I believe the legal nursing consultant has every right as a professional to expect $100-$150/hr. To work for $14-$16/hr is absolutely ludicrous! A well trained and experienced nurse has proficiency in assessment skills unlike any other as well as the ability to read between the lines. A nurse has the ability to see it as a "whole picture" as we must do in any real life situation.
A nurse assesses from every angle and analyzes each aspect of the patient. We are taught critical thinking. We are at the bedside seeing the symptoms both physically and psychologically. We critique everything including meds, diet, labs, pathophysiology, family, lifestyle and so on. We work hands-on with all dept's in a hospital...also deciphering physician orders and double checking for accuracy. We consider family circumstances, social services, and financial abilities. We review the charts from front to back. We must have the patience to deal with the sometimes irrational and cold feedback and behavior from physicians. And how many times has a nurse had to "submissively" try to offer an idea to the physician? Or point out something that was missed?
A nurse also holds the key characteristic of bed-side manner...and in this particular type of position a nurse can take those "submissive" feelings and use them to his or her advantage. Generally a physician is in a role where he or she doesn't have to be submissive. The physicians time is limited, and much more costly. This is what give the nurse a special inlet to the LNC role, because he or she will be able to talk to the attorney or interview a potential client as a human utilizing those "bedside manner" skills. A LNC can also remain behind the scenes protecting ideas and information from the plaintiff or defense. Information that would otherwise need to be disclosed as a expert witness.
I don't think the concern is so much whether or not the LNC has the ability to excel and offer a great deal of useful and hard-to-come-by insight, and to earn a demanded high wage, but the major issue is how is the LNC going to convince the attorney of his or her worth to regarding their individual cases. Skills, knowledge, and experience are a must. The LNC must learn how to market themselves in a way to educate and prove to the attorney his or her worth and value to their cases.
A nurse's role is one unlike any other and although it is not yet or may never get the credit for what it is worth, I believe it is in the perserverance of the individual LNC to make it known. To have the confidence and courage to effectively sell themselves and to prove and further back their abilities.
It is all politics really. Much like the battle of physicians and nurse practitioners/advance practice nurses. How is it that a NP can carry out the role of the physician, but not receive the same status or recognition? Why is it that a NP can carry out the same role, and not receive same compensation both financially and socially? Why isn't there a transitional education program designed for an NP to become a physician if he or she desires to do so? How many times have you heard that a friend or family member was much more satisfied with NP services versus an MD?
We are in a period in history where this is a slow transition of recognition, but I do believe it will improve with time. The barrier is bound to break when nurses begin to demand recognition for the skilled and educated professionals we are and to hold our heads up high.
The nurses that choose to limit themselves to these ludicrous $14-$16/hr jobs are guaranteed to find themselves feeling regretful, overworked, and underpaid once again. And once again seeking an outlet to their current situation.
I remember a while back I was working on a Med-Surg floor and one of the nurses said, "Quick, clean up the desk, the doctor will be here any minute." We were crazy busy that morning and I just thought, "It wasn't even clean for us for the past few hours...with all the call lights ringing, breakfast trays being passed, vitals and blood sugars being obtained, patients on bedpans, patients in pain needed meds asap...I could go on and on here" I just thought...respectively, that is not a priority, the patient is my priority. A clean desk versus a patient in need...how can this be compared? It's like loosing the whole idea of why I became a nurse. I certainly did not dream of all the ways I can keep a physician happy, my dream was to help and to care for another human being. And the nurses who fear to call the MD for a critical situation because it is 3am...that is also ludicrous! Why the fear? Why is there a line there as if the physician is the king who should not be disturbed? I think this is an old-school pattern that will fade with time because I feel it is usually the older generation nurses who spread this contagious "fear" and "submissive" behavior.
Times are changing...new nurses are coming in....more men are nurses....and patients are recognizing the lack of bedside treatment from physicians. I think there is a lot to be said about this new generation....it may take time and maybe lots of it, but I sense that there will be a higher recognition for other professionals in the future. Healthcare is constantly evolving, including the politics aspect....though slow as far as professional recognition goes. Rights for blacks and women did not happen overnight either. I see high hopes for the future of LNC's....it is somewhat of an undiscovered profession, but only we as nurses can make efforts to change the image, worth, value, and profession of a nurse. :caduceus: