Legal Nursing Programs

What is Legal Nursing?
Legal nursing is a relatively new field: a blend of health care and legal professions. A legal nurse plays an important role in the legal system. They typically serve as a liaison between attorneys, clients, and healthcare providers. As a legal nurse you will:

  • Interview clients
  • Screen for record tampering
  • Help lawyers in interpreting medical information
  • Help ensure compliance with healthcare standards
  • Help determine if wrongful acts occur due to claimed damages and injuries.
  • Conduct research and summarize health care literature
  • Identify and prepare witnesses

You may expect to deal in many areas like personal injury, workers compensation, criminal law, product liability, healthcare malpractice, and negligence cases.

What Are The Admissions Criteria For A Legal Nursing Program?
The exact requirements vary depending on the school at which you apply. Most colleges may require you to have an associate or bachelor's degree and be a registered nurse (RN). Some schools also prefer prospective students to have some work experience.
These programs may also be available through online education, so you are able to access all course material online and interact with your instructors through video chats or instant messaging. This would enable you to study and complete coursework from home. The flexible nature of these programs allows you to schedule classes that fit within your current schedule, and you are able to complete coursework at your own pace. Students may enroll in online programs as full time students as well as part time.

Are There Any Certifications?
Although not mandatory, certification is a great way of expanding your skills and knowledge and possibly enhancing your employment prospect. It could be a means of showing the employers that you are committed to your field and fulfill national standards. In order to be certified, you would need to take the Legal Nurse Consultant Certification (LNCC) exam, which is accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties.

Program Curriculum
There are variations in the names and types of courses which are offered at each school. The courses may be similar to the following:

  • Introduction to Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Report Writing for Legal Nurse Consultant
  • Medical Record Review, Analysis, and Standards of Practice
  • Clinical Ethics
  • Introduction to Forensic Science in Health Care Settings

Some schools also give you the opportunity to take up an internship or mentorship course as a part of the curriculum. You will get to experience real life legal nursing, which could help enhance your resume. Areas of practice include forensics, insurance, medical malpractice, or personal injury.

Employment Opportunities
Nursing is a fast growing profession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated an employment growth rate of 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, which amounts to 711,900 new job openings. In 2010, registered nurse earned an average hourly and annual wage of $31.10 and $64,690, respectively.

Legal nurses usually work at:

  • Insurance companies
  • Law Firms
  • Hospitals/Clinics
  • Government departments
  • Health maintenance organizations

You could also work as an independent nurse consultant.


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