A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a broad degree with many career paths to consider. One such path is a Nurse Paralegal, or a Legal Nurse Consultant. A Nurse Paralegal is a nurse who applies their unique skill-set and medical knowledge to assist a legal team.
Nurse paralegal Amy Messer, BSN, RN started her career as a charge nurse and supervisor for a long-term care facility. She then transitioned to acute care nursing as a staff nurse. Currently, she works as a nurse paralegal at a law firm that specializes in medical malpractice cases. In this interview, Amy offers valuable information about her education and career to help aspiring BSN students learn more about the profession and the wide variety of career options that are available to them.
- What position do you currently hold? Can you tell us about your key responsibilities?
- Can you describe your typical work-day?
- Why did you decide to become a nurse and pursue a BSN?
- What is your favorite part about being a nurse?
- What is your least favorite part about being a nurse?
- What factors should a prospective BSN student look for when selecting a school?
- Do you think nursing education adequately prepares students to pass their nursing board exams?
- What kinds of technology are incorporated into the nursing curriculum?
- Online, blended nursing programs such as LPN to BSN bridge programs are becoming more popular. What do you know about these programs? Can you see any benefits from receiving part of your nursing education online?
- What is one piece of advice you would give a BSN student just starting out in the field?
I currently work as a nurse paralegal. As a nurse paralegal, I work in a medical malpractice law firm. Some of my key responsibilities include:
- Assisting in the intake of new clients
- Serving as a liaison with other medical professionals the firm may hire
- Providing relevant medical research
- Ordering and preparing medical records
- Transcribing medical records into chronologies
The best part of my job is that it varies day to day. I generally work in an office setting Monday through Friday, 9-5. I generally spend a large part of my day researching cases and doing a lot of writing. I always save a portion of my day for corresponding with clients and other medical professionals. Occasionally I attend depositions, mediations, and trials, which take me out of the office.
I became a nurse because I like to interact with others and my love for science. I felt nursing allowed me the flexibility to pursue a broad range of career options and a BSN opened more doors. I’ve held several different positions ranging from bedside nursing, to management, and now I’m in the legal field. Most bachelor’s degrees are not as versatile.
I learn something new everyday! Every position I’ve held has helped prepare me for the next.
It depends on the position held. Nursing can be emotionally challenging at times. Paperwork can also be very extensive and time consuming.
Find the right fit for you. Everyone has different needs. I chose a school that had small class sizes. Look into programs beforehand so you have an accurate understanding of their requirements and expectations.
Nursing schools give you back what you put in. I studied hard for four years—and it paid off when I took the boards and passed the first time. It is definitely not a test you can cram for.
Internet access is a must as most programs have an online aspect to them. Most programs require a basic computer course to ensure basic literacy.
9. Online, blended nursing programs such as LPN to BSN bridge programs are becoming more popular. What do you know about these programs? Can you see any benefits from receiving part of your nursing education online?
Although I am not familiar with LPN to BSN programs, I have taken many of my classes online. I travelled abroad for a semester and completed my coursework online. The great benefit of online instruction is being able to pace yourself. This can be a real benefit for those who work or have children.
Don’t let school consume your whole life. Take the time to take care of yourself and to enjoy other things in life. Well-rounded individuals not only make great students, but great nurses.
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