Quote from hollyvk
I am an RN, I am a lawyer. I've worked for healthcare facilities, I've worked for attorneys. And here is what I know to be true.
1. People providing eduction (nursing schools, law schools, legal nurse consultant trainers) are in the BUSINESS of promoting their educational enterprises. How you pay for it is your problem and none of them guarantees that with the training/education you've paid them for that you will find employment at an enhanced/elevated wage.
2. Attorneys are probably even more cost-conscious than healthcare facilities when employing contract employees (that would be you, contracting as a nursing consultant, to review medical records, provide advice concerning the case, and perhaps testifying as an expert witness). (Healthcare facilities pay a pretty penny for contract employees, aka "traveling nurses").
3. Most attorneys (and certainly litigation attorneys) are VERY SKILLED negotiators. If you think you can squeeze extra $ out of them without having some unique skill, you're kidding yourself.
4. Yes, physicians who are experts on litigation cases get paid quite well. And that's because you cannot put on a case without one, and because physicians make a lot more $ than RNs working in healthcare. I hear new radiologists fresh out of training are getting a starting salary of around $250K/yr.
5. Is it fair that this position was filled by a "wannabe" willing to work for less than RN healthcare wages? Well, not if you're envisioning yourself making lots of $ with your newly-paid for legal nurse consultant training, but since I don't foresee that designation having much of an impact on the American Trial Attorneys' membership, you should evaluate what effect "market forces" will have on your new "specialty."
The only RNs I know making decent $ doing legal work are the nurse attorneys or nurse paralegals who can stand to work with/for attorneys. And there few of those jobs available compared to the number of RN jobs. Again--market forces.
So before you shell out good $ for ANY training or education program, due diligence calls for thoroughly investing the realistic employment opportunities to be had with such training. And if you ONLY consider what the program's personnel are telling you, you do not have an accurate assessment.
HollyVK, RN, BSN, JD
(who has had to sue attorneys she's done work for in order to get paid--another problem you generally don't have with healthcare providers)
I have not forked over any big money $$$ to "learn to be a legal nurse consultant". I started in this ten years ago, when I attended a two day seminar put on by the nurse attornesy from the Washington State Trial Lawyers' Association. I am entirely self taught, and I have educated my self.
My complaint is that even in house- legal nurses in other areas receive far higher salaries than $14 and hour. Paralegels make more money than that. The going rate for legal nurse consutants is $100- $150 an hour. I don't think that it is unreasonable to request that.
I have spent a lifetime learning about the medical profession, becoming proficient in critical care nursing, stay current in my certifications, that are difficult to obtain, etc. I do everything medical quicker, and with more understanding and comprehension, than either the attorney, or his legal assistant staff. This education, knowledge, and expertise, is what an attorney needs, and he cannot obtain it elsewhere. In my expertise, doctors who review medical records for merit, and/or a malpractice case, go into that endeavor with "tunnel vision". They are incapable of seeing the "big picture", because they do not know what the big picture is. They only see the small part of it, because that is all that they have to deal with. This knowledge, and expertise is worth a great deal to attorney, and I do not apologize for charging it. They think nothing of paying doctors $300 and hour, and up, for the same thing that I do for one third of that. I have been told that that I have given them better information, and I explain it better that doctors do. If they can pay doctors that kind of money, they can pay legal nurses a professional salary, as well.
Nurses see the "big picture", because we have to know everything that is going on with the patient, because we are dealing with many other departments contribute to the care of their patients. That is why nurses are a better choice to review cases because we can see this big picture, and can "read between the lines", in malpractice cases. Again, doctors cannot because they have no idea, and no experience that would give them the ability to "read between the lines".
There are many nurses making good money in legal nurse consulting. My complaint/criticism of this incident is the fact that there are too many nurses who sell themselves cheap in every aspect of their careers as nurses. I am including working in hospitals, as well. Nurses are treated like crap here, and their pay, benefits, and respect, (or lack thereof), reflect this. This is a main complaint with nurses all over the world. We are paid what I consider to be, high school drop out wages, for being the "back bone of the hospitals". Nurses are always selling themselves short. I am tired of it, and that is why I went into Legal Nursing.
These agencies are always short changing nurses, even the ones who staff hospitals. The collect three figures for nurses' services, and then pay the nurses a fraction of that. Nurses need to learn that they can be independant contractots, even in hospital, but that is another issue.
Again, the issue is, that a nurse's knowledge, and expertise is worth far more to a law firm than $14-$16 an hour. They know it, and so does the agency that placed the ad. My educated guess is that they are paying the agency alot more than $14-16 an hour, and the agency was "testing the water" to see how low they can pay and attract nurses to the job. My fear is that this agency will spread, and market to more attorneys, and the career of legal nurses will be dead in the water in a very short period of time. I rest my case.
Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN