New Nurse-Legal Nurse Consultant

  1. Hi everyone,
    I just recently passed my boards and am now officially an RN! I am not a bedside nurse and have never wanted to do bedside nursing. I really want to do legal nurse consulting. I am currently working at a hospital in the NICU as a secretary and previously worked on a telemetry floor as a secretary for 3 years. I have almost 5 years total of hospital secretary work. Do you think I will be able to become a successful legal nurse consultant without do any bedside nursing prior?

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    About myladeybugg

    Joined: Sep '11; Posts: 36; Likes: 5


  3. by   tnbutterfly
    Congratulations on passing NCLEX.

    To be a credible legal nurse consultant, you should have at least 3-5 years of nursing experience. Although your experience as a hospital secretary gives you some knowledge of the hospital environment, it is not the same as nursing experience. As a legal nurse consultant, you will need to look at cases through a nurse's eyes.......thinking and knowing how a competent nurse should act in situations under litigation. The attorneys will be relying on your nursing experience and knowledge of standards of care, scope of practice, etc.
  4. by   myladeybugg
    Thank you so much!

    Well it doesn't sound impossible! I do want to get certified in legal nurse consulting. I obviously do not meet the qualifications for the AALNC so do you think the basic package through Vickie Milazzo will be ok for me? The basic package is already so expensive and I cannot upgrade to anything else.
  5. by   caliotter3
    Do a little searching and you should find many of the posts where people say that they paid a good deal of money for the program but have never been able to obtain any legal consulting work. It is not a sure thing.
  6. by   tnbutterfly
    You do not need to be "certified" to work as an LNC. In fact, in order to be certified through AALNC (the only legal nurse consulting credential recognized by AALNC and accredited by ABNS), you may sit for the certification exam only after meeting the following criteria:

    • a minimum of five years of experience practicing as a registered nurse
    • evidence of 2000 hours of legal nurse consulting experience within the past three years.

    But, as I said, you do not need to do this in order to practice as an LNC.

    You may want to look at the AALNC online program as it is more affordable than some other programs. You can do as many of the modules as you want and can purchase them individually if you desire.

    You will find in the LNC educational materials, that it is important to have a good foundation in nursing. Professional nursing education and healthcare experience make LNCs unique and valuable partners in legal processes.
  7. by   myladeybugg
    Perfect. Thank you so much! I think I am going to start taking a few of the online course through the AALNC. I want to gain as much knowledge as I can about LNC.
  8. by   legalnurse001
    I hope you will soon start working as an RN and get some nursing experience! I have been working as a legal nurse consultant since 1995, after 17 years of varied hospital clinical experience. The more experience you can obtain the better prepared you will be to be a successful consultant. While you are clinically active, after you have several years experience under your belt, you might consider work as a testifying expert. Good way to break into the field of legal nurse consulting. Remember, your skill and EXPERIENCE is what makes you valuable to attnys....not just having your RN license. When I use subcontractors, I prefer a minimum of 10 yrs nsg experience. GOOD LUCK!
  9. by   juschillin
    I am also seeking employment in the legal field as a nurse. I have MSN with psych as specialty. I took a "certificate" course online and it was really interesting. This is only minimal education. One must be credentialed to have any credibility and to make any money. Credentially exams are held only a few if not 2 times a year, all over the country. Study materials come from AALNC I believe. The course that Vicky does I'm sure is great but I can't fork out 12k!! There are other ways to get the education in order to sit for the exam. I have been a registered nurse since 1998 and picked up my MSN in 2003. So I have the experience--basic experience. I am looking for a position somewhere in the country that will lead me to doing strictly LNC work...
  10. by   juschillin
    AALNC is one source for getting the education piece. AALNC I believe is the one you want to be connected with for board purposes.
  11. by   Professor_Mike
    One other consideration is that by working in the highly specialized field of NICU nursing, a great deal of what you do, procedures, medications, dosages, etc are only applicable to the NICU world. Consider how well qualified you will be to evaluate the chart of an 85 year old that sufferred an injury while hospitalized because of inappropriate treatment for postoperative sepsis. For example, the adult nurse would be looking for fluid resusitation of 20-40 ml/kg, which may mean 2 to 4 liters for a good sized adult. Your experience in NICU would be entirely focused on microscopic dosages and medications in comparison.

    In summary, if legal nurse consulting is what you want to do, a NICU may not be the best place to obtain that all important experience.
  12. by   RNCCMMS
    I agree with need actual RN work experience before anyone would consider you an expert. Book knowledge is great, but nothing compared to actual working experience. Legal nurse consultants usually are asked to reivew all types of cases, so sticking with the NICU as a RN would limit your experiences. I worked as a nurses aide while going to nursing school. It helped me get used to the hospital environment, but working as a RN was so different.
    Forgive me if this sounds rude, but why would you want to be a nurse if you did not want to interact with patients. Think of all the opportunities to make a difference in someone's life whether it is at the bedside, in a clinic, in a doctor's office, in a school, etc.
    I wish you well in whatever you choose.
  13. by   creativemom
    However on the other hand if her heart is not in to care for the patient and she's only being an RN to "get experience" she could do more damage than to care for the patient.

    You gotta LOVE being a nurse in order to do nurse work well.

    With that said I cannot see how you can be a legal nurse without knowing the works of the trade. We all know from nursing school that they teach you certain methods and we all know that on the floor we don't always do it that way. You need to know what practices are safe, what practices are tricks to get the job done (but may or may not be in the patients best interests) and what practices are improvements over what we've learned to do in nursing school.

    When you do legal nursing you'll be given charts and scenarios of what happened which is why the party is suing. On paper it may look like the nurse error-ed. However in practice with experience you'll know that if the nurse did A she would have caused more harm, doing B did result in death but usually C outcome happens and that method A also is not practical in the alloted amount of time.

    Legal nursing is fun. According to my friends and they share with me a lot of scenarios but you can't always go by records or the books. You need life experiences.

    If I were you I'd work on a med surg floor with telemetry, or ICU, PACU, etc. Get a feel of the pace during slow and emergent situations, etc.
  14. by   silmas RN
    I agree with creativemom. Clinical experience is a must. I am employed full-time by a law firm, coming in with 34 years of nursing experience under my belt. When things are really busy, we will contract another LNC temporarily. The attorneys here won't even talk to anyone with less than 10 years of experience. Keep in mind that when you work independantly, you are on your own.