A review of medical records by a practicing nurse can be of great help when a potential client asks for assistance in pursuing medical malpractice claims. The legal nurse consultant has experience in both medical and legal knowledge. Using the knowledge gained from practicing in the hospital setting to assist the attorney in understanding the standard of care is critical in evaluating a case. There are several organizations which offer certification in this field, namely the Vickie Milazzo Institute or the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.
Medical malpractice claims are not the only area where a registered nurse can be of assistance to the attorney. The pursuit of relief for the personal injury client can also be a confusing terrain for the attorney when mounds of medical records that are produced from treatment arrive. The need for understanding of medical terms, procedures and standard of care is necessary in assessing the treatment received by the client. The registered nurse can assist in traversing this terrain and providing a chronology of treatment, reports of the treatment in layman’s terms, research relating to the treatments provided or symptoms exhibited by the client / patient, etc.
In addition, having prior knowledge of how attorneys think has been useful to me when preparing a case for presentation. If a registered nurse who has never worked in the legal field wishes to enter the field of legal nurse consulting, taking classes in legal studies may be a good way to start. I am very fortunate to have worked in the legal field for the past 20 years. Many of those years have been with Paul Ford. Therefore, a work relationship was established long before I obtained my nursing license. My practice enables me to read records as a nurse and that working relationship enables me to read them as a paralegal. I don’t make decisions about what cases are pursued, but give my feelings regarding the potential case. Thus, the legal nurse consultant saves the attorney time, which is a luxury to the busy practitioner.