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Remote legal nurse consultants combine medical and legal knowledge to work with attorneys, law firms, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and insurance companies on medical cases from their homes. They provide healthcare guidelines regarding medical matters based on their educational background and practical knowledge.
What Is a Remote Legal Nurse Consultant?
A remote legal nurse consultant (RLNC) is a registered nurse that works with attorneys and other stakeholders from home as a legal representative. Remote legal nurse consultants provide expert medical witnesses, review patient records, and assess medical cases to determine if any error occurred during treatments. They help to identify if a criminal act led to a patient’s death or injury.
Because remote legal nurse consultants provide remote support to litigation teams, they need to understand case analysis and medical chronology. The support provided to attorneys and litigation teams is used to draw conclusions on the feasibility, depth, and solidity of the case.
All remote legal nurse consultants are registered nurses. But to become a remote LNC as a nursing professional, you need specific certification(s) and additional training. The goal is to become adequately familiar with the legal system of the country and the specific state of your remote practice.
Ultimately, a remote legal nurse consultant must be a qualified professional that can analyze healthcare issues, provide expert opinions on medical cases and also give advice on medical cases to legal teams. They only face patients directly when acting as legal representatives.
Why a Remote Legal Nursing Consulting Career Is Needed and Growing
No matter how knowledgeable attorneys are in their field, they find it challenging to understand the details involved in medical procedures and practices. Remote legal nurse consultants come in at this point to help the lawyers evaluate medical evidence to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of a medical case. They help to establish the connection between medical errors and injury or death.
Around 1 in 20 patients are exposed to harm due to medical errors. But establishing death or injury due to a medical error can be challenging. Since it can be difficult to accurately prove that people experienced life-changing injuries or passed away because of preventable harm, lawyers need all the medical understanding they can get to stand a chance on their cases and remote legal nurse consultants exist to fill this gap. No other profession has the hands-on experience and training to bridge this gap between the medical and legal fields.
From top to bottom, remote legal nurse consultants review medical records to search for missing, wrong, altered, and relevant information. Since they know what to look for, they are able to steer the attorneys in the right direction regarding specific cases. When a case has no prospects – since they know the tricky details – they are also able to advise attorneys in that regard. For cases that make it to trial, the remote LNC can also serve as an expert witness for cases that go to trial.
How Can I Become a Remote Legal Nurse Consultant?
Remote legal nurse consultants are nurses that carry weight in the legal field. Attorneys need legal nurse consultants who understand various medical procedures and medical terminology. Ideally, they should have years of experience practicing as a nurse.
Education and Licensure
Legal nurse consultants have the same educational background as other nurses. They are licensed registered nurses (RNs) who obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). If you have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you can go for a master’s degree in nursing and specialize in legal consulting to become a remote legal nursing consultant. To obtain your license in the US and Canada, you need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. You also need it to obtain your state license. The requirements and qualifications for state licensing vary from state to state, so you need to research the criteria where you intend to set up your remote practice.
Specific certifications for legal nurse consultants are also available like the one offered by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC). This exam is called the Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC®) exam. Only RNs who have had a minimum of 5 years of professional experience are qualified to take this exam. They will also need a minimum of 2000 hours practicing legal nurse consulting exclusively within the past 5 years.
Then the exam is to be repeated at least once in 5 years for their certified status to stay valid. Such certification can help you work as an independent contractor or make your candidacy more competitive in the job market. Other professional organizations offer training programs with certifications to provide additional training and appropriate credentials. They offer certificates upon completion of educational courses. These certificates may not be required for job openings, but they can help to verify the skills acquired during the program.
Attorneys are looking for remote legal nurse consultants with several years of nursing experience. LNCs are healthcare specialists that use their knowledge and skills in providing care. When they become legal nurse consultants, they use the same skills to identify areas where care delivery fell short of expectations and apply their expertise to figure out loopholes. Without sufficient experience gained from working as a registered nurse in professional settings like hospitals, schools, nursing homes, private doctor’s offices, academic institutions, hospices, and other organizations that provide in-patient care, the support legal nurse consultants can provide will be severely limited.
There is specialized training aimed at getting legal nurse consulting skills. These programs leverage the participant’s medical education and experience. By providing a deeper understanding of health care and nursing laws, it targets registered nurses that are looking to specialize as legal nurse consultants. The RNs will get tailored legal training to supplement their nursing education.
The job of a remote legal nurse consultant often includes being a credible expert and witness. Because of this responsibility, they often need to undergo background screenings and drug tests. Remote legal nurse consultants need to adopt a lifestyle that will prove their credibility and integrity at all times. Your employers will also want to be sure you can maintain a functional work environment and these tests and screenings help build that assurance.
While the right educational background, practical knowledge, and skills are important to land a remote legal nurse consultant job, certain personality and character traits are also necessary to build a successful career as a remote legal nurse consultant. Some of these personality traits include compassion, emotional stability, adaptability, problem-solving ability, sound work ethics, and more. Remote legal nurse consultants should also be decisive and able to work autonomously and with a team. They should be curious about legal work and able to interact with legal professionals and groups.
