Nursing Expert Witnesses
Credible expertise in direct patient care
Nurses are healthcare professionals who provide direct patient care in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities. Nurses are trained to assess patients, develop care plans, administer medication and treatments, monitor patient progress, and provide emotional support to patients and their families.
In the United States, there are several types of nurses with different levels of education, training, and responsibility, including:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): CNAs provide basic patient care, such as bathing, feeding, and helping with mobility. They work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). A CNA must have a high school education and complete an accredited nursing assistant training program.
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): LPNs provide basic nursing care, such as administering medication, monitoring vital signs, and dressing wounds. They work under the supervision of RNs. An LPN must have a high school diploma and complete an accredited LPN training program.
- Registered Nurse (RN): RNs provide a wide range of nursing care, including administering medication, managing patient care plans, and performing diagnostic tests. They can work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and home health agencies. Registered nurses must have an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN): APRNs are RNs with additional education and training, usually including a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a DNP (see below). They can specialize in areas such as nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, and certified registered nurse anesthetist.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): The DNP is the most advanced degree in the field of nursing, with training in advanced nursing practice, healthcare policy, leadership, and research. DNP-educated nurses often work as chief nursing officers (CNO) in healthcare organizations, as nursing educators or nurse practitioners.
The role of nurses as expert witnesses
Nurses have extensive experience working in clinical settings and can often provide detailed observations and analysis of patient care that can be helpful in legal cases. In cases involving hospital negligence or nursing home negligence, nurses are well-equipped to testify about the applicable standards of care in facility operations.
Of course, in cases involving nursing malpractice, having a nurse as an expert witness to explain the applicable standard of care is mandatory. But nurses can also be valuable expert witnesses in a wide variety of injury and disability cases, as they can review medical records, explain medical terminology, and help to assess the extent of a patient’s injuries and the cost of treating those injuries.
Some nurses who serve as consultants or expert witnesses have specialized training as legal nurse consultants (LNC), but this is not required.
Find the right nursing expert witness for your case
Nurses can be valuable expert witnesses in a wide variety of medical malpractice, personal injury, and workers’ compensation matters. Since 1986, Ellen Rieback, R.N., and the team at Rieback Medical-Legal Consultants have been providing the best in nursing to assist some of America’s finest attorneys. If you need a nurse as a consultant or expert witness in a legal matter, contact us for a free case summary review.