The Legal Nurse
What is the role of the legal nurse consultant? A legal nurse consultant (or simply an LCN) is a certified registered nurse who makes use of his or her background experience as a health care provider in order to offer advice to legal experts and attorneys, about various issues of the law that involve the medical field. The legal nurse uses his or her expertise to review medical records, analyze medical information and then offer her informed opinion to attorneys. Despite the fact that the job of legal nurse consultant has been around for roughly three decades, it has already become one of the most sought-after jobs in the medical field.
A legal nurse consultant can offer advice in a wide range of fields, from wrongful death and personal injury to products liability, sexual assault and even criminal defense cases. Due to the fact that they are familiar with medical terminology and code of conduct, legal nurses often assist lawyers in reading the medical records, for a better understanding of the case. Nonetheless, in order to offer professional advice in legal matters that involve the medical field a nurse must have specialized law training prior to that.
An Overview Of The Duties Of A Legal Nurse Consultant
The legal nurse has a wealth of duties and responsibilities: the nurse has to interview medical experts and must act as an intermediary between medical experts and the law firms that deal with a medical trial – in some cases, the nurse even has to talk to the family of the victim and explain them the situation. Based on her expertise and specialized training, the nurse should also research the medical literature and even come up with case theories that will help lawyers solve the case quickly and without the hassles.
As a health care working professional with solid experience in the field, the nurse should also identify any deviations from the medical standards of care and determine whether they played any role in the case. Analyzing the medical records of the victim and discussing with various other medical professionals are also part of the duties of a legal nurse consultant.
In some cases, the legal nurses might even be asked to testify at trials as expert witnesses and to create extended and detailed medical reports that will be presented in court – the purpose of these reports is to outline the medical implications that lead to the accusation of personal injury, products liability and such.
Last, but not least, the legal nurse not only uses the existing expertise to analyze a case and decide whether it was the plaintiff’s or the defendant fault in a case, but also to consult and educate the clients on certain medical and nursing matters of utmost importance.
Legal nurse consulting is a respected nursing specialty, and in order to be able to practice her job, a legal nurse consultant should enroll in various training courses and certification programs such as the program offered by the American College of Legal Nurse Consulting. Moreover, Legal nurses can work in a wide range of settings, varying from insurance companies and government agencies to hospitals – in some cases; they might even choose to work in an independent practice office.
As mentioned above, the role of the Legal nurse is also to be an expert witness, to assist the plaintiff by reviewing the case and offering pertinent information from sophisticated medical records. This is often required in cases of personal injury or medical malpractice, and the nurse also has to create a chronological summary of the facts, for a batter understanding. In other words, the nurse will provide expert opinion and will testify in court.
Legal nurses are frequently called upon to provide an entire case review and analysis on cases of alleged negligence in nursing practice. In this capacity the legal nurse consultant reviews all applicable standards of nursing care related to a case and identifies deviations from these established standards of nursing care. This allows the legal nurse and the legal team to identify deviations and potential issues of negligence in practice.
A key here is also establishing damages sustained by the client. As you can see, the role of the legal nurse is critical to trying and also defending nursing malpractice cases. The legal nurse may act as a consultant for the case or as the expert providing testimony on the cases as related to standards of nursing care.
In case of medical malpractice, legal nurse consultants will use their extensive clinical experience to determine whether defective medical devices or medical products are to blame in a particular case. This involves the intake of client information and the thorough analysis of medical records to determine product liability, if case. If the plaintiff suffered an injury caused by a dangerous defective product, it is the duty of the nurse to point that out in court.
To sum it up, all the duties and responsibilities mentioned above make the legal nurse consultant a specialized and important member of the litigation team, and his or her work is vital for achieving a just outcome both for the plaintiff and the defendant.
Are you interested in becoming a Legal Nurse Consultant? If so, you must first be a Registered Nurse and have clinical practice experience in nursing. You will then want to complete a comprehensive program designed to educate and train legal nurses to go into practice. One such program is offered by the American College of Legal Nurse Consulting. This program is very comprehensive and consists of four core modules of training. Each module requires testing and successful score attainment to move on to the next module. When all four of the learning modules and courses have been completed, the Registered Nurse receives national certification as a Certified Specialist in Legal Nurse Consulting. You may preview full information on the program by visiting the website: Legal Nurse Consulting Certification