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Paralegal Nurses, a Unique Career Profile
by Brendon Buthello
The Paralegal Nurse Profile
Paralegal nurses, also called legal nurse consultants, usually participate in health-related cases which involve illness, injury, or even death. Paralegal nurses do not delve into other domains like property cases or other fields of law which are not related to specific health issues.
A paralegal nurse practices nursing with a drastic change in practice area. They are not legal experts and are also not expected to be such. Many registered nurses who prefer an adventurous field opt for being a paralegal nurse and utilize most of the RN's core strengths in the legal field. Sometimes the paralegal nurses randomly interview residents and families who are stricken with trauma and facing legal woes simultaneously. They teach them how to fight for themselves and make them aware of their rights. They formulate a plan to advocate them. They might have to respond to legal complaints from anyone if related to healthcare issues. They may also have to support their bosses in some of the cases.
Though the earnings are lesser and career advancement is challenging enough, their pay is much higher than that of legal assistants. Nursing or healthcare experience is critical for personal injury law practices.
There are no set requirements for being a paralegal nurse because they do not have regular job profiles. Usually a paralegal nurse is expected to be well informed in the medical field along with having a sound understanding of medical laws. A graduate degree in the healthcare field, especially a Registered Nurse (RN) qualification, is helpful, along with some previous experience in the legal field, in gaining the post. This mostly depends on the firm or company where they are working.
They can pursue a two-year degree or four-year degree for a certificate of being a paralegal nurse. This paralegal portion introduces them to different legal avenues which are directly or indirectly related to the medical field. Certification by non-profit professional organizations is not required for employment.
Paralegal nurses are not expected to use their nursing knowledge in the hospital. They work anywhere as medical experts as needed, like for HMOs, law firms, government facilities, and insurance agencies. They are required to have a great eye for medical ailments, diagnosis, and being familiar with medical laws related to the case at the same time.
Companies want paralegal nurses who have adequate experience in their field so that they can assess a case report or casualty and diagnose the malady for legal causes. At least three years’ experience in the medical field is needed along with some prior experience about legal matters related to healthcare.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal nurses will be very much in demand as in general employment prospects for paralegals are expected to grow about 22 percent over the years 2006–2014. This is much faster than the average for all occupations put together. Candidates for employment who have better and higher paralegal degrees and certifications will have a greater chance of success.
It is said in various quarters that there are no specific ceilings for this profession. In the US, the median annual salary for a normal paralegal is said to be $47,600. Paralegal nurses are virtually paid more than a low-paid paralegal lawyer who is paid in the range of $23,000–$28,000. However, a calculating and alert paralegal nurse can work simultaneously as a legal consultant and a nursing consultant and rake in more. It all depends from person to person. Some might even earn over $90,000 after many years of experience in both the fields.
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