New with a million questions about LNC

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    Hello, I am new to the allnurses community and stumbled across this section on legal consultant nursing. This is a field I am extremely interested in but I have no idea where to start. Growing up I always planned on being a lawyer, but life events prompted me to consider my "calling" in nursing...so this would be the perfect blend!

    I have done a vast amount of research on legal nursing thus far and feel a bit stuck. I am a recent graduate (December 2011) with my BSN and RN license in TN ( compact state). I have worked in a level III NICU in northeastern tennessee since graduation (Only 7 months) and am considering getting a PRN job in an ED/trauma center to expand my experience. My concern is that by the time I have a decent amount of experience to have any amount of expertise in nursing, legal nursing will be so saturated that I won't be able to get my foot in the door. I am looking to do anything I possibly can right now to boost my chances of being worth anything to the legal world in the future....but I have no idea what to do :/

    I am definately a "self-taught" sort of person, so the over-priced courses all over the internet have no appeal to me....I do plan on buying the Practices and Principles book available and working on self-study, as well as taking the self-study modules offered by the AALNC. I will also be trying to write and publish to build up a CV and try to develop myself as a viable resource. Is there anything else I can do at this point in my career? I know that with so little nursing experience I have a long ways to go, but would like to do all I can ASAP. Is there a way to market myself as a limited LNC? Such as simple MR reviews, etc...or are there any other ways to start small just to begin gaining experience?

    Any and all advice is extremely welcome and appreciated!
    lindarn and Joe V like this.
  2. 13 Comments so far...

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    your value to the legal system is directly proportional to your expertise and experience in nursing.

    i hear you about your interest, but legal nurse consultants, expert witnesses (who are not usually the same thing-- lawyers often don't want a nurse with a lot of legal training as an expert witness), case managers, and nurse life care planners have generally been well-established in nursing before making the jump to legal nursing. personally, i don't know any of us in those categories with less than 15-20 years of experience in several settings, and most of us longer than that.

    my advice would be that if you're in a hurry to be involved in the legal arena, go to law school or take a paralegal course. if you want to be a legal nurse consultant, i can't see any alternative to having more experience as an actual nurse. good luck with whatever you decide!
    cienurse and amoLucia like this.
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    Quote from NICU87
    Hello, I am new to the allnurses community and stumbled across this section on legal consultant nursing. This is a field I am extremely interested in but I have no idea where to start. Growing up I always planned on being a lawyer, but life events prompted me to consider my "calling" in nursing...so this would be the perfect blend!

    I have done a vast amount of research on legal nursing thus far and feel a bit stuck. I am a recent graduate (December 2011) with my BSN and RN license in TN ( compact state). I have worked in a level III NICU in northeastern tennessee since graduation (Only 7 months) and am considering getting a PRN job in an ED/trauma center to expand my experience. My concern is that by the time I have a decent amount of experience to have any amount of expertise in nursing, legal nursing will be so saturated that I won't be able to get my foot in the door. I am looking to do anything I possibly can right now to boost my chances of being worth anything to the legal world in the future....but I have no idea what to do :/

    I am definately a "self-taught" sort of person, so the over-priced courses all over the internet have no appeal to me....I do plan on buying the Practices and Principles book available and working on self-study, as well as taking the self-study modules offered by the AALNC. I will also be trying to write and publish to build up a CV and try to develop myself as a viable resource. Is there anything else I can do at this point in my career? I know that with so little nursing experience I have a long ways to go, but would like to do all I can ASAP. Is there a way to market myself as a limited LNC? Such as simple MR reviews, etc...or are there any other ways to start small just to begin gaining experience?

    Any and all advice is extremely welcome and appreciated!


