Not all careers in nursing require working in a hospital, clinic or other medical facility. In fact, some of the more challenging nursing careers take place in areas of research, education and through independent consulting. These career choices require the same type of education as a practical nurse, but with additional training in areas such as administration, management and law.
A Legal Nurse Consultant provides court-related testimony, analysis and insight into a wide variety of legal cases throughout the country. These nurses have the capacity to not only understand the nuances of the various disciplines of nursing and medicine, but are also highly skilled in the examination of such information as it relates within the field of law. A Legal Nurse Consultant is an expert witness in court, with the ability to testify during trials, hearing and arbitrations, or during legal depositions. Legal Nurse Consultants are often used in criminal cases, such as abuse, sexual assault or neglect, or in civil matters relating to pharmacology, medical malpractice, personal injury or workers’ compensation, and many others. Many Legal Nurse Consultants work within hospitals, insurance companies, or as independent consultants on an as-needed basis. These medical liaisons report earnings anywhere from $75 - $200/hour.
Qualifying as a Legal Nurse Consultant requires the same nursing education as a Registered Nurse. These nurses must meet the basic requirements of nursing, either through an Associate Degree in Nursing program or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, as well as complete additional legal training. Certification programs for a Legal Nurse Consultant are available at many campus-based or online nursing schools, and can be completed while a nurse remains employed.
Legal Nurse Consultants provide expert testimony and clarify medical terminology and practices through court-related means. These specialized nurses have the education and skills to help in both criminal and civil matters, and can bring an understanding to medical claims or trauma-based legal cases that can otherwise be misinterpreted, affecting people around the country. As a career choice, a Legal Nurse Consultant can enjoy both the challenge of nursing and law, and the flexibility offered to an independent consultant, helping to maintain a healthy work-life balance while still positively affecting the lives of others.