As a nurse, you’re an expert in medical terminology and understanding diagnoses. While you might have pictured your skills keeping you bedside, there are other fields that could use your knowledge and expertise. Legal medical consultants are often used by lawyers to help in malpractice cases. If you’re interested in overlapping your career with the legal field and becoming a medical malpractice expert, here are a few things you should know.
What Is a Medical Legal Consultant?
During a medical malpractice suit, there’s bound to be a plethora of medical terminology. Many professionals, including judges and lawyers, don’t understand the jargon and terms used to diagnose or treat patients. Because of this, a translator is needed who understands the medical side of things. A medical legal consultant is a professional nurse who is also qualified to work as a legal consultant. Many medical legal consultants are currently employed as nurses or worked as a nurse in the past.
This medical/legal crossover position is relatively new. Created during the 1980s, these valuable individuals are used to bridge the gap between legal professionals and field of medicine during a malpractice suit. While they may have received their education in the nursing field, they have also been trained in relevant legal matters.
What Does a Medical Legal Consultant Do?
Medical legal consultants are useful in many different capacities. Typically, they join forces with law professionals to help complete services throughout a trial. They may help to decipher the medical terminology used in torts, insurance fraud, and personal injury cases.
The main responsibility of a medical legal consultant is to gather and study information that’s pertinent to a medical case. These often include medical records and statements. The consultant may be responsible for reviewing medical records and comparing them to specific allegations made by one of the parties involved in the lawsuit. These consultants can also determine whether or not medical charts display signs of tampering or malpractice.
In some cases, medical legal consultants may also be in charge of locating and interviewing witnesses for cases. Along with finding witnesses, medical legal consultants may act as expert witnesses themselves.
Where Do Medical Legal Consultants Work?
There are numerous places for medical legal consultants to find employment. Hospitals, clinics, long-term patient care centers, and health insurance companies all hire medical legal consultants to assist them through legal matters. Law firms and forensics departments can also benefit from retaining the services of these medical consultants.
How to Become a Medical Legal Consultant
Most medical legal consultants first become registered nurses. This degree usually comes from a nursing school or university. Once they’ve achieved a license, it’s beneficial to have a few years of working experience before becoming a legal consultant. There are also various certification courses available to help nurses get the qualifications needed to become a medical legal consultant. Many of these courses require a certain number of working hours before you’re able to take the courses.
There’s a great need for medical legal consultants in many different fields. Whether you’re already an RN or just starting school, setting your sights on medical legal consulting is an aspiration that will pay off in the long run.