    I am an ALNC with 4 years experience in both L&D, OBICU and medical ICUS. You want experience and the ability to work in a clinical setting independently, but you do not need 15-20years experience to be a good LNC. Veronica Castellana is a perfect example of that. I went through her certification program and what you need is to know how to run a business. You have to know how to do research and write reports, and know how to network to be successful. I was very intimidated at first during the class with the next newest nurse attending having 15-44 years, until I got the highest score on the exam, knew how to fully use word, excel, and PowerPoint, and nailed the interview and marketing part of the certification. Get a little more experience and look from there. Hey I could use someone to review NICU cases. See network,
    GleeGum, GrnTea, and lindarn like this.
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    Please all, do check the difference between a certificate and a certification. At present, the only legal nurse certification approved by the American Board of Nursing Specialties is the LNCC, Legal Nurse Consultant, Certified. Vickie Milazzo and many others run "legal nurse cert programs" (with dismal post-course employment rates...but hey, she's got your $$$ so SHE's doing well) but no others have passed the rigorous process to have their examination approved by the ABNS. The LNCC Cert board is an affiliate of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, AALNC, a nonprofit (unlike the others), which see.

    That said, almost any LNC will tell you that an attorney probaboy doesn't give a dang about the letters after your name if you know how to do legal nurse work. The AALNC, in my opinion, does the best job on preparing you for that, too. Their core curriculum, the two-volume Legal Nurse Consulting Practices, 3rd ed., AM Peterson and L Kopishke, eds., is a really good place to start. (Disclaimer: No financial connection to the book or its publisher, other than I bought one and it's on my desk right now.)
    They also have webinars, conferences, and affiliated chapters all over the country. Get hooked up with them and start there.
    lindarn and Not_A_Hat_Person like this.
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    GrnTea,

    Did you go through the entire AALNC course as part of your training? Or just some of the modules? If so how long did it take to complete?
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    Generally most of mine was independent study and OJT (on-the-job). Referred to the LNCC core curriculum and pored over both volumes over the course of a summer. Even worked for a few months at what I considered a paid internship at a firm that did mostly med mal plaintiff work, and had years of exposure to the legal milieu in work comp and life care planning. (Eventually I learned that I pretty much hate med mal plaintiff work.) Naturally cautious, I took the LNCC certification review webinars, 5 over 10 weeks, for a refresher and to see how familiar the material looked.

    That mostly convinced me that I was ready to take the exam, and I did pass it. Nevertheless, I don't practice primarily as a LNCC, but as a life care planner.
    lindarn likes this.
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    Thank you for your input, it nice to hear from someone who took an alternative route to spending so much $$$ yet still managed success. I've been skeptical of how much weight CLNC really carries and if its really worth it.
    lindarn likes this.
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    As a LNC, how much physical work do you have to do? I have been a nurse since 1994 and most in the area of geriatrics. I still want to work as a nurse, but the physical demands are killing me. I have MS and crohns disease. I am a GNP, just never took the certification exam. Do lawyers offer benefits? The job I have now does not and I pay $600 per month for COBRA. I am interested in this, but I would like to know what I am getting into before I get into it.
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    The most physical work I do is picking up hefty 3" three-ring binders full of records to review. I sometimes find myself sitting on my butt for 8 hours at a time and that wreaks hell with my back, but if I cared enough to get up and walk up and down the driveway every couple of hours I wouldn't have to complain about being so stiff from being sedentary.

    I do not work for an attorney office, I am self-employed and get my cases from attorneys. The LNCs I know who are employed by atty offices have decent benefits, sort of standard ones. I pay my own health insurance (it's required in my state), but at least I get paid enough that I can afford it.
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    GrnTea:

    I have been a nurse for 13 years-- last ten years in med/surg ICU and cardiovascular ICU. I feel I have enough experience and I am seriously considering the AALNC course. My question to you is about getting started as an LNC. Was it difficult or a lot of marketing? My nurse manager was not certified and has never even taken a LNC course but she has done some work for attorneys on the side. She told me she stopped because of hospital computer charting. She said it was too hard to read the records at times. Do you find this to be true?? I guess I'm just a little nervous; I don't want to spend $1600 and not find work. Just one more question. Are you able to accept work from all over the state or country? For example, I live in North Central Florida (which is not heavily populated), would it be too difficult to try to market attorneys several hours away?


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