Legal Nurse Consultants
Legal nurse consultants are employed independently on a contract or retainer basis, or they may be employed by a law firm, insurance company, corporation, or government agency (such as the Department of Justice, state health professions licensing boards, state attorneys general offices, or the Food and Drug Administration), or as part of a risk management department in a hospital, HMOs, ambulatory care centers, and clinics.
Legal nurse consultants start out in the field as registered nurses, gradually gaining enough experience and knowledge to work full or part time as a consultant.
The only way to become a registered nurse is through completion of one of the three kinds of educational programs plus passing the licensing examination. Registered nurses may apply for employment directly to hospitals, nursing homes, and companies and government agencies that hire nurses. Jobs can also be obtained through school career services offices, by signing up with employment agencies specializing in placement of nursing personnel, or through state employment offices. Other sources of jobs include nurses' associations, professional journals, and newspaper want ads.
Administrative and supervisory positions in the nursing field go to nurses who have earned at least the bachelor of science degree in nursing. Nurses with many years of experience who are graduates of the diploma program may achieve supervisory positions, but requirements for such promotions have become more difficult in recent years and in many cases require at least the bachelor of science in nursing degree.
Legal nurse consultants with considerable experience may advance to supervisory positions or move on to open their own consulting companies. Others may choose to earn a law degree and become nurse attorneys.
Tips for Entry
Read the Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting (http://www.aalnc.org/page/the-journal-of-legal-nurse-consulting) to learn more about the field.
Join the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants to take advantage of networking opportunities, continuing education, and member-only benefits such as access to job listings in its career center.
Read Getting Started in Legal Nurse Consulting (www.aalnc.org/d/do/95) to learn how to break into the field.