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10 Qualities of a Successful Legal Nurse Consultant

10 Qualities of a Successful Legal Nurse Consultant

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legal nruse consultants, LNCs, successful legal nurse consultants, looking for a legal nurse consultantLots of nurses are aware of legal nurse consulting. Many have taken a course to prepare for this field. Few are successful. Here are some tips for identifying a legal nurse consultant who will be able to effectively assist you with your cases.

  1. Look for a nurse with a current nursing license as a registered nurse. Licensed practical nurses are not considered to have the requisite educational background to provide consulting services in this role.
  2. Ask the legal nurse consultant if she has at least 5 years of clinical experience. The longer a nurse has been clinically active, the more knowledge and experience the nurse will bring to the evaluation of the attorney’s cases. Each year of clinical service results in a vast wealth of knowledge.
  3. Certification as a legal nurse consultant is definitely a plus. The LNCC (Legal Nurse Consultant Certified) is the only certification program that requires the legal nurse consultant to have extensive experience in order to sit for the certification exam. This is similar to the trial lawyers certification.
  4. Ask the legal nurse consultant if she has undergone some type of preparation. Routes into the field of legal nurse consulting vary. Some people learn best by reading the core curriculum, Legal Nurse Consulting Principles, and Practices. Others learn from online courses, webinars, college, multi-day or weekend courses.
  5. Look for someone with strong written and oral communication skills. Good communication skills are important when working with the attorney, communicating with the client, or talking with the various physicians, nurses, scientific or healthcare provider experts, and defendants. Your legal nurse consultant should be able to teach you the scientific and medical information you can use to review, litigate, settle, or defend a case. It is imperative that the legal nurse consultant is able to put complex, confusing information into words easily understood by the layperson.
  6. Look for a legal nurse consultant who is organized and analytical. The ability to take complex information and organize it in a logical fashion is one of the most important skills this person brings to the legal arena. The LNC’s organizational skills assist you by sorting through and organizing medical records, developing case strategies, suggesting which expert witnesses to retain in what order, and managing the volume of paper generated by a lawsuit.
  7. Look for a person who is resourceful. The LNC is called upon to ferret out medical information, develop exhibits, and suggest case strategies.
  8. The LNC should be easy to work with. Rarely can nurses choose to not care for a difficult patient. They may develop a plan of care to deal with the angry, manipulative, or withdrawn patient. Attorneys experiencing the pressures of practicing law, taking depositions, or preparing for trial or settlement conferences can experience stress that manifests itself in a variety of ways. The LNC is often a helpful support person in these circumstances. She or he has to be able to work with a range of personalities, some of whom are challenging, and some who flare under tight deadlines and stress. Not every nurse has the ability to be a LNC. The special communication skills, detective-like thinking, detail-oriented behavior, and ability to teach and research are not universally present in all nurses.
  9. The LNC should have strong research skills. Strong Internet search skills are a must including those needed for medical literature searches, obtaining hard copies of journal articles and medical textbooks, locating current contact information for medical providers and doing background checks of defendant physicians and opposing counsel’s experts.\
  10. Look for someone who is persistent. It takes effort, the ability to deal with rejection, and resourcefulness to launch and sustain an LNC practice. It takes persistence to plow through voluminous medical records, to find the details that are important for a case. It takes persistence to manage an office practice, to obtain and satisfy clients.

Modified from, Nursing Malpractice, 4th edition, 2011.

Med League provides medical expert witnesses to trial lawyers. Please call us at (908)788-8227 or contact us today to discuss your next case.

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