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What Is A Nurse Attorney? 5 Things To Know

Whenever we think of nurses, we picture them in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. We picture them in their scrub suits or in their white uniforms and caps with a clipboard in hand. They take our temperature and other vital signs then usher us in line to wait for the doctor to arrive.

Nurses take care of us when we’re sick and make sure we’re in optimum health. They even specialize in a specific field from care for children, women, and seniors to care for patients with specific physical and mental illnesses. They’re indispensable when it comes to providing patient care.

Nurses can also explore other careers outside of the patient care setting. They can venture into law and use their knowledge and expertise to become a nurse attorney. This path provides an interesting intersection between healthcare and law. It also presents attractive opportunities and compensation for nurses to consider.

Things to Know About Nurse Attorneys

1. What is A Nurse Attorney?

The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA) defines a nurse attorney as a professional who is licensed to practice both law and nursing. They carry dual licenses of a Registered Nurse and a Lawyer. They use their skills and knowledge of medicine and legal systems in order to assist their clients.

2. Educational Pathway

Nurse attorneys typically start with a nursing degree and then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). They then obtain a state license as a Registered Nurse (RN) in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Nurses gain clinical or hospital experience as nurse practitioners, educators, or specialists. They may even obtain necessary certifications for them to be able to work with specific clients. For example, they can obtain certification in gerontology as preparation for a private practice that specializes in advanced directives or life care planning for aging clients.

A strong interest in law can inspire them to pursue a nurse attorney as a career. They understand that proper delivery of care requires compliance with the rules and regulations. They begin their venture by taking and passing the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) in order to enter law school.

Finishing law school in two to three years gives them a Juris Doctor Degree. Successful completion of a state bar exam, for example,  Nurse attorney Michigan gives them the required license to practice law in their state. They can serve as healthcare and legal consultants in their respective communities.

3. Work Opportunities

After passing the bar exam, nurse attorneys can then explore various work opportunities. They can choose to work in law firms to specialize in personal injury law, providing advice, and representation for victims of medical malpractice lawsuits or advocating for workers’ just compensation for work-related injuries.

They may also choose to continue working in the healthcare sector as a healthcare lawyer. They inform hospitals and clinics regarding applicable rules and statutes. They also assist healthcare institutions in formulating policies and procedures that uphold expected levels of care. They can also act as negotiators for contracts and represent fellow healthcare professionals in malpractice lawsuits.

Outside of law practice or hospital settings, nurse attorneys can also verify insurance claims, work for the government and pursue freelance writing, publishing, or consulting regarding law and healthcare matters.

4. Duties of A Nurse Attorney

Those who choose to work in the legal arena often specialize in persosnal injury law. In particular, they work on medical malpractice claims and workers’ compensation. Their knowledge of health and disease allows them to spot medical record inaccuracies and determine if medical practitioners deviate from expected levels of care. With regards to workers’ compensation, they can assist injured workers by filing required legal paperwork and propose just compensation for injuries and pursue a claim for additional benefits.

In contrast, healthcare lawyers focus on information and policy formulation for healthcare providers and their respective institutions. They may meet fellow nurse attorneys in court when they choose to represent medical professionals in malpractice claims.

5. Pay and Benefits

Pay for nurse attorneys are based on a number of factors such as the location of their practice, the length of their experience, and their employer. In the United States, the average base salary is $90,092 and annual overtime pay is $13,775.

They also enjoy several employment benefits such as a matching gift program, employee stock purchase plan, and paid jury duty. They are also eligible for vision insurance and 401(k) matching.


Nurses contemplating a career outside of the patient care setting can consider pursuing a law degree and passing the state bar exam to become a nurse attorney. Such a career can lead to numerous opportunities to serve and improve the community.