The Role of the Legal Nurse Consultant

by sirI Admin

24,341 Views | 26 Comments
  1. 21
    Here are frequently asked questions about the role of the Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC).


    (1) Realistically what type of person/personality does it take to be an LNC?

    One must be dedicated and persistent. Possess the ability to interpret accurately, the medical record. Be willing to spend countless hours pouring over a medical record (one of merit) searching for the commonality that links the 4 parts of the medical malpractice case.


    (2) What are the general duties of the LNC?

    Here are but a few of the duties of the LNC:
    • Review a case for merit
    • Interpret medical record and translate medical/nursing terms, diagnoses, and treatment plans for the attorney-client
    • Write brief to comprehensive reports
    • Create timelines of important events and develop illustrations for demonstrative evidence
    • Locate and secure expert witnesses
    • Educate the attorney-client
    • Define applicable Standards of Care (deviations and adherences)
    • Conduct literature research applicable to the case
    • Review, analyze and summarize depositions
    • Prepare for deposition and trial preparation
    • Attend depositions, trials, review panels, arbitration, and mediation hearings
    • Assist in the preparation of witnesses and experts for deposition and trial
    • Coordinate and attend independent medical exams (IME)
    (3) Can you choose to specialize in one specific area of LNC like OB/Neonatal?

    No. There are no specialty areas for the LNC who practices as consultant only. One will accept and review all types of cases. If you feel you are unable to handle a case, you can sub-contract. But, never refuse a case because you have little or no clinical experience in the area in question.

    Now that said, if you choose to testify as an expert witness then, yes, you will do this in your specialty area only. If your expertise is heavily NICU, for example, your area of specialty as an expert would lie here. But, the LNC is not required to be an expert witness in order to do consultant work. Some LNCs choose to NEVER testify.

    (4) What is the average time you spend on a case?

    That depends on what all is needed to complete the case. I've taken a case on Tuesday and the attorney wanted a final report (comprehensive) on the following Friday. End of case. I'm currently still active on a case and have been for the past 2 years. Much depends on the attorney, the type of case, statute of limitations, court dates, etc.

    (5) Are the training programs focused on medical Law or the Law in general?

    Areas are focused on nursing standards, clinical nursing; medicine which links medical law. But, you are the consultant/expert in nursing and all that encompasses. You are not the legal expert and the "Law" is the domain of the attorney-client.

    (6) Is it realistic to work from home?

    Yes, my business is in my home. You can also choose to be employed in-house.

    (7) In general, do attorneys and their staff respect the LNC?

    Yes. Some require more education about the LNC than others which is part of the role of the Legal Nurse Consultant; educating the attorney-client and his/her staff.

    __________________________________________________

    Bottom line: If the RN is truly interested, he/she needs to start researching different avenues of education. Also, the RN should truly understand why he/she desires to seek this nursing career path. Examine your own reasons why you are choosing to enter into the world medical-legal nursing. Many choose this career thinking it is a "get-rich-quick" career. It is not. Much hard work is expected to be successful.

    Finally, you need to possess the ability to market yourself. The key to success for the LNC. This takes determination, persistence and an un-dying ability to forge ahead despite disappointment.

    I will cover marketing techniques in another entry.
    Debra Fischer 15, BSwasBS, Xchin, RN, and 18 others like this.
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    sirI joined Jun '05 - from 'allnurses.com'. sirI has 'many' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'APRN, LNC, Forensics, OB, ED, Education'. Posts: 87,373 Likes: 22,572; Learn more about sirI by visiting their allnursesPage


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    26 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Hello, I'm an Rn in the ICU with an ADN degree, Ive been interested in furthering my degree/scope of practice to legal nurse consulting. It is an area I'm interested in purely for what it is and not the get rich quick ideas. I'm looking for info on good places to get educated on this. For example do I need my BSN, more experience in areas such and OBGYN. How long does it take to be educated and the cost. I have 11yrs of exp. in tele/med surg, 1 yr in ICU.
    Also, I'm not sure if this is a useful thing to do considering my location-Northern NH.
    If someone can lead me in the right direction that would be great.
    Thanks Lisa
  5. 1
    Quote from lrichard
    Hello, I'm an Rn in the ICU with an ADN degree, Ive been interested in furthering my degree/scope of practice to legal nurse consulting. It is an area I'm interested in purely for what it is and not the get rich quick ideas. I'm looking for info on good places to get educated on this. For example do I need my BSN, more experience in areas such and OBGYN. How long does it take to be educated and the cost. I have 11yrs of exp. in tele/med surg, 1 yr in ICU.
    Also, I'm not sure if this is a useful thing to do considering my location-Northern NH.
    If someone can lead me in the right direction that would be great.
    Thanks Lisa
    Hello, Lisa

    Good to have you here.

    No, one is not required to possess a BSN in order to enter into the career.

    There are several entities where you can obtain education as LNC. Review these threads at allnurses.com regarding time involved to do the courses and expense (entities are not all inclusive):

    AALNC and Milazzo Legal Nurse Consulting Programs


    Other than AALNC and VM, what is there?


