CSOA's LNC Network

Pat-Iyer85x1101Research by Pat Iyer has provided some surprising information about the functions of legal nurse consultants and paralegals. Data was collected from paralegals, legal nurse consultants (LNCs) and attorneys in order to define the most common activities performed by paralegals and legal nurse consultants. The 76 paralegals ranged from being students to those with 19 years of experience. The legal nurse consultants (27 in number) had 0-9 years of experience as LNCs. The perceptions of 16 attorneys who had 1-29 years of experience were also elicited. Each person was asked to review a list of functions and to indicate if each function was an activity which a paralegal or legal nurse consultant (or both) could perform.

Despite wide differences in experience and perspectives, a consensus emerged among all of the groups. The most commonly identified legal nurse consultant activities were:

  • Identify medical management issues
  • Identify medical issues not addressed or explained in the records
  • Identify malingerers
  • Point out potential medical complications of injuries
  • Identify medical malpractice

The most common activities attributed to the role of the paralegal were:

  • Obtain medical records
  • Identify costs causally related to the accident
  • Organize medical records
  • Summarize medical records
  • Identify missing records

Paralegals were more easily able to identify functions of their own profession than they were able to define the role of the legal nurse consultant, and vice versa. Experienced paralegals, and the attorneys, identified more functions of the legal nurse consultant than did less experienced paralegals. One of the conclusions of this data was that rather than being in competition with each other, legal nurse consultants and paralegals perform important functions that complement each other. For example, analysis of key medical issues by a legal nurse consultant cannot occur without the appropriate retrieval and organization of medical records by a paralegal. The identification of costs associated with an injury can be competently performed by a paralegal, allowing the legal nurse consultant to use medical expertise to focus on the clinical issues in the case.

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Patricia Iyer MSN RN LNCC, the president of Med League Support, is a legal nurse consultant with 24 years of experience assisting attorneys who handle medical malpractice and personal injury cases. She has served as president of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consulting (AALNC) and the chief editor of the core curriculum for legal nurse consulting. A prolific author, Pat has written, coauthored or edited 125 books, chapters, articles, online courses, and case studies.

See her list of publications

Thank you, Pat, for permission to share this article on the CSOA website. Our nurses are blessed to have the opportunity to have access to the excellent resources and tools you have provided for the Legal Nurse Profession!

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March1HeadShot.12.31.12Lori Greenhill RN BSN, the CEO of Concierge Services/Nurses of Augusta, is a legal nurse consultant assisting attorneys who handle medical malpractice and personal injury cases. She serves as the President for the Greater Augusta Chapter of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) and is also the VP of the BNI-RPH Chapter. Lori firmly believes in “Givers Gain” by utilizing her experience to help nurses, healthcare, and businesses professionals to grow their businesses.

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lorigreenhill.com ~ @CSOAoftheCSRA ~ (706) 829-2032

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