This page provides information to some of the more frequently asked questions relating to Legal Nurse Consultants. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open these PDF files. (If you need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader it can found as a free download at www.adobe.com).
How do I get started in Legal Nurse Consulting?
The AALNC puts out a booklet that you can download.
What does an LNC do?
Here are some tips on hiring an LNC.
How is an LNC different than a Paralegal?
The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) has defined legal nurse consulting as a specialty practice of the nursing profession. AALNC does not recognize legal nurse consultants (LNCs) as a special category of paralegals. (more)
What is the certification recognized by AALNC?
As a nursing specialty recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA), it is vital that legal nurse consultants (LNCs) have a pathway to certification which incorporates experiential and educational requirements. The LNCC program is the only certification examination in the field endorsed by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) and accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS). (more)
What is the difference between Certification and a certificate?
By setting and enforcing standards for certification, the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) seeks to protect the public and consumers through their mission to provide assurance to the public that the nurse holding the credential from an accredited certification program possesses the knowledge, skills and competency for quality practice in the specialty. (more)
A strong and diverse clinical nursing background is the most important foundation to Legal Nurse Consulting since attorneys will be consulting you for your knowledge of the nursing and medical issues. Legal nurse consultants generally work either in-house (at law firms, hospitals, insurance companies, etc) or as independent contractors. Of these independent (LNC) contractors, some choose to work as expert witnesses in their field of clinical expertise, and others choose to review medical records and give the attorney their opinion on whether or not the case has sufficient merit to proceed (at which point the attorney would hire the appropriate experts for their expert opinion).
There are many roads to take to get to legal nurse consulting - only ten years ago there were limited educational resources and most LNCs learned on the job. While that is still an option, you will be competing with other Legal Nurse Consultants who may have degrees from a university-based LNC or paralegal program, a certificate from one of the many private individuals who offer education, or one of the other options for self-study that are available. There are currently approximately a half dozen university-based LNC programs in the Mass-RI area. These programs may be based out of their paralegal programs and may incorporate a lot of material that is not required for Legal Nurse Consulting practice (i.e., estates, wills, etc).
We would recommend you begin your Legal Nurse Consulting education with AALNC and their products which are available at www.aalnc.org. As the professional association of LNCs, they are the authoritative and most comprehensive source of resources, and may save you a lot of time and money wasted in you trying to "reinvent the wheel". The text available from AALNC, Principles & Practice is a tremendous resource for the money and is used as the text in many LNC programs. In addition, make use of your local chapter of AALNC; we are a good resource for you to access experienced LNCs and network.
The only certification that is recognized by AALNC and the American Board of Nursing Specialties is the LNCC (Legal Nurse Consultant Certified). The LNCC is the equivalent of other nursing specialty certifications you are likely familiar with, such as the CEN, CCRN, etc. This certification is experience based and requires a minimum number of practice hours as an LNC in order to qualify for the exam. As a result, it is not an entry level certification. The LNCC is accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties, and administered by C-Net, a professional nursing testing company. Its content has been determined by a practice analysis of LNCs, and is continuously evaluated and updated to reflect current LNC practice and psychometric standards.
Attorneys are looking for nurses who have strong clinical backgrounds, know the standards of care for their area of expertise or where to access those standards, and have the conviction to render an opinion and stand by it.