Remote Legal Nurse Consultant Roles
The core tasks of a legal nurse consultant according to the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants include the following:
- Doing research
- Analyzing medical records
- Defining care standards in cases of medical malpractice
- Writing or interpreting medical language in legal documents
- Stating plaintiffs’ future medical needs and care costs
- Educating attorneys and clients on medical affairs
- Determining the estimates for long-term care costs
- Participating in client interviews
- Participating in medical exams
- Testifying during trials as expert witnesses
- Obtaining evidence and preparing it for trial
- Helping attorneys prepare for trials and depositions
- Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of medical malpractice cases
Other responsibilities include:
- Summarize medical and health care records
- Assist with recruiting competent expert witnesses for cases
- Interview patients to obtain the information needed by the representing attorney
- Work with recruited expert witnesses to prepare for testimony
- Prepare detailed consulting reports on cases
- Create charts /graphs and other presentation materials for depositions and trials
- Consult with the attorney representing the client on specific nursing legal and ethical issues
The roles and responsibilities of remote legal nurse consultants are broad and they work on various types of cases that involve reviewing diagnostic test results, passing professional judgment on medical cases, and educating legal experts on the standards of care for nursing. There is a real opportunity for legal nurse consultants to grow their practice from the patient’s room to the courtroom as they work on various cases. They also directly help attorneys and organizations achieve their objectives and missions, making them highly invaluable.
As the job of remote legal nurse consultants continues to improve general healthcare by highlighting issues related to nursing and healthcare malpractice, the opportunities to specialize as an LNC also continue to grow. So while the roles of a remote legal nurse consultant can be broad, you can specialize your legal nurse consultant practice. Some remote legal nurse consultants specialize in obstetrical nursing malpractice, some specialize in pediatrics nursing malpractice, and some specialize in palliative care medical malpractice among others.
Remote Legal Nurse Consultant Skills
With the following skills, you can build a successful remote legal nurse consultant practice:
Both the medical and legal fields are dynamic. Because laws and treatment methods are always changing and improving, a remote legal nurse consultant must be able to conduct research to figure out trends, patterns, and updates.
Networking and Communication
The fact that you are working remotely makes it necessary for you to have more than an average ability to connect with people in the legal field. You also need excellent communication skills to serve as a witness and provide expert testimony. Your communication skills are also necessary to explain medical terminologies to nonmedical professionals.
The job of a remote legal nurse consultant often involves finding tricky details and applying health care delivery guidelines on a patient-by-patient basis. To ensure no important information is missed, the legal nurse consultant must be attentive to each piece of information.
Remote legal nurse consultants deal with a lot of paperwork. From sorting and organizing to archiving, they must be able to manage a huge volume of paperwork for easy referencing and retrieval during later use.
Working remotely as a legal nurse consultant means that you will rely on technology to get most of your work done. You should be able to use databases and office software to manage information. You should also be proactive enough to use organization-specific technological tools for your work.
Where to Find Remote Legal Nurse Consultant Jobs
Different fields and areas of expertise employ remote legal nurse consultants. They work in insurance companies, law fields, private consulting, healthcare organizations, solo legal practices, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, government institutions, and areas of risk management in other organizations. Legal nurse consultants provide support to litigation teams to improve legal outcomes through their expertise in healthcare.
Legal nurse consultants who work remotely often do so from their home offices. They include and interpret medical parlance in legal documents. Their profession also covers additional healthcare claim areas like worker compensation claims, personal injury, product liability, etc. The opportunities to work as a remote legal nurse consultant abound and are increasing.
You can work from home as a legal nurse consultant on a full-time or part-time basis. You can also work as an independent contractor with several attorneys. Remote legal nurse consultant jobs can be found on job posting sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn. If you are a member of professional organizations like the AALNC, you can discover other job openings that are only open to in-house members. Networking with other professionals can also connect you with employers and potential clients.
Remote Legal Nurse Consultant Salary
The average annual pay for a remote legal nurse consultant on ZipRecuiter is $86,744. Annual salaries can go as high as $121,500 and as low as $36,000. This amount is within the national average salary which is also within the national average annual salary range. There are specific cities in the US where the average annual salary tops the national average.
The opportunities for economic advancement are higher if you reside in any of these cities or relocate there to kickstart your career as a remote legal nurse consultant. They are:
- Barnstable Town, MA at $92,924
- Sunnyvale, CA at $92,560
- Frankston, TX at $91,961
- Santa Cruz, CA at $90,518
- Manhattan, NY at $90,202
- Livermore, CA at $90,182
- Santa Rosa, CA at $89,771
- Potomac Heights, MD at $87,983
- Cambridge, MA at $87,102
- Green River, WY at $85,985
Whether you are starting your nursing career and want to know the prospects it offers or you are already a registered nurse looking to expand your horizon, a remote legal nurse consultant career is a great way to explore your nursing experience in the legal domain. This career path has a promising outlook as opportunities continue to increase within and outside the healthcare industry.