RN to Paralegal- has anyone done that?

  1. Hello- looking around at options to get out of hospital nursing. I saw my local community college offers a certificate in Paralegal studies if you have a bachelors degree, or associates degree with 18 credits of liberal arts electives- specifically business type, or law related. My gosh, what could be more law related than the medical field??.Anyhow, it's a 15 month program straight through. Am looking at the thought that my RN knowledge would help,but I would not be functioning as an RN.There do not seem to be any job openings for CLNC in my area; more likely generic paralegal.Thanks
  2. Visit martymoose profile page

    About martymoose

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 1,863; Likes: 4,227


  3. by   txspadequeenRN
    not paralegal but i am applying to law school within the next year. i have always loved nursing and the area of law so i am meshing them together.... good luck to you
  4. by   SEPullin62
    I did my paralegal studies through a correspondence program while in nursing school. Check your intended curriculum to ensure that it provides the required number of credits to sit for the NALA exam to be certified as a paralegal/legal assistant (CLA or CP), if you want to be certified. Check it out at www.nala.org. Good luck with your new studies; I think you will find yourself using some very different parts of your brain for law than you did for nursing.
  5. by   martymoose
    thanks- this sounds very exciting!
  6. by   silmas RN
    Hi. I am currently working as a Nurse Paralegal. I attended a Nurse Paralegal program at a local university. It was a "regular" paralegal program with an additional 6 months of medical malpractice. How much nursing experience have you had?
  7. by   martymoose
    6 years med/tele/intermediate care unit(ie: stepdown).
    My local college offers a general paralegal certificate.
    Silmas RN, I would love to hear more about your job if you want to PM me - Thanks!
  8. by   brenda52165
    Yes, I have done it. I have been an RN for 20 years and I wanted to utilize my medical background with a legal career. At the time, I needed federal financial aid and the LNC courses did not offer it, so I took the regular ABA paralegal course. And yes, it was a paralegal course that required you to already have a degree [of any kind]. There was no special emphasis on medical malpractice, I had to use my background and knowledge for that myself. I chose a plaintiff medical malpractice law firm for my internship and I was hired after graduation. I have worked in med-mal and insurance defense firms. I currently work in product liabiltiy. I have been called both a nurse paralegal and legal nurse consultant by attorneys. So, yes it can be done but you need to consider it as having a second career/degree and not as you described it RN to paralegal as they are separate entities. There are several LNC courses out there with emphasis on the approved title of legal nurse consultant for RN's. Either one will likely work for you, depending on what exactly you want to do. Some lawfirms will hire a registered nurse and not care if you have legal experience at all. They are looking for your ability to review medical records and assist with summaries, chronologies and standard of care issues. Now that being an LNC is more recognizable, I sometimes wish I had been able at the time to take a LNC course, though I don't believe it would have made a difference for me in the long run. LNC courses make sure it is understood that a legal nurse consultant is not a paralegal or legal assistant. Understand the distinction and decide what title you can live with and what you want to do. If I had to do it over again, I would have taken an LNC approved course for nurses so that I could become certified as a legal nurse consultant. If I want to become certified now, I would have to take the classes and I already have the knowledge so it would be a waste of time and money in my situation. Believe it or not, in the region of the US that I live in, nursing jobs are scarce and I always have my paralegal certification to fall back on. Personally, I didn't like working as a paralegal, I didn't like all the secretarial type duties involved but at the time, it was a job and it did entail a lot of medical and billing summaries, but there were regular paralegals doing the same thing. The attorneys will come to you with your knowledge base and ask questions about cases that are not even yours, so it can become an even heavier load. Look at the AALNC and the NALNC websites and do your homework first. Good luck. Let me know if you have any other questions.
  9. by   martymoose
    Thanks for your replies- I will be calling my community college this am to see if I am eligible for the Paralegal program. It's a lot of schooling between finishingg up the RN_BSN, then going onto the paralegal program, but if it gets me away from the bedside it will be so worth it!
  10. by   Piglet68
    I have been in claims (liability bodily injury) for 17 years and I am now in nursing clinicals. My suggestion is if you know anyone that does Insurance claims getting contact with them. We used Nurses all the time for file review.....all the time. Do not be afraid to go either defense or plaintiff. It brings more credibility if you do both. My intention when I finish nursing school is to supplement my income with file reviews based on the contacts I have in the claims world. Consider working directly for the insurance carrier to get more experience and to get contacts. Good luck.