What’s Involved in Legal Nurse Training? A Blending of Two Worlds

Legal nurses play an important role in the judicial system by blending together the two worlds of medicine and law. As such, all legal nurses are required to have a substantial amount of experience in nursing as well as a thorough knowledge of the law. Legal nurses are often called upon in tricky courtroom situations and are often requested to interpret medical records or testify as an expert opinion. With the large numbers of medical suits, it should come as no surprise that legal nursing is a substantial field with pay levels that can reach $150 per hour, depending on experience and expertise. If this sounds interesting to you, you should know that legal nurse training is intense, but we can definitely give you some tips on what to expect.

Most legal nurse training pertains to integrating the medical knowledge of a nurse within the legal environment. The LNCC, or Legal Nurse Consultant Certified, designation is the leading certification to demonstrate one’s capability to perform the duties of a legal nurse. The certification itself only requires an examination to obtain, although it does have a moderately stringent set of prerequisites. These include being a registered nurse with five years of experience and 2000 hours of legal nurse consulting within the past three years. It should come as no surprise then, that the course of study for this examination is very comprehensive of the duties of a legal nurse.

Example courses that one is recommended to take prior to the exam provide an ample look into what’s involved. “Roles of the LNC in Practice” is a beginner course designed to help medical personnel work with legal teams, interview both plaintiff and defense clients, and understand the role of the legal nurse in medical examinations. More specialized courses include “Research & Report Writing” which aids the student in writing proper legal documents to be submitted to a court of law. It’s very important that legal nurses be able to assist the lawyers in drafting proper documents, considering the constant hassle it would be to constantly be giving the lawyer information that they would have to take and write up.

One may look at legal nurse training as a crash course in law and, to a large extent, this would be an accurate assessment. Legal nurses deal with problems such as toxic torts, product liability, criminal law, and workers’ compensation. Once a nurse makes the jump to “legal”, it’s safe to assume that they won’t be performing the duties that their former colleagues were doing. Rather, they’ll be doing significantly more research and perhaps a lot more writing.

Indeed, due to the elevated decision making and research requirements, having an education in this field will help you monetarily. As was mentioned in the beginning, legal nurses can make $150 per hour as an independent person (much like an independent lawyer); however, most salaried people make just under six figures per year. Since no-one expects medical suits to be decreasing anytime soon, taking some legal nurse training can really help you blend your real-world experience with the comparatively less stress of the courtroom setting.