The law and medicine are two of the most important, highly competitive and profitable professional areas that exist. Sometimes, these two professions intersect, which is why many people consider becoming nurse paralegals. Nurse Paralegals are nurses who have completed paralegal training, and serve as consultants on a wide range of medical legal issues.
Working as a nurse paralegal is an enticing prospect for many nurses because it increases their career opportunities and potential earnings. However, because it is such an important position, the qualifications to become a nurse paralegal are rigorous. Before you can become a nurse paralegal, it can be useful to learn more about the career and the qualifications you will need to meet.
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What Does a Nurse Paralegal Do?
Your job responsibilities as a nurse paralegal will rest entirely on where you choose to seek employment. For example, nurse paralegals can work for hospitals, lawyers, doctor’s offices, and insurance companies — they can even work as independent legal consultants.
Nurse paralegals who work in a law office will be required to offer consultations on any case that involves a medical issue. When these cases arise, you will question the clients, possibly examine them and can give testimony in court.
If you work in a hospital, your main task will be to ensure the hospital is in compliance with the law. Nurse paralegals in doctor’s offices will facilitate operations and consult on legal issues. Finally, if you work for an insurance company, you will often be required to consult on medical claims and malpractice suits.
Training and Certification
To become a nurse paralegal, you can either be a licensed nurse who completes a paralegal certificate course or a certified paralegal who earns their nursing license. Typically, nursing paralegals are nurses who are interested in improving their earning potential and opening up their employment opportunities.
Although both nurses and paralegals have their own certifications, you will need to get an additional certification to successfully find work as a nursing paralegal. Nurse paralegal certification is provided by the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCCB). To be eligible for ALNCCB certification, you will need to possess a nursing license and then acquire 2000 hours of experience as a consulting nurse.
Although certification is not mandatory to work as a nurse paralegal, it can make it easier for you to find employment in the most attractive nursing paralegal positions. Certification proves a commitment to your profession and is taken into account by the majority of hiring managers.
If you’re strongly considering a career as a nurse paralegal, then you’re probably interested in your potential salary. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t collect data for nurse paralegals, it does gather information about the individual professions.
In 2015, the BLS reported that the average salary for paralegals was $48,810. The same BLS report indicated that the 2015 median pay for a registered nurse was $67,490.
Become a Nurse Paralegal
Becoming a nurse paralegal is one of the best ways to make yourself indispensable in two leading professions. By entering this career, you’ll have access to jobs in both medical and legal institutions, boosting your access to top jobs and improving your long-term earning potential.