RN Experience when Considering the Legal Nurse Consultant Career
Your background as a Registered Nurse (RN) can be quite varied. RNs have asked me, "I only have experience in one field. Can I be a Legal Nurse Consultant?" Your experience may range from the Emergency Department, Pediatrics, Intensive/Critical Care, or Administration. RN experience in any and all areas of Nursing will be a valuable addition to the legal team.
Registered Nurses (RNs), especially those with years of experience, are some of the most successful Legal Nurse Consultants (LNCs). Those who have experience in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Women's Health), Pediatrics, Trauma, Intensive/Cardiac Care, and General Nursing usually have zero difficulty interpreting and applying SOC to the legal Medical Record (chart).
The RN works closely with many other Health Care Practitioners (HCP) including Respiratory Therapists, Radiology Technicians/Technologists, Lab Analysts (including Phlebotomists), Dieticians, Ultrasound Technologists/Technicians ... and this is just to name a few. Of course, the RN with years of experience works closely with Physicians of all specialty areas.
Working closely with the aforementioned colleagues gives the RN an idea of how the patient will be treated. The RN follows the patient from admission, through discharge. The patient chart (written/computerized) serves as a second-to-second, minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour record of events detailing what the working diagnosis is. Then, the Physician/APRN (Primary Provider) makes the decision what the diagnosis and treatment plan will be. The patient normally undergoes several diagnostic testing (labs, X-rays, CT scans - just to name a few). All of these steps are necessary in order to come up with the proper treatment plan that will lead the patient to a stable state and hopefully, a full cure.
The above is just a detailed description of how the healthcare system works for the patient as all Healthcare Providers (HCP) work together as a team.
The Medical Record reflects everything done to and for the patient and the RN is an integral part of the treatment plan. RNs know how to interpret the Medical Record including results of labs and/or other diagnostic examinations. The RN knows when SOC and policies/procedures of the hospital/clinic are strictly followed.
The LNC is an all important player and advocate for the patient when things go right and when things go wrong. The experienced RN who is working as an LNC can spot with ease, right and wrong. Attorneys need these RNs who are working as LNCs to help them interpret the Medical Record. The Attorney knows nothing about medicine and the LNC is the one the Attorney turns to to "paint a picture" of the events that occurred during the patient's treatment.
Often there is no fault and the RN takes blame anyway. That is the type of Legal Nursing I practice. Defense of the Nurse; advocate for them .... prove to the Attorney that the Nurse was blameless in the situation.
The next Article will detail some of the most popular educative entities for the RN seeking a career as a Legal Nurse Consultant. It will be entitled: Education as a Legal Nurse ConsultantLast edit by sirI on Nov 27, '14
About sirI, MSN, APRN, NP Admin
sirI is an APRN with many years experience as OB-GYN NP - BC, (Emeritus), FNP - BC, and Legal Nurse Consulting. Her specialty areas include OB-GYN, trauma, education, and medical-legal education. She conducts seminars for nursing students, nurses, Residents, and other healthcare providers educating them on how to avoid litigation, assisting them with depositions, and conducting "Mock Trials" where the students are the players in the court proceedings. sirI is a Senior Administrator for allnurses.com.
Joined: Jun '05; Posts: 106,682; Likes: 27,685
MedLeg Consul/Educator/NP OBGYN/FNP; from US
38 year(s) of experience in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB