A nurse attorney practices law on behalf of healthcare providers who specializes in representing nurses facing disciplinary actions or seeking to avoid them. A proper consultation with a nurse attorney by your side can help you understand your rights as a nurse and how to protect them, as well as what kind of actions could lead to legal action against you. Medical professionals that opt for a law degree as well as a nursing degree, have a better understanding of the healthcare system, its ins and out, and therefore are qualified to properly represent healthcare providers.
Everything about nurse attorneys and their qualifications
Becoming a nurse attorney is not an easy process. Some nurse attorneys obtain both nursing and law degrees. A nurse attorney can hold both an LVN/RN license and a law license to practice as a nurse lawyer. Aside from that, some nurse attorneys choose to obtain specific certifications that will allow them to focus on a select population or area of healthcare.
One pathway to becoming a nurse attorney: law school and nursing degree
If a nurse attorney choses to have both an LVN/RN and a law degree, firstly, a bachelor’s degree in nursing is required, after which the successful completion of the NCLEX-LVN/RN must be accredited for licensure. After completing both of those steps, most nurses seek to work and gain experience in the healthcare field before looking into law schools. To enter the practice of healthcare law you will need to present the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) to attend law school.
The Law School Admission Test Basic Requirements
● A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
● Successful completion of the LSAT
● A personal statement
● Letters of recommendation
● Completion of the application
Nurse License Standards and Renewals
Licensure standards differ by state, as do renewal requirements. Continuing education or a set amount of practice hours may be required to renew. The state licensing bodies issue the nursing license legal regulations practitioners should consider.
Where can a nurse attorney work?
The benefit of being a healthcare professional and having a law degree is that nurse attorneys work in legal settings such as law firms or healthcare settings like clinics or hospitals. Having clinical experience can be particularly helpful when navigating both settings. On the legal front, nurse attorneys understand how to review medical records and analyze personal injury and insurance claims, which opens doors to new opportunities.
A nurse attorney can also go into private practices as a consultant or dive into the academic side of it and write publications that focus on healthcare law and litigation. While becoming a nurse attorney is not simple, it is worth it. While there are no specific labor statistics regarding nurse attorneys’ salaries, the average annual salary for a lawyer in 2020 was $148,910USD, and the average annual salary for a registered nurse is $82,750, in 2022.
Why you should hire a nurse attorney if you are a nurse
When facing disciplinary actions or a lawsuit that can threaten your RN licensure, it’s important to hire a team experienced in a full range of legal proceedings. Being a nurse is already a stressful job, malpractice cases can take a toll on your career, which is why healthcare professionals who practice law on your behalf are crucial to successfully resolving any legal issues.
The importance of a nurse attorney
Nurse attorneys provide services to meet the needs of nurses in their professional practice. A nurse attorney is the best option for representing healthcare professionals, because of their clear understanding of what it’s like to be on both sides of the issue. The healthcare industry can be tricky to navigate on your own, and nursing programs don’t usually prepare you for it either. Healthcare policies can be different in each state, and the legal field can get intricate as you move in it. It can be difficult to navigate all the legal processes, which is why registered nurses will seek nurse attorneys to help them do so when facing a legal situation.
Nurse attorneys for healthcare providers
When faced with a legal issue that involves your ability to practice nursing, there is no one better equipped to represent you than another health care provider. Nurse attorneys understand the ins and outs of the legal system, and they know how to navigate it so that you can focus on what matters most—your practice.
Common allegations nurses face
When a nurse commits unprofessional conduct, they can be disciplined by their respective state board and possibly have their license revoked. Nurses often face issues related to:
● Employment contracts regarding healthcare facilities
● Medical malpractice
● Misconduct claims
● Hour disputes
● Professional liability claims (which include sexual assault or harassment)
Legal representation for nurses
Nurse attorneys understand the nursing profession and are prepared to defend you against allegations of negligence, fraud, or abuse. Many nurses are wrongfully accused of misconduct, which puts their licenses at risk, and need legal representation. The Attorney General’s office has recently issued an alert about the increasing number of cases involving nurses who were wrongly accused of negligence or misconduct.
Many times, these accusations stem from misunderstandings between patients or family members who may not be familiar with the proper procedures for reporting complaints within a hospital setting. It is not surprising that at-home nurses are the most frequently sued nurses amongst specialties. The right nurse attorney will offer personalized service and quality representation while developing a strategy tailored to the individual needs of the case.
Are you looking for a legal team who understands the unique challenges of the nursing profession?
At Nurse Defense Firm PLLC, we provide comprehensive legal services for nurses at every stage of their careers. Passion and dedication to you and your case are combined with knowledge and expertise. At Nurse Defense Firm, PLLC, you will feel and know that you are more than just another customer; we advocate for your good future and career advancement.