Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) review and analyze facts and information identified in legal cases that involve an injury. They use their nursing and research skills, knowledge of nursing theory, and familiarity with medicine and healthcare systems to evaluate medical records in various types of litigation, including medical malpractice, personal injury, and workers compensation.
Characteristics needed. LNCs should have experience in theoretical and clinical nursing and possess a general knowledge of healthcare. Reviewing medical records, translating information for use in litigation, and writing and reporting on findings require strong research and analysis skills.
Rewards. Legal consulting offers a great deal of flexibility. LNCs can work independently, manage their own business, or work as a consultant or an employee for law firms, insurance carriers, hospitals, or government agencies.
Challenges. Educating attorneys about the difference in value and expertise between LNCs and paralegals can be challenging. LNCs go far beyond the paralegal role to provide more analytical thinking and theoretical knowledge.
Educational requirements. No education or certification requirements specific to practicing as an LNC are required, but obtaining certification as an LNCC® through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) demonstrates expertise. The LNCC is the only legal nurse consulting credential recognized by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification.
Professional associations. AALNC is the only nonprofit organization for LNCs. It publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Legal Nurse Consultants and offers education via webinars, online courses, and an annual conference.
Bottom line. “Legal nurse consulting is a remarkably interesting and exciting way to meld nursing knowledge with the law. My experience working as a legal nurse has afforded me the opportunity to use my nursing skills practically in a field that impacts a variety of populations, legal situations, and business practices.”
Laura Grossman Nissim is a board-certified legal nurse consultant and president of AALNC.