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About This Course

“The use of nurses as expert witnesses has evolved since the late 1970’s and early 1980s. Before then, physicians served as nursing’s voice and testified at court regarding the role and accountability of professional nurses.” (Guido, 1997) A nurse is the only professional with the knowledge, competency, credential, and right to judge whether the appropriate standard of nursing care has been delivered. As nurses stepped forth to assume this role in the medical legal system, the system adjusted to incorporate them and actively solicit qualified nursing assistance.

Unfortunately, the healthcare system has experienced an increase in the number of lawsuits. And nurses have stepped forth to expand their professional role within the legal system to educate attorneys, judges, and juries. Nurses are consulting into an expanding area of medical legal concerns such as personal injury, worker’s compensation, product liability, criminal custody cases, risk management, life-care planning, case management, healthcare licensing board issues, insurance industry, as well as expert witness. While many nurses work in law offices, and the insurance industries, nurses are also adopting an entrepreneurial spirit and starting their own businesses.

This exciting program prepares Registered Nurses and Physician’s Assistants for a career in the legal field as legal nurse consultants. Building on the medical education and clinical experience of RNs and PAs, this course provides the RN and PA with fundamental skills necessary to advise law firms, health care providers, insurance companies, and governmental agencies regarding medically-related issues and to appear in court as expert witnesses. The curriculum of this course is designed to comply with the educational guidelines specified by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. Successful graduates will be awarded a Certificate of Course Completion from the university through which they are registered.

This six week, 45 hour course will provide a comprehensive analysis of the principles and practices of legal nurse consulting (LNC), with an emphasis on law and expert witness testimony. The course content will also provide a systematic review for those preparing to take the Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) examination. While most of the main subject matter will pertain to legal nursing standards, professionals in other health care disciplines (pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistants, etc.) may gain increased skills and knowledge of the medical legal system to enhance their roles as service providers and functions as expert witnesses, but participants without an RN background might not be able to take the LNCC exam after graduation. For more information about the LNCC exam, please contact the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants at 877-402-2562.

Course Objectives:

  • Define the role of a legal nurse consultant and explain history and evolution of the profession.
  • Describe 2 major systems of law, the 3 types of law, and the 4 sources of law.
  • Review the law of Intentional and Unintentional Torts.
  • Identify liability concerns of healthcare providers.
  • Analyze the role of the LNC before the trial begins.
  • Review the methods of obtaining medical records and other evidence that is governed by the Rules of Evidence.
  • Identify and review the legal documents used to obtain evidence.
  • Explain informed consent, treatments decisions, and review the liability concerns of health care providers in each.
  • Discuss criminal law and complex litigation scenarios.
  • Discuss the history of the Specialty of Legal Nurse Consulting.
  • Discuss the skills needed for entry into special practice.
  • Professionalism and Ethics: discuss the standards of practice and performance expected of an LNC.
  • Identify the 5 responsibilities of a LNC in the litigation process.
  • Examine the role of the LNC in evaluating Toxic Tort and Criminal Cases.
  • The damages stage of litigation: Identify the 4 types of damages available and discuss the factors that determine their application to the case.
  • Recall the evaluation steps taken by the LNC in a professional negligence case.
  • Identify and discuss the 3 different forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • Discuss the LNC’s role in the Law Firm.
  • Discuss the issues presented to LNCs in the insurance industry.
  • Discuss the issues presented to LNCs in private practice areas.
  • Discuss the issues presented to LNCs in Government Service.
  • Discuss the issues presented to LNCs in Risk Management.
  • Medical record analysis: discuss the protocol LNCs should follow when receiving medical records.
  • Legal Writing: Review the writing techniques that will captivate your target audience.
  • Discuss the literature research process and the methods of research.
  • Discuss the advantages and challenges of working as an independent LNC.

Expectations

This is an accelerated course. You will be expected to spend an average of about 10 hours per week reading and completing assignments. Please note that extensions will not be granted for this online course. This course is the equivalent of 45 clock hours of study. 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course.

Course Goals Include

  • Increase knowledge of legal terminology, medical malpractice, and the evolving legal system.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge of professional skills necessary to enhance one’s medical legal consulting role.
  • Identify new arenas for expanding one’s interests and skills for professional mobility and growth.
  • Consider and contrast working as a full-time, part-time, or freelance legal nurse consultant.

Course Books

Required textbooks for this course:

  • Legal Nurse Consulting: Principles and Practices, 3rd edition (2 volume set), edited by Ann M. Peterson and Lynda Kopishke (2010). New York: CRC Press. (Volume 1 will be referred to as LNCPrinciples and Volume 2 will be referred to as LNCPractices throughout the course).
    • Volume 1: Legal Nurse Consulting Principles
    • Volume 2: Legal Nurse Consulting Practices

To order, call The Center for Legal Studies at 1-888-930-4047, or Click Here to order online.

3rd Edition Reading Assignments:

Lesson One: Introduction to Law and LNC

  • Read Lesson Material on Course Website
  • Read Chapters 1 & 6 and pages 38-43 in LNCPrinciples

Lesson Two: Ethics, Standards of Care and the Profession of Legal Nurse Consulting

  • Read Lesson Material on Course Website
  • Read pages 43-81 and Chapter 3 in LNCPrinciples

Lesson Three: Medical Malpractice, Licensure, Case Analysis & Legal Practice Areas

  • Read Lesson Material on Course Website
  • Read Chapters 4, 17, 18, 20, & 21 in LNCPrinciples
  • Read Chapter 7 in LNCPractices

Lesson Four: Criminal Law, Complex Litigation, Medical Records and Informed Consent

  • Read Lesson Material on Course Website
  • Read Chapters 5, 7, 8, 12, 22, & 23 in LNCPrinciples
  • Read Chapter 9 in LNCPractices

Lesson Five: The Role of the LNC in the Litigation Process

  • Read Lesson Material on Course Website
  • Read Chapters 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 & 19 in LNCPrinciples
  • Read Chapter 19 in LNCPractices

Lesson Six: Other Roles and Work Environments for the LNC

  • Read Lesson Material on Course Website
  • Read Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, & 13 in LNCPractices

Tests:

For each lesson you will submit a 100-point test covering the topics in that lesson’s reading. These tests are due before Midnight each Saturday.

Bulletin Board Assignments:

For each lesson you will also submit your responses to a reflection assignment. These assignments are referred to as Bulletin Board Submissions and will be submitted by either selecting Bulletin Board Submission from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Forums’ under Activities on the Left Hand Block.

All weekly objectives, assignments, and tests can be found in the Lesson Materials.

Additional resources are available by accessing the URL Library tool.

Grading

Your grade will be based on your completion of six tests and six Bulletin Board Submissions. The tests can be accessed from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Assignments’ under Activities on the Left Hand Block. Throughout the course, you will use the Bulletin Board tool to respond to reflection assignments which will enhance your understanding of the reading material.

Your final grade will be figured as follows:

  • The six tests are 100 points each and comprise 70% of your grade.
  • The six bulletin board assignments are 10 points each and comprise 30% of your grade.
  • NOTE: Students must receive a 70% or better on every assignment to receive a certificate.

Withdrawal Policy

Students may drop the course with a full tuition refund less a non-refundable $15 administrative fee if written notice is sent to The Center for Legal Studies by email at info@legalstudies.com by the Wednesday before class begins. Students may drop the course with a 50% tuition refund if written notice is sent to The Center for Legal Studies by email at info@legalstudies.com anytime from the Thursday before the course begins until the first Thursday of class. After the first Thursday of class, no refunds will be issued.