How Do I Get Started in Legal Nurse Consulting?
How to Become a Legal Nurse Consultant
Working as a Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) can be an exciting and interesting career. In this role, you will use your thorough medical training to provide expertise as a consultant on legal cases. This career requires you to be a registered nurse with extensive experience. It's a great career choice that is experiencing a lot of demand. It will take some work on your part, but there are many steps you can take to become a Legal Nurse Consultant.
Earning Your Qualifications
Get the right educational background.The first step to becoming a Legal Nurse Consultant is to become a Registered Nurse (RN). You will need the experience and expertise that can only be gained through a nursing program to find work as a LNC. Be aware that there are several routes you can take to become an RN.
- One method is to earn your Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) and then pass a licensure exam to become a registered nurse. These focused programs take two years to complete.
- You can also earn your Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN). These more in-depth academic programs typically take four years to complete. You must also pass a licensure exam to be able to practice as a registered nurse.
- Make sure to complete your degree at a college or university with a reputation for a strong nursing program. This will help you find a job later.
Obtain clinical experience.Once you have your RN/BSN degree, your next step is to find a nursing job. In order to become an LNC, you need to have hands-on nursing skills and experience. You'll usually need to work as an RN for three to five years before you make the switch to becoming an LNC.
- Look for a nursing job in a specialty that you will enjoy. For example, if you enjoy being around children, consider becoming a pediatric nurse. You can also try to get broad experience by becoming a trauma or surgical nurse.
Find the right LNC program.Once you have clinical experience, you may want to start looking into LNC certification programs or continuing education classes. While formal training or certification is not required to practice as an LNC, it is very beneficial to finding a job in this field. Look for a program that best suits your needs. For example, would you prefer to take classes on a traditional campus or online? Those are important factors to consider.
- You should ask any LNCs that you know how they ended got into the field. Feedback from those with experience can be very important when deciding on a program.
Earn your certification.Once you have selected a program, you will begin your LNC certification process. You will already have nursing experience, so this part of your education will enhance your legal knowledge. You will learn the language of the law and how to apply your medical knowledge to legal cases.
- At the end of your training, you must take an exam in order to become a certified LNC. In order to take the exam, you must have at least five years of practical nursing experience, and have 2,000 hours of experience within the past three years.
- After successfully passing this exam, you will earn the title LNCC (Legal Nurse Consultant Certified).
Applying for Jobs
Look for openings.You have many avenues to explore when searching for LNC positions. You can begin by looking at the employment openings at local law firms and insurance companies. Almost half of all LNCs work in one of those two positions. Another option is to become an independent consultant.
- Independent consultants perform essentially the same duties as LNCs who are on the permanent staff of a company. You will simply work for a wider variety of clients and your income will fluctuate a bit more.
- Use job finding sites on the internet to learn about openings in your area. You can also use these to post your resume so that more employers will learn about your skills.
Submit your application materials.Once you have found an open position that interests you, it is time to get your materials organized. Your most important job at this time is to make sure that your resume reflects your skills and the job that you are seeking. Your resume should not look as if you are applying for a traditional nursing job, but should be customized for LNC positions.
- Make sure that your resume highlights your LNC training and certification. You will want to put these details near the beginning of your resume, as they are the most pertinent for this job.
- Have a friend or colleague review your resume. You want to make sure it looks as polished and professional as possible.
Network.Before and during your job application process, it is important that you are making and maintaining professional relationships. Networking is one of the most effective ways to learn about employment opportunities and trends in the field. Don't be afraid to ask friends or family members to introduce you to any LNCs that they may know. It can be very useful to have a wide circle of professional acquaintances.
- Because many LNCs work on the staffs of law firms or insurance company, it would be a good idea to contact anyone you know who works in those fields. They might be a potential source of information for you.
Prepare for interviews.After you have submitted your resume, you want to make sure that you are ready for the interview process. If a company contacts you to come in for a meeting, make sure that you are well-prepared. Do some research about the company and make a list of intelligent questions to ask.
- Look the part. Remember, you might be used to wearing scrubs to work, but the dress code will be very different at a law firm. A professional appearance is important in making a good first impression.
- Be ready to discuss your strengths and skills. Have concrete examples in mind to discuss when asked how you can contribute to the company.
Understanding the Role
Know the duties.When you are starting the process of becoming an LNC, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what your day-to-day job will actually be like. One of your main responsibilities will be to help lawyers interpret medical evidence. As the resident expert, one of your main tasks will be to help others understand medical charts, language, etc.
- You might also be an active participant in interviewing potential witnesses, and you may also be called upon to be an expert witness in the courtroom.
Learn the benefits.Becoming an LNC is appealing to many because you get to use a wide variety of skills. You will need your science background and your clinical experience, but you will also get to engage in critical analysis. Working as an LNC allows you to meet and work with a wide variety of people.
- This is a field that is widely in demand and has high earning potential. The average salary is approximately ,000 per year, but there is the potential to earn a higher salary.
Understand important characteristics.The most in-demand LNCs are the ones who really excel at their jobs. Successful LNCs typically have several traits in common. For example, they have a strong work ethic and good communication skills. They also work to stay current on the latest advancements in their area of specialization.
QuestionHi There! I was just wondering: do you have to be a nurse? Are there programs where you can provide the same clinical legal consulting services as a different type of allied health professional? There are many professions in the medical field that offer comprabable or more clnical exposure.
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerIn order to be recognized as a Legal Nurse Consultant, you need to be a Registered Nurse. By definition, legal nurse consulting is the “analysis and evaluation of facts and testimony and the rendering of informed opinions related to the delivery of nursing and other healthcare services and outcomes, and the nature and cause of injuries. The legal nurse consultant is a licensed registered nurse who performs a critical analysis of clinically related issues in a variety of settings in the legal arena. The nurse expert with a strong educational and experiential foundation is qualified to assess adherence to standards and guidelines of practice as applied to nursing practice.” (from http://www.aalnc.org/page/what-is-an-lnc)Thanks!
Can you be a LNC as an NP or would that be considered under a different role?
Video: How to Become a Legal Nurse Consultant
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