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"The use of nurses as expert witnesses has evolved since the late 1970s and early 1980s. Before then, physicians served as nursing's voice and testified at court regarding the role and accountability of professional nurses" (Guido, 1997). A nurse is the only professional with the knowledge, competency, credential, and right to judge whether the appropriate standard of nursing care has been delivered. As nurses stepped forth to assume this role in the medical legal system, the system adjusted to incorporate them and actively solicit qualified nursing assistance.
Unfortunately, the healthcare system has experienced an increase in the number of lawsuits. Nurses have stepped forth to expand their professional role within the legal system to educate attorneys, judges, and juries. Nurses are consulting into an expanding area of medical legal concerns such as personal injury, worker's compensation, product liability, criminal custody cases, risk management, life-care planning, case management, healthcare licensing board issues, insurance industry, as well as expert witness. While many nurses work in law offices, and the insurance industries, nurses are also adopting an entrepreneurial spirit and starting their own businesses.
This exciting program prepares registered nurses and physician's assistants for a career in the legal field as legal nurse consultants. Building on the medical education and clinical experience of RNs and PAs, this course will provide you with fundamental skills necessary to advise law firms, health care providers, insurance companies, and governmental agencies regarding medically-related issues and to appear in court as an expert witness. The curriculum is designed to comply with the educational guidelines specified by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.
Why You Should Attend
This six-week, 45-hour course will provide a comprehensive analysis of the principles and practices of legal nurse consulting (LNC), with an emphasis on law and expert witness testimony. The course content will also provide a systematic review for those preparing to take the Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) examination. While most of the main subject matter will pertain to legal nursing standards, professionals in other health care disciplines (pharmacy, physical therapy, physician's assistants, etc.) may gain increased skills and knowledge of the medical legal system to enhance their roles as service providers and functions as expert witnesses, but participants without an RN background might not be able to take the LNCC exam after graduation. For more information about the LNCC exam, please contact the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants at 877.402.2562 or www.aalnc.org.
Attend and You Will Receive
Successful graduates will be awarded a Certificate of Course Completion from NC State University.
Attend and You Will Learn / Expected Outcome
- Increased knowledge of legal terminology, medical malpractice, and the evolving legal system
- The ability to demonstrate the knowledge of professional skills necessary to enhance one's medical legal consulting role
- Identification of new arenas for expanding one's interests and skills for professional mobility and growth
- The ability to consider and contrast working as a full-time, part-time, or freelance legal nurse consultant
Notes / Additional Information
You will be expected to spend an average of eight hours per week reading and completing writing assignments. Please note that, barring extenuating circumstances, extensions will not be granted for this online course. The minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course is 70%. You may consider working ahead in the curriculum if you have the time. Course work in Legal Nurse Consultant Training is equivalent to 45 contact hours.
Your grade will be based on your completion of six tests and class participation/bulletin board submissions. The tests can be accessed from within the lesson material or by selecting "Assignments" under "Activities". You will have the opportunity to engage in "class participation" by using the bulletin board tool to respond to the bulletin board assignments throughout the course. Participation in the bulletin board assignments will enhance your understanding of the reading material.
Your final grade will be calculated as follows:
- The six tests are 100 points each and comprise 70% of your grade
- Your participation in class participation assignments comprises 30% of your grade
You must receive a 70% or better on every assignment to receive a certificate.
For each lesson you will submit a 100-point exam covering the topics in that lesson's reading. These exams are due by 9:00 a.m. each Friday.
Bulletin Board Assignments
You will post your responses to six class participation assignments. These assignments are referred to as bulletin board submissions and will be submitted by either selecting "Bulletin Board Submission" from within the lesson material or by selecting "Forums" under "Activities".