Complete Guide to an Online Legal Nurse Consultant Degree

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Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Master's and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $27,663

Online legal nurse consulting degrees are available at the master's and certificate levels. Legal nurse consulting is the process in which experienced registered nurses aid in medical or healthcare related legal cases. Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) perform evaluations of testimony pertaining to the medical side of legal matters to aid in determining the outcome of different cases. Such cases may include medical malpractice, employment discrimination, civil rights, personal injury, risk management, life care planning, or workers' compensation. In order to qualify for a master's degree program or graduate certificate program in legal nurse consulting, the applicant must already have experience as a registered nurse.

Prospective LNCs should ensure that the online institutions they attend are regionally accredited. This ensures the quality and rigor of the online degree programs and benefits students post-graduation as they pursue their careers. There is no programmatic accreditation for these programs. In addition to attending accredited schools, some LNCs seek professional certification through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants after earning their degrees.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Legal Nurse Consulting Degrees (4)

Online Legal Nurse Consulting Degree Overview & Career Information

Aspiring legal nurse consultants will need to seek out some kind of graduate program in order to enter into the profession. An online master's degree will take two to three years to complete and is generally comprised of 36 credit hours. There are also online graduate certificate programs available. Typically an online certificate program consists of six modules and can take as few as six months to complete. 

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Online Master's in Legal Nurse Consulting

An online Master’s of Science in Nursing degree with a concentration in Legal Nurse Counseling prepares students for leadership roles in the nursing industry and provides the legal background required for LNC certification. Legal nurse consultants work with law professionals to provide expertise and insight into medical and healthcare issues. While an MSN is not required for nurses to obtain LNC certification, MSN programs offering the specialization prepare students for the certification examination and the coursework counts toward the 2,000 hours of experience required for certification.

In addition to legal nurse consulting, an online MSN degree prepares students for leadership roles in clinical settings. The degree requires 30-50 academic credits, depending on the university, and takes a full-time student approximately two to three years to complete. The online MSN with an LNC concentration requires courses that emphasize the development of leadership and integrate medical theory, practice, and scholarship, and also include in-depth study of legal issues and law practices in nursing. Requirements for online MSN programs typically include a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing and a registered nursing license. The few universities offering online MSN degrees with a concentration in Legal Nurse Consulting are private institutions.

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Online Certificates in Legal Nurse Consulting

Online certificate degree programs in legal nurse consulting are are designed for registered nurses who find interest in combining their nursing skills with the legal aspects of medicine. Participants can earn their online graduate certificate degree in as little time as six months or less by completing up to six modules of training. Key course titles include introduction to legal nurse consulting, legal theory and fundamentals, case analysis for medical malpractice, case analysis for personal injury and worker's compensation, trial preparation, and business principles.

Some online programs may also require students to participate in a practicum so they can gain real-world experience before entering the professional workforce. Program eligibility is based on the applicant's background in nursing. They must hold an active registered nurse state license and have a minimum of 2,000 hours of experience working as a nurse. Graduates will be eligible to go on to work as legal nurse consultants. 

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The Importance of an Accredited Online Legal Nurse Consultant Degree 

Accreditation is important when seeking online post-secondary education because it gives the student confidence that they are receiving an education that will prepare them for the professional workforce. Students can have this confidence due to the quality control reviews that are conducted by outside organizations. The program's curriculum, faculty, resources, testing procedures, and facilities are reviewed to make sure that each is meeting the minimum standard set by the organization. Most institutions and graduate programs will not accept transfer credit unless it has been received from another accredited program. Students who are in need of federal financial aid will also need to apply to accredited programs because federal financial aid is only available to reviewed programs. 

Legal Nurse Consultant Certification 

After completing an online legal nurse educational program an individual may wish become certified through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. This certification can be earned after one has gained 2000 hours of experience as a legal nurse consultant, as well as five years of experience as a registered nurse. Certification shows employers and clients that the individual is competent, experienced, and committed. To become a certified legal nurse, consultants can take a review course through the AALNC that will prepare them for the 200 multiple choice question exam. The exam should take around four hours to complete, and will consist reading case studies and answering questions about them. while certification is not required in order to find work as a legal nurse consultant, it can aid an individual in finding advanced job opportunities. 

Careers in Legal Nurse Consulting

After experienced registered nurses have completed an online training program, they will be able to go on to work as legal nurse consultants. Due to the depth of knowledge in nursing, medicine, and the healthcare system legal nurse consultants are able aid in legal cases involving medical problems. A typical day will consist of conducting client interviews, evaluating cases, attending medical exams, preparing demonstrative evidence for trial, and serving as a nurse expert witness. Legal nurse consultants can be hired at a number of different places including law firms, insurance companies, forensic environments, consulting firms, and private practice. It is not a requirement for legal nurse consultants to be certified, however, certification can be an advantage when looking for jobs. Professionals can gain certification through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.    

References

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