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LNCtips.com: Nurse Paralegal Versus LNC

When is a paralegal not a paralegal? As a new legal nurse consultant, you might shy away from applying for nurse paralegal positions because you're not a paralegal. You might not feel qualified for these positions or the terminology may alienate you. After all, you're an LNC, not a nurse paralegal. However, you might be missing some great job opportunities. Here's a simple way to determine if a nurse paralegal job has anything to do with paralegals and everything to do with LNCs.

As you know, paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney. Most have a degree or certificate in paralegal studies from a program approved by the American Bar Association. Paralegal responsibilities include such things as conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, and assisting with pleadings and discovery.

These aren't typical job requirements for LNC positions. However, in the minds of many attorneys, a paralegal is someone who helps them with certain aspects of their work. Thus, to them, a nurse paralegal is a nurse who helps them with their work. Having paralegal qualifications doesn't enter into the equation. Of course, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) doesn't believe that LNCs are another category of paralegals. I agree with AALNC, but I also understand why attorneys use the Nurse Paralegal title.

To complicate matters, some nurse paralegals ARE required to perform paralegal responsibilities. How do you know if a nurse paralegal position might be appropriate for you? The simplest way is to review the ad and/or job description for the position. For example, a typical paralegal ad looks like this ad that I took from CareerBuilder. (The grammar problems in the second sentence are the ad's, not mine!)

Paralegal Ad

Compare those responsibilities to the ones below in a Nurse Paralegal ad that I copied from Craig's List:

Nurse Paralegal Ad

In the ad above, the job title is RN/Paralegal but the job responsibilities have nothing to do with a paralegal's duties. Therefore, even though the title is RN/Paralegal (another term for Nurse Paralegal), the responsibilities are appropriate for a legal nurse consultant.

Don't let the title of a position hold you back from looking for great LNC jobs. By reviewing the content of job descriptions and positions posted in ads, you can discern if the position is appropriate for an LNC.

Want to learn more about LNC skills for legal nurse consultants? Check out the Archives.

...Katy Jones