A registered nurse makes a decent salary, but you can make more as a legal nurse consultant (LNC) or nurse paralegal. LNCs have a legal knowledge that can be valuable in many medical cases. They serve as a sort of translator for health professionals and lawyers in cases involving medical malpractice or, for example, personal injury. A regular nurse with no legal training would not know enough about the law to charge for consultancy services. Now, here are the steps on how to become a legal nurse consultant.
Get a Degree
The first step in becoming an LNC is getting a nursing degree. You can choose either a bachelor or associate degree in nursing. However, you do have to pass the exam of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This will qualify you to work as a registered nurse, and apply for an LNC certification.
Get the Coursework
The next step is to get the legal studies courses you need to work as an LNC. Online courses are the most convenient and cost-effective way to do this. You can complete the course at your own pace. You may have a problem going to physical classes with a fixed schedule if you work full time as a nurse.
You may need several years of work experience as a registered nurse to get a job as an LNC. Most employers prefer LNCs that has worked as a nurse and has extensive practical experience in the field. They can give better medical advice to lawyers and insurance companies than a fresh graduate can. Additionally, you need 2,000 hours work experience as an LNC to get certification. Simply put, you need work experience as a registered nurse to work as an LNC, and you need to be a working LNC to qualify for certification.
You can work as an LNC without certification if you have done the coursework, so that is the most important step. However, LNC certification gives you better career options and better pay.