One of the nursing professionals that serve as a consultant or adviser to the healthcare, clinics or hospitals is legal to nurse consultant. It is a new field that was started around the 1980s. Now it has become the profession that is pursued by hundreds to aid the law professionals in cases related to medical frauds and other medical related issues.
Here is the complete guide to legal nurse consultants job description and salary which will describe their role and duties, job description, salary, and outlook.
What Is Legal Nurse Consultant?
Being a part of a legal team, legal nurse consultants are the medical experts, helping attorneys, legal professionals who interpret charts, records, understand medical terminology and consult patients on health-related topics. They work with insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, clinics, government agencies, etc. they also work as an employee on the contractual basis. Legal nurse consultants have vast experience which they achieve during their nursing career working under private or community clinics, hospital administrations and other emergency settings. Their working background helps them to gain valuable knowledge and experience to assist a legal case related to healthcare.
Legal nurse consultants serve as a link between healthcare communities and legal communities. They advise on issues such as personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, criminal law and toxic torts. They may also own their firms or can be employed by the law firms, government agencies, forensic labs, health care organizations or by legal departments.
How To Become A Legal Nurse Consultant?
A trained and active registered nurse can become a legal nurse consultant. Hence, to make a career in this field a candidate must become an RN. A student should have a bachelor degree or an associate degree along with some clinical experience. A nursing license is essential to an RN degree. They must obtain the license offered by their state to continue serving as RNs. They must also pass the NCLEX-RN to become a certified nurse. Experience of few years is also necessary to serve under any healthcare administration. However, legal nurse consultant does not have any prior experience in the field of consulting.
To become a legal nurse, one must follow the educational path given below:
- Earn a bachelor degree that is a four-year program offered by any nursing school or campus
- Earn an MSN degree that is an additional 2-year program offered by an online school or campus
- Earn a Ph.D. or DNP that is an additional course of 2-4 year offered by any online or offline campus
The higher degree or additional degrees are, however, not mandatory as AALNC, i.e., American associations of legal nurse consultants provide certification examinations and training course to the aspiring students. Those who have five years of experience as a nurse are eligible to sit in certification exams. Apart from it, they should also hold the experience of legal medical consulting of 2,000 hours prior taking the certification examination.
Interested Students Should:
- Achieve the educational requirements
- Become a certified registered nurse
- Get experience as RNs
- Undergo a background test
- Get experience as a legal nurse consultant
Educational Description For Legal Nurse Consultants
An RN license is must to pursue the career in this field. To get RN license, students should have minimum two-year diploma degree. A nursing diploma is not mandatory if the candidate has an associate degree from a recognized nursing college or school. Candidate can obtain the nursing degree from community colleges that usually offer courses of 4 or 5 semesters. They can also obtain the bachelor degree in nursing from universities that offer a four-year course. The course provides general subjects and elective as well depending on the subject they elect.
Passing the NCLEX-RN is also an essential pre-requisite for becoming legal nurse consultants. The students who passed the exam will receive a certificate, and they can serve or practice throughout the U.S. However, other than these basic educational requirements candidate need not attain any specific education. Those aspired to become a legal nurse consultant can also enroll in nurse consulting program, attend legal seminars, work with attorneys or paralegal program to gain experience in this field. No additional certification is required for legal nurse consultants.
Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Duties And Responsibilities
They Work or Practice in following environments:
- Law firms
- Insurance companies
- Consulting firms
- Hospital risk management departments
- Government offices
- Independent practices
They fulfill the number of duties and responsibilities under these environments. There are the lists of duties that these consultants have to perform. Here is the list of duties and roles they perform that will give an overview of their profession.
1. Review Medical Records
They search for the issues related to a case. They review medical records and summarize the treatment and injuries to identify the missing records. They review the records to understand the treatments given to the client as a part of their duty. Any negligence in providing care to their clients can help them in claiming money from the healthcare settings.
2. Educating Colleagues
They educate attorneys related to the medical issues and cases, facts, nursing terminology, treatments, healthcare information, timelines, facts. They also serve as a link between medical professionals and attorneys, clients and physicians involved in the cases.
