Shadowing a DoctorSeptember 3, 2014
If you love nursing and the law in equal measure, a legal nurse consultant is the perfect career to aspire to. Knowing that you’ve played a key role in resolving complex legal cases can be immensely rewarding.
This could mean helping out with contentious legal cases so lawyers who are looking to hire legal nurse consultants to assist them are extremely careful about whom they take on. Anyone with less than stellar credentials could jeopardise their practice and they would take all necessary precautions in order to protect their own reputation. To increase your chances of being hired, there are a few things you need to consider, both in terms of hard skills as well as soft skills.
Do you have a minimum five years of clinical experience?
The reasoning behind this is simple – the longer you have been clinically active, the more knowledge and experience you are likely to have, which can be a huge asset when evaluating medico-legal cases. Most lawyers prefer to hire someone with vast knowledge and experience so that they can shed light on certain specialised issues such as diagnoses, surgeries and standards of care, amongst others.
Experience in one specialty V/S multiple specialties
Most attorneys would be interested in hiring a nurse who has a lot of experience in the area that they do a lot of work in. For example, a lawyer who takes on a lot of spine injury cases would feel more confident about hiring someone who has had ample experience dealing with traumatic spine injuries and would be an authority in this medical specialty.
On the other hand, an attorney who deals with a broader area such as ‘personal injury’, which encompasses several different types of injuries, would prefer to hire a nurse with a more diverse work experience.
Which category would you fit into? Make sure you do your homework and market yourself accordingly. Reach out to those lawyers who need the particular nursing experience that you have and highlight why your particular background would be beneficial to their practice.
Do you have an active registered nursing licence?
The worst thing would be to get hired as a legal nurse consultant only to have to decline the offer because your nursing licence has expired. Make sure that your licence is active and ready whenever you are.
Certification as a legal nurse consultant has its advantages
Certification is not mandatory for legal nurse consultants but having one will always give you the edge over other applicants who do not have it. The best way to obtain certification is by completing a legal nurse certification program to gain experience and then taking the certification exam. These kinds of programs will give you a basic understanding of various legal issues. Most importantly, they will teach you how to bridge the gap between law and nursing.