    No, you do not need more experience in any particular are of nursing in order to practice as an LNC. I always advise the RN to have at least 3 - 5 years experience in the clinical area before entering into the career. You have more than enough experience in order to do this.

    LNCs are found all over the nation. I'm sure there are several in practice in NH.

    Good luck.
    Poopsiebublnose likes this.
  6. 0
    How open is the job market for LNC's? How do lawyers, docs, hospitals and insurance companies regard LNC's? I've been thinking about taking the course for a very long time, but have been concerned that once I take the course, whether certified or not, that finding business will be very difficult. I've been a nurse for years, never have had a problem finding a job, but this is different. How does one sell oneself to the various groups listed above? Do law firms keep an LNC on as a full itme consultant or does one need to be of consult to a bunch of folks?
    I have lots of questions beyond the obvious learning needs; However, Vickie M's classes are simply too expensive for me. How do other course compare to hers? How can I evaluate one course from another in terms of getting the right kind of information that can get me on my way?

    Thanks for any answers.
  7. 0
    I took Vicki's class in 2003. I did find it a great primer. This did help me get my first position (I worked in house for plaintiff for 15 months and then went on my own). I do not think that there is any course that can "prepare you" but having a basic understanding the law as it applies to certain types of litigation is important before diving in. For this purpose I thought Vicki's course met my needs and though expensive it was a worthwhile investment. Other courses taught at local universities and online cost twice as much.

    You may also purchase books from the AALNC bookstore. There is one there that costs about $100.00 but I have not read it.

    As with any new endeavor there is a learning curve so ask lots of questions of your client and other LNC's.

    The key to being a successful consultant is resoucefulness and tenacity. Make sure you know where and how you will obtain authoritative literature before accepting your first case.
  8. 0
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I have several questions on being a Legal Nurse Consultant. First, what experience and how much experience should one have in nursing in order to venture into this field? I have several years experience, some in teaching, a year in clinical research and another in rehabilitation nursing care. Second, what is the average salary from amateur to experienced? Lastly, there are several training programs for nurses to become legally certified nurses, which program would you recommend?
  9. 1
    Quote from precious01
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I have several questions on being a Legal Nurse Consultant. First, what experience and how much experience should one have in nursing in order to venture into this field? I have several years experience, some in teaching, a year in clinical research and another in rehabilitation nursing care. Second, what is the average salary from amateur to experienced? Lastly, there are several training programs for nurses to become legally certified nurses, which program would you recommend?
    Hello,

    Glad to read of your interest as LNC.

    You need only RN experience. Of course, experience in a wide-range of nursing areas is better than minimal one-area experience. And, it sounds as if you have plenty.

    As for "salaries", that greatly depends on your ability to market yourself, your area (state/region) of practice, if you branch out nation-wide, etc. Some command the higher fees you've seen advertised. Most, however, are under that at varying ranges.

    As an RN consultant (LNC), you are not an amateur. LNCs need to remember that. You are the expert in this area (not in the Law - that is the attorney). So, market yourself/sell yourself as such.

    I do not endorse any one entity for LNC education. There are many as you've pointed out. Since you are in the question/research phase, I suggest checking out the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants and the Vickie Milazzo program. These are the two most popular.

    Good luck with your research and your future career as LNC.
    precious01 likes this.
  10. 0
    Thank you for your quick response, I appreciate your feedback. What state are you working from and have you gone national yet? I am located in the state of Utah and as of yet, have not met any nurses in this field of work. It has always interested me, I even started an LSAT prep course this past spring but have decided to pursue law at a later time due to the time commitment. Is being an LNC as demanding as being an attorney or is there more flexibility and time?
  11. 1
    Quote from precious01
    Thank you for your quick response, I appreciate your feedback. What state are you working from and have you gone national yet? I am located in the state of Utah and as of yet, have not met any nurses in this field of work. It has always interested me, I even started an LSAT prep course this past spring but have decided to pursue law at a later time due to the time commitment. Is being an LNC as demanding as being an attorney or is there more flexibility and time?
    You are welcome.

    I am in the South. Yes, my business is national.

    I cannot answer if LNC is as demanding as attorney. I am an NP, however, and can relate to the demanding role of Physicians caring for/treating patients. Still, my role is that of nurse in both aspects.

    I own my business and as self-employed entrepreneur, that is very demanding. Marketing, as pointed out, is the key to success and the LNC must continue to market him/herself at all times. As self-employed LNC, I do have down times, am able to be somewhat flexible with my schedules including time off/vacations, etc. But, I must be quite disciplined, too. Disciplined to stay focused, get up every day and finish a task as I face another meeting with business partners and/or clients, seek out new clients, exhibit the business, meet demanding deadlines with cases...
    precious01 likes this.
  12. 0
    I am interested in knowing what type of software you recommend to the CLNC when starting out? I have been following your emails and wish to thank you for sharing your advice and experiences.


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