3. Investing Cases
They also play a major role in investing cases, and they serve services such as:
- Research compensation and claims to investigate the medical cases to determine the claims and merit
- They investigate the cases to determine fraud and abuse in the different medical agencies and programs
- Conduct investigates and inquiries to determine the misconduct happen on the part of healthcare facility or practitioner
4. Preparing For Trials
They also prepare medical reports, facts, summaries, evidence, chronologies of medical events, graphic exhibits, of the cases for trial. Their job is to draft questions to help the attorneys in cases related to medical issues. They also prepare witness by taking interviews of the clients related to the medical cases. Thus, their role is very crucial, and the experience they gain is very important to serve in the variety of agencies.
5. Taking Witness
The attorney may need their help to get facts and data related to the case. They provide the evidence and the basis on it they testify the witness. They are the experts who judge the evidence and offer insight to the attorneys in relevance to the case.
What Skills Are Required?
As a legal nurse consultant, a person has to do job and responsibilities. Their role is very crucial, and thus they should not make any mistake as it can change the scenario of a case. Any mistake can highly impact the clients and agencies. Therefore, a legal nurse consultant should possess’ skills that let them perform these tasks and duties effectively. Their responsibilities are bigger than other nurses, and hence skills they need are also very crucial.
They should be well versed in communication as they have to communicate to various clients, organizations, and others related to a case. They should be multi-tasking as they have very important tasks to do. Critical thinking skills and analytical skills are must for the consultants. They should be sharp enough to analyze the complete scenario. They have to develop case theories, and thus they should be smart enough to understand the case. They also have to do critical research and thus should be capable of thinking about the necessary key areas of research.
They should have the firm grasp of terminology related to nursing and legal terminology as well. It is crucial for them to stay up-to-date with the nursing specialties and developments so that they can include wide areas of aspects related to the cases.
A person aspiring to become consultants should not only have these necessary skills but also have sound knowledge of nursing. Thus, they should focus on their development right from the beginning of the career. In the meanwhile, they should also understand the necessity and responsibilities so that they can serve well to their clients.
Since their role and duties are very crucial, they are paid the good salary. Their salary and benefits they get very, and this variance is due to the working experience, qualifications, and other parameters. They are paid on hourly basis, monthly basis or annually. Various agencies pay them well based on their performance and qualities. There are many states that pay them good packages that also include perks and bonuses. Similar to others they also get hourly tips and wages for their overtime work. Perks they receive includes- medical, insurance, accommodation, transport, bonuses, etc.
Legal Nurse Consultant Salary
On an average, they earn $49.11/ hour. Their hourly rate is $29.17-$128. It shows that they can get up to $128 for working an hour as a consultant. In some cases, they can also make more money from their tips. For working an hour, they can get tips up to $2.22 which again depends on their work. If anyone works overtime, then they can earn money between $10.30-$245. So, in all, they have the chance to make few extra dollars by working in different agencies for an hour. This increases their source of income.
However, they also get bonuses and profit sharing. The bonus can be as low as $738 or can go as high as $11,745. The amount of profit sharing is $2,750. Their total pay lies between $55,373-$210,373 after summing up overall wages.
Average Legal Nurse Consultant Salary
|Hourly Rate||$29.17 – $128|
|Bonus||$738 – $11,745|
|Total Pay||$55,373 – $210,373|
Their annual salary thus ranges from $51,262-$100,397. The salary statistics is an estimated data received from various agencies. They are paid very well if their experience level is high. An entry-level nurse can earn with total compensation of $78,000. This data is for those who have experienced less than five years. Their compensation will include tips, overtime pay, and bonuses.
Those who are at the mid-level of their career are expected to earn up to $80,000. This is for those who have experience of 5 to 10 years working in this profession. Those who are slightly more experience says 10 to 20 years get a really good package and this include compensations as well. It can be up to $85,000. However, the person who has more than 20 years of work experience can earn impressive salary package of $96,000.
Hence, it is a brilliant career profession for those who are interested serving to a community differently. It is a combine profession where a person not only gets experience as a nurse but can also get some real time experience of working with attorneys.
Their future is very bright, and they can make more money with this profession. However, their earning completely depends on how well they perform and how accurate they are in serving their roles and duties. Their demands are going to increase shortly and thus they are going to make more money. Anyone who wishes to pursue this profession has right opportunity and should have above educational requirements and skills as well.