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Nurse Attorney Career GuideExplore the distinctive role of a Nurse Attorney, encompassing their key responsibilities, dual educational background in nursing and law, and their impact on the intersection of healthcare and legal systems. Nurse Attorneys address healthcare-related legal issues, including medical malpractice and patient rights. Ideal for those skilled in healthcare and law, this role differs from Legal Nurse Consultants by involving direct legal practice.

Getting Started: Nurse Attorney FAQs

What is a Nurse Attorney?

A nurse attorney is a registered nurse who has also obtained a law degree and is licensed to practice law. Nurse attorneys have a unique combination of healthcare and legal expertise, allowing them to provide legal services related to healthcare issues. Nurse attorneys may work on cases involving medical malpractice, healthcare regulations, patient rights, healthcare policy, or other legal matters in the healthcare field. They can represent healthcare providers, patients, healthcare institutions, or work in various legal and healthcare settings to ensure that healthcare practices align with the law and patient rights.

What does a Nurse Attorney do?

A nurse attorney is a professional who combines nursing and legal knowledge to provide legal representation and counsel in healthcare-related matters. They may represent healthcare providers, patients, or institutions, offer legal guidance on healthcare regulations and ethics, ensure agencies are following healthcare procedures so each patient receives the best care possible, and contribute to risk management, policy development, and patient advocacy, depending on their role and workplace. Nurse attorneys play a crucial role in bridging the gap between healthcare and the legal system, addressing various issues at the intersection of these fields.

Here are some specific roles and responsibilities that you might expect in the day-to-day role as a Nurse Attorney:
  • Assessment: Review medical records and analyze personal injury and insurance claims.
  • Editorial: Work as a writer or editor for professional nursing and legal journals.
  • Education: Teach healthcare staff about the rules and regulations associated with their job.
  • Representation: Represent healthcare providers in malpractice cases and lobby for change in the healthcare industry.
  • Expert witness: Serve in courtrooms as an expert healthcare witness.
  • Risk management: Work with risk management departments in hospitals and other large healthcare providers to ensure compliance and mitigate against risk.

What’s the demand for Nurse Attorneys?

The demand for nurse attorneys can vary depending on geographic location and the specific legal needs of the healthcare and legal industries. However, in general, there is a growing interest in healthcare law and an increasing need for professionals who can bridge the gap between healthcare and legal expertise.

The demand for nurse attorneys may be influenced by factors such as healthcare industry regulations, medical malpractice cases, patient advocacy, healthcare policy development, and more. As healthcare laws and regulations continue to evolve, nurse attorneys with expertise in this field may find a range of opportunities in law firms, healthcare institutions, insurance companies, government agencies, and other legal and healthcare-related organizations. While the demand may not be as widespread as that for healthcare practitioners like nurses or physicians, there is a niche market for nurse attorneys with the right skillset and knowledge.

How much does a Nurse Attorney make?

Nurse attorneys in the U.S. make an average annual salary of $83K with ranges reported from $16K to $428K. Important to note is lawyers typically charge an hourly rate, so the number of hours worked plus commissions, profit sharing, and bonuses may significantly increase the annual salary.

How do you become a Nurse Attorney?

  • Working as a nurse attorney requires extensive education, including both a nursing degree and a law degree to practice. Some of the more common pathways to becoming a nurse attorney may include:

  • Get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
    You may decide to pursue the BSN degree because it provides more comprehensive knowledge of nursing and healthcare, which is useful in positioning yourself as a legal expert in healthcare-related issues.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN
    After completing your nursing education, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a licensed registered nurse. This is a requirement in all states. The NCLEX measures the foundational knowledge and skills needed for safe nursing practice for entry-level nurses.
  • Work as a Registered Nurse, gaining clinical experience before applying to law school
    Some nurses choose to work in the healthcare field for a few years to gain experience before they pursue their law degrees. Working as a nurse makes you a stronger candidate as a nurse attorney.
  • Pass the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
    When you are ready to begin your legal studies, you must first take the LSAT. Law schools require the LSAT as part of the application process. Additional admission requirements may include:
    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
    • Personal statement outlining your characteristics/personality
    • Completed application packet (or online) that includes the LSAT
    • Letter or letters of recommendation
  • Get your Juris Doctor degree (JD) and pass your State Bar Licensing Exam
    Law school takes on average two to three years to complete. Nurses who graduate from law school will earn a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.

    Just like nurses need to pass the NCLEX to earn their nursing license, the same is true for lawyers. After completing your law degree, you need to take the Bar Exam for the state in which you intend to practice law. Several specialties of the Bar Exam are available, which facilitate qualifying to practice in several states.
  • You’re ready to work as a Nurse Attorney

Where can a Nurse Attorney work?

Nurse attorneys have flexibility to work in either legal or healthcare settings, or combining knowledge of the two fields in a variety of professional settings, including:
  • Law Firms: Many nurse attorneys work in law firms that specialize in healthcare law, medical malpractice, personal injury, or insurance defense. They may represent healthcare providers, patients, or healthcare institutions.
  • Healthcare institutions: Some nurse attorneys are employed by hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare organizations to provide legal counsel on issues related to patient care, compliance with healthcare regulations, and risk management.
  • Government agencies: Nurse attorneys can work for government agencies at the local, state, or federal level. They may be involved in healthcare policy development, regulatory compliance, or representing government interests in legal matters.
  • Insurance companies: Insurance companies often employ nurse attorneys to assess and handle claims related to healthcare, medical malpractice, and liability.
  • Legal consulting firms: Nurse attorneys may work for consulting firms that provide expertise in healthcare law and compliance to a wide range of clients.
  • Academia: Some nurse attorneys teach healthcare law and related subjects at nursing schools, law schools, or universities.
  • Healthcare compliance and risk management: Nurse attorneys can be involved in healthcare compliance programs and risk management within healthcare organizations to ensure that legal and ethical standards are upheld.
  • Patient advocacy organizations: Some nurse attorneys work for patient advocacy groups, helping patients navigate the legal aspects of healthcare and advocating for their rights.
  • Freelance writer: Contribbute to publications that focus on healthcare law and litigation or as a source for healthcare-focused journals and other publications.
The specific role and responsibilities of a nurse attorney can vary based on the employer and the focus of their legal practice. Nurse attorneys typically use their healthcare knowledge and legal expertise to address issues related to patient rights, healthcare regulations, malpractice claims, and more in a variety of professional settings.
What's the Average Salary for a Nurse Attorney?
Nurse Attorneys in the U.S. make an average annual salary of $83K with ranges reported from $16K to $428K. Many factors such as commission, profit sharing, and bonuses can significantly increase the actual annual salary.
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Paying for Nursing School
Learn more about how to fund your education with nursing scholarships.
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Join an Organization
Become a member of a Nurse Attorney organization to find career opportunities, learn from your colleagues, and support the profession.

American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA)
Getting Hired as a Nurse Attorney
Visit our Getting Hired page for tips on your resume, preparing for your interview, and more.
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