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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Become A Legal Nurse Consultant

Become A Legal Nurse Consultant
If you have background in nursing and an interest in the legal aspects and intricacies of medicine, you might consider becoming a legal nurse consultant
. This specialized field values the unique experience and perspective of nurses, and recognizes the special contribution that nurses can offer the legal profession.

Legal Nurse Consulting in a Nutshell
To become a legal nurse consultant, you must first be a registered nurse, or RN. RNs perform a wide variety of medical duties, such as treating patients, educating
the public about health hazards and medical conditions, and providing emotional support to patients and their families. Legal nurse consultants use their backgrounds as RNs, along with their professional expertise and basic law training, to assist lawyers, insurance companies and government agencies with medical cases.

Education Requirements for Legal Nurse Consultants
There are three paths to becoming an RN:
You can earn an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), which takes from two to three years.
Some hospitals offer a nursing diploma after three years of in-house training.
You can earn a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree (BSN), which takes about four years to complete. This option usually offers greatest opportunities for career advancement.

Once you complete one of these approved nursing programs, you must pass a national licensing exam, known as the NCLEX-RN, in order to earn your nursing license. Once you achieve RN status, you must have your RN license periodically renewed.While there are few courses designed specifically for legal nurse consultants, many RNs who want to specialize in this field take law classes to be better equipped as legal consultants.

Day in the Life of a Legal Nurse Consultant
Legal nurse consulting began in the 1970s as more and more RNs were being called in as expert trial witnesses in malpractice lawsuits. Today, lawyers, insurance companies and government agencies depend on legal nurse consultants to work on many aspects of medical law cases. As a legal nurse consultant, you interview patients and family, gather pertinent medical records and evidence, and educate the necessary parties about the medical aspects of cases. Whether you work part or full time, this is a very satisfying and challenging career.

Job Growth for Legal Nurse Consultants
Legal nurse consultants fall under the career umbrella of RNs, and job opportunities for RNs are expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations through 2014.
In fact, RNs are projected to create the second largest number of new jobs among all occupations, as baby boomers reach retirement age and demand more medical care.

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