A Nurse Paralegal is skilled in both the medical and legal professions and provides assistance with legal matters that involve medical issues. Every year since 2010, the nursing profession has proven to be the fastest career field growing in the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the profession is estimated to rise 26% by the year 2020.
This growth will add 712,000 jobs all across the U.S. from 2010 to 2020. While it may not come as a surprise that it is one of the popular professions to jump into, not many know that there is a wide variety of nursing jobs to choose from in the field. One of them being a nurse paralegal.
People who choose to be nurse paralegals are the ones who handle all the medically related legal work in the company or business they work for. A nurse paralegal makes sure that any medical associated legal practice stays within its boundaries to ensure equal legal rights. The nursing jobs in this career involve the nurse paralegal working as a legal assistant for companies or businesses like insurance companies, law firms, publishers of medical journals, HMOs, and even government agencies. But don’t confuse a paralegal nurse for an LCN – also called a legal nurse consultant.
Nurse Paralegal vs Legal Nurse Consultant
These two jobs are similar but have very distinct duties and protocols they each follow. An LCN is a contract-based job that ranges in particular tasks that are associated with legal-medical services. Paralegal nurse on the other hand has more experience and training that allows them to provide expert advice on legal matters that are related to health or medical issues, counsel both private and public sectors, and perform any LCN task.
People who work as paralegal nurses can find jobs within corporate legal departments, hospitals, law firms, government organizations, and other environments that need legal medical help.
What is the job description of a paralegal?
A paralegal nurse can perform many tasks that are medically related to issues or claims and evaluate it more efficiently than a general practice attorney. This is because a paralegal nurse uses her understanding of medical terminology and legal understanding to finish or solve the problem quicker.
Organizations, businesses, and companies that use the services a nurse paralegal provides usually cover a variety of industries. It can lead to assisting companies in preparing for upcoming negotiations and or discussions, presentations in a court of law or in private confidential boardrooms, researching medical records and charts, interviewing involved parties, or studying relevant legal issues and practices.
To better understand the duties and services that this nursing career performs, a list of the most common jobs and tasks has been provided below. Each section explains how a paralegal nurse is needed in the company or organization and what they do to help the place run through legal matters expertly and efficiently.
Assisting in Medical Journals
Many medical journals will use a nurse paralegal for their knowledge to help them write and edit articles that are related to health and medical topics. The nurse paralegal will aid them by identifying terminology abbreviations, and acronyms, and help write summaries for each report or article that are free of any conflicting language or ideas. Medical journals need clear and concise neutral views on each article that will be published and a paralegal nurse can provide just that in legal matters that are related to health and medical issues.
Evaluating Documents for Insurance Agencies
If there are cases involving medical malpractice that includes an insurance agency dispute with the client, a nurse paralegal is hired. As they are a key role in helping either the insurance agency or the client win, their services are needed. The input that she provides is considered as an expert witness testimony. A nurse paralegal in this department will usually give a professional opinion on any medical documents, reports, or files that are associated with the malpractice claims. They will also intensively evaluate medical data that the insurance agency provides to come up with an analysis that will eventually be used for or against the client.
Aiding Law Firms with Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice lawsuits have become common in today’s society. A patient who ended up with a health issue due to a doctor’s lack of assessment during the treatment can lead to the patient filing a lawsuit. During the court hearing, both lawyers from the patient and the doctor argue their case relating to the medical malpractice lawsuit. At this time medical and legal terminology becomes heavily used in court and to better understand and explain to both plaintiff and defendant a paralegal nurse will be hired.
The paralegal nurse hired will work with the attorneys involved in the lawsuit and assist them with any legal matters that relate to the medical or health issues. They will prepare a report of the medical research that is required for the case, organize the corresponding documents, evaluate patient medical records, and interview witnesses, patients, and anyone else that is part of the case. The paralegal nurse will only aid the attorneys in the medical aspect of the lawsuit, anything else that is unrelated to that topic is left for the patient, doctor, and attorneys to work out.
Giving Services to Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
HMOs are a type of health insurance plan that provides medical care through a variety of doctors and hospitals within their network. Organizations like this hire nurse paralegals for several reasons. One they hire them to solve patient and physician disputes over contract issues and help them revise the agreement.
If the paralegal nurse gets put in the Staff Model Department, then they must hear and provide care to patients with medical complaints before deciding on whether that patient needs to be hospitalized or to see a specialist. Another reason HMOs hire nurse paralegals is that they can take over and deal with general medical complaints instead of a physician looking over the patient as this keeps costs down for both the organization and the patient.
Provide Legal Advice to Hospital Residents
Residents – main house staff of a hospital – who are faced with legal trials or who have been traumatized hire nurse paralegals for their evaluation and interview services. The interview consists of the paralegal nurse and the resident to create a plan that the resident will follow so that he or she can deal with any legal complaints relating to health care issues and resolve them in an efficient manner. In conclusion the interview, the paralegal nurse will teach and help each resident understand their rights in their particular field and how to defend themselves against medically associated legal matters.
Job Outlook for Nurse Paralegals
The employment opportunities for nurse paralegals have been rising, as stated by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 2010 and is expected to expand even more in the next six years.
A nurse paralegal can easily find jobs in places like hospitals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and many more places that deal with medical-legal matters. They help by explaining medical documents or reports in general terms to clients who do not understand its complex terminology. They provide valuable service to any legal team they work for.
A paralegal nurse is also someone who is proficient in both law and medicine and is expected to remain neutral when aiding companies with negotiations or with attorneys during a medical court case. The nursing jobs for a paralegal nurse can range from working at HMOs, government facilities, law firms, and insurance agencies.
Nurse Paralegal Job Requirements
Qualifications for this profession require a registered nurse degree along with a nurse paralegal certificate to be able to work for the jobs mentioned above. With quality experience and a higher degree, a nurse paralegal job can provide a rewarding salary, open doors to many medical-legal job opportunities, and aid many clients in the specified area.
For more information on getting a nurse paralegal certificate and to better understand the work requirements for this career, check out the resource links below.