Individuals interested in the fields of medicine and law may want to learn how to become a legal nurse. This page details the profession, including legal nurse degree options and legal nurse requirements.
Learners can explore what legal nurses do, where they work, and what skills they need to succeed. This page also covers training and certification requirements, legal nurse salary information, and helpful resources.
What is a Legal Nurse?
What is a legal nurse and what does a legal nurse do? Legal nurses work as experts on legal cases involving medical issues. They work in courts, insurance companies, and agencies. These nurses also work for healthcare providers. Legal nurses combine their scientific background, clinical experience, and medical education to the legal industry. Many legal professionals, especially attorneys during the litigation process, find legal nurses extremely helpful. These nurses often possess experience in pharmacology and pathophysiology and understand the current standard of care for different disease processes.
- What Do Legal Nurses Do?
Legal nurses perform a variety of duties depending on their environment. Professionals working for private attorneys or law firms often work on malpractice cases. They review current standards of care alongside summaries of medical records. Legal nurses also attend arbitrations and depositions, serving as expert witnesses and liaisons with healthcare providers.
Legal nurses who work for insurance companies focus on ensuring healthcare benefits get paid appropriately. They audit medical bills and act as case managers.
Those working in clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities typically work in med-legal departments or in-house risk management sectors. These nurses collaborate with legal teams, investigate malpractice claims, review medical records, educate staff, and ensure cooperation and adherence to compliance and healthcare privacy laws.
Professionals in the legal industry, especially attorneys, can benefit greatly from legal nurses' work. In addition to working for hospitals, insurance agencies, and law firms, these nurses can work from home, setting their own hours and determining their own incomes.
- Where Do Legal Nurses Work?
Legal nurses can pursue career opportunities in several settings. They need a high level of expertise, making them valuable in legal proceedings and scenarios. Legal nurses can work in law offices, focusing on product liability, personal injury, and medical malpractice. They can also work for government agencies or hospitals. Some legal nurses work in insurance companies, focusing on disability, workers' compensation, and billing fraud.
Legal nurses working in government agencies help defend state agencies and work with government-funded healthcare billing and claims. Legal nurses working in hospitals focus their careers on risk management, licensure concerns, and case management.
- Skills That Could Affect Legal Nurse Salaries
Legal nurses need strong organizational skills. Since they work closely with legal professionals, they must maintain a high level of organization to remain on track to help solve cases and bring resolution to clients and patients. Legal nurses must demonstrate excellent communication skills since they regularly communicate with other healthcare professionals, legal professionals, and patients.
Although legal nurses focus on healthcare, they work closely with legal professionals and should understand legal terminology. These professionals also need strong critical-thinking skills to adapt to changing scenarios and to develop new, effective ideas and resolutions.
How to Become a Legal Nurse
Individuals interested in learning how to become a legal nurse should start their career pathway by earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Once they graduate from their bachelor's program, professionals can pursue registered nurse (RN) licensure.
RN licensing programs require candidates to hold an ADN or BSN and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. After gaining licensure, professionals can explore certification opportunities and seek job opportunities in the legal nursing field. Legal nurses must maintain their RN license throughout their careers and renew their certification every five years by meeting their state's specific renewal criteria.
Legal Nurse Salaries and Job Growth
How much does a legal nurse make? Legal nurse salary information varies depending on nurses' experience and location. The occupation's national median salary is $76,753.
Entry-level legal nurses earn an average salary of $73,102, while more experienced legal nurses earn $84,407. RNs can pursue legal nursing as a specialty. Registered nurses earn the most pay in California and in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry. These professionals can explore the highest concentration of jobs and highest employment levels in the general and surgical medical hospital industry.
Median Salary for Legal Nurses by Career Experience
- Entry Level: $73,102
- Early Career: $68,845
- Mid Career: $76,615
- Experienced: $80,608
- Late Career: $84,407
|Registered Nurse (RN)||Medical Assistant||Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)||Registered Nurse (RN), Emergency Room||Registered Nurse (RN), Critical Care|
Legal Nurse Resources
- American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants A nonprofit membership organization, AALNC remains committed to the professional advancement and growth of RNs in the legal nurse specialty. The organization provides educational advancement and networking opportunities along with professional development. The group offers certification through the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board.
- American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board This group provides certification opportunities for legal nurse consultant professionals through the LNCC program. This practice-based program measures professionals' ability to apply skills and knowledge.
- National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants The oldest and largest association of legal nurse consultants, NACLNC serves RNs who have completed legal nurse consultant certifications and training programs through the Vickie Milazzo Institute. The organization's CLNC certification is the country's most widely recognized legal nurse consulting certification.
- Nurse.com Job Search Job seekers can use this site's job search function to browse job openings by title or specialty. Users can also input location parameters, including distance components, to see job opportunities in desired locations.
- International & American Association of the Legal Nurse Industry IAALNI advances and promotes the legal nurse field by providing continuing education efforts and education training to members. The organization also provides a communication forum, allowing members to share ideas with other members.