge is limited as well. But their undersanding of medical issues is even more limited.
  14. by   madwife2002
    I can understand both sides of the argument but can we keep the discussion civil as it a good debate and contains relevent information. No personnal insults please

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