Q: Dear Donna,
Is it true that legal nurse consultants don’t have to be certified? If no certification is necessary, how do nurses with no experience in LNC business become expert witnesses?
Interested in Being an Expert Witness
A: Dear Interested in Being an Expert Witness,
It is true that nurses do not need to be certified to be a legal nurse consultant or an expert witness. It is your nursing knowledge and experience that is valuable and marketable in this specialty.
The best way to learn more about this specialty and to find resources to get started, including a self-assessment tool to see if LNC is right for you, is to connect with the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. There’s lots of information on their website, but also attend local chapter meetings of AALNC, as a guest for now. Do some informational interviewing with members and officers. When there’s something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it.
It is important to know that being an LNC is different than being an expert witness. Some nurses do both, but many only do one or the other. LNCs do consulting work including chart review, report writing and research in the legal arena. Expert witnesses typically testify in court and usually have a specialized background in a particular area of nursing, including related credentials. Here is a Nurse.com article, “UCLA psych nurse turns expert witness, offers advice to RN entreprenuers,” about one nurse who has made a career of being an expert witness.