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How To Become A Nurse Consultant
Nurse consultants work in a variety of healthcare settings and roles. They provide assistance to attorneys, law firms, and clinical practices and can work both as salaried employees and self-employed nurses.
There are several types of nurse consultants and, in this guide, we'll discuss all of them while showing you how to become one.
Can You Be Consultant As A Nurse?
The ultimate goal of a nurse consultant is to provide consultation services relating to the healthcare field. They can do this from several different perspectives. Your exact role will determine where you work, what you do, and who you assist on a daily basis.
What Does a Legal Nurse Consultant Do?
As a legal nurse consultant, you will play an important role in legal cases. It's your job to advise attorneys, assist businesses, and help with cases involving malpractice, medical issues, and the healthcare field in general.
A legal nurse consultant is often tasked with checking medical records, acting as liaisons between health care professionals and lawyers, and determining the nature and severity of a patient's injuries. They work on a multitude of cases but more often than not, they are called upon to work on medical malpractice lawsuits.
If you have a passion for law but also want a job that will let you flex your healthcare muscles, consider becoming a legal nurse consultant.
What Does a Clinical Nurse Consultant Do?
Clinical nurse consultants deal with healthcare delivery systems and patients. They work to improve standards of practice and ensure that patient outcomes are improved across the organization.
What Does an Operations Nurse Consultant Do?
Operational nurse consultants work on a more administrative level, covering aspects such as organizational finances and human resources. They concern themselves with the operational activities and efficiency of an organization.
How Do I Become A Nurse Consultant?
The type of nurse consultant you want to become will determine what steps you need to take.
In general, the first thing you must do is complete an undergraduate nursing degree with an accredited college. You can begin your career with an associate degree program (ADN), but are better off with a bachelor's degree (BSN). The latter will prepare you for more complex challenges and ensure you're better suited for the role.
More importantly, many employers now insist on their nurses having at least a bachelor's degree.
After graduating, apply for National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to get your nursing license.
The exam takes about 5 hours in total and there are two optional breaks. It will test your critical thinking skills and is a computer-adaptive exam, so you'll finish sooner if you get more questions right.
Upon completion, you'll officially become a registered nurse (RN) and doors will start opening for you in the nursing profession.
To ensure you are at the very top of your game, and you're able to work with the best law firms and/or healthcare organizations, you'll need a master's degree. This means acquiring some experience as an RN, applying for a suitable program, and spending more time on a nursing program, but a master's degree will make you stand out to all prospective employers.
The United States is in the middle of a nursing shortage right now, but there is still a lot of competition. Acquiring more knowledge, skills, and experience will prepare you for anything that legal nurse consulting can throw at you and help to secure a bigger paycheck with a better employer.
Who Can I Work for as a Nurse Consultant?
If you have qualified as a registered nurse, you can find consulting positions with an array of companies.
Some of the most lucrative positions are in the legal sector. A legal nurse consultant could be hired to review medical records and assist with medical-legal cases, helping to secure or prevent large settlements.
Legal nurse consultants work in the insurance sector, as well. They are hired as case managers to deal with everything from minor personal injury claims to life insurance settlements and accident claims.
Some nurse consultants work for government agencies while others assist businesses with their consultation needs.
The great thing about nurse consulting is that you don't need to limit yourself to healthcare settings. You can work anywhere that medical advice is required. And if you don't like the work that you do for a particular law firm, just find employment in another sector!
Can You Be Consultant As A Nurse?
If you're a registered nurse then you can offer your services as a consultant. Many legal nurse consultants and clinical nurse consultants are self-employed. They are hired on a case-by-case basis and help with everything from major medical malpractice lawsuits to improving efficiency in a healthcare facility.
How Much Does A Nurse Consultant Make?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't record salary data for nurse consultants. However, it notes that the average annual salary for registered nurses is a little over $80,000 while some RNs are able to earn over $116,000.
Legal nurse consulting could be even more lucrative if you are self-employed and have experience working on medical malpractice cases. It all depends on where you're working, who you're working for, and what kind of cases you're assisting with.
Summary: Becoming a Nurse Consultant
Nurse consultants are just as knowledgeable and skilled as other healthcare professionals. They know how to help patients, deal with families, perform minor procedures, and keep patients safe and comfortable.
But they are also advisors, and that means they need to have good communication skills and should be objective-focused. In healthcare settings, the objectives are always based on patient outcomes. It's about keeping them as comfortable, safe, and healthy as possible. As a nurse consultant, you're still thinking about patient outcomes, but the role is often more indirect.
It's a unique profession and with experience, knowledge, skill, and the right connections, it can be very lucrative, as well.
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