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How to Become a Nurse Consultant

by Carson-Newman … on February 28, 2023
how to become a nurse consultant

A nurse consultant is a registered nurse with a unique leadership role. Nurse consultants can leverage their expertise to focus on process improvement, quality patient outcomes, legal advising, and compliance with regulatory standards while working in various employment sectors.

As hospital agencies prepare for accreditation visits, risk management assessments may be completed to determine how well the patient care staff performs on specific metrics. A nurse consultant may be needed to review critical risk management data and provide strategic initiatives to help organizations achieve top-tier status.

In the legal sector, nurse consultants may work by advising on health-related aspects of insurance claims, medical malpractice issues, and disability cases. They may review documentation and treatment records, and compare them to expected evidence-based practice recommendations.

Nurse consultants may serve in a professional development or patient educational capacity by developing and suggesting tailored continuing education programs to advance collaborative care among interdisciplinary teams in the education sector.

Nurse consultants provide situational guidance and bring fresh perspectives that help ensure best practices are implemented and available resources are utilized effectively. If this work interests you, read on to learn how to become a nurse consultant.

General Responsibilities of a Nurse Consultant

Consulting work is mainly about first understanding the client. The mission and vision of an organization can be a starting framework that underpins the responsibilities of a nurse consultant. Nurse consultants help identify problems and create solutions while upholding the highest moral and ethical standards.

A sample of the responsibilities that a nurse consultant may be asked to perform include:

  • Researching medical records
  • Working with technology and data
  • Assisting with legal cases and testifying in court
  • Providing professional development to other nurses
  • Educating patients and families
  • Investigating agency compliance with rules and regulations
  • Estimating costs of medical care

Some nurse consultants are experts in a particular specialty of nursing and may provide subject matter expertise in an area of the medical field. For example, a nurse consultant may specialize in informatics, health care law, business administration, specific patient populations, or specific practice locations. Developing professional expertise in nursing through work experience and mentorship helps one become qualified as a nurse consultant.

Nurse consultants may hold different nursing roles. Whether you are a registered nurse or choose to pursue graduate-level education and become a family nurse practitioner, consulting work is available for each level of patient care. With this in mind, let's explore the career outlook for nurse consultants in different industries.

career outlook nurse consultants


Career Outlook for Nurse Consultants

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for registered nurses is expected to grow by approximately 6% between 2021 and 2031. Hospital settings are the largest employer of nurses, followed by ambulatory care settings. Nurse consultants can be found working in these settings as well as in nursing/residential care facilities and in governmental positions, which combined employ approximately 12% of registered nurses.

The salary range for nurse consultants is highly dependent on education, certifications, and work experience. According to PayScale, the salary range for a nurse consultant is approximately $66,000 to $123,000 annually with an average salary of $85,830 per year. The median pay for registered nurses in 2021 was roughly $77,600 annually, while the median pay for nurse practitioners in 2021 was roughly $120,680 annually.

As you can see, nurse consultant positions are available and highly dependent on the qualifications of the applicant. To become a nurse consultant, dedication to skill development is essential. Next, let's explore the skills that are beneficial for nurse consultants to have. We will also examine the education and licensure you need to become a nurse consultant.

Skills and Work Areas for Nurse Consultants

Nurse consultants require strong nursing skills. They are proficient in applying clinical evidence to practice scenarios and understand how stakeholders impact one another in the health care network. If you desire to become a nurse consultant, here is a list of skills that are helpful to have in this role:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Effective written, verbal, and non-verbal communication
  • Organization and attention to detail
  • Understanding systems thinking, how process impacts outcomes
  • Emotional intelligence for working with patients, families, and other staff

When working in legal roles, nurse consultants can bridge the gap between medical issues and the final determinations that may impact licensure or funding for health care services. Therefore, a highly qualified nurse consultant will demonstrate competency with nursing skills and possess experience that relates to both the business and leadership aspects of health care.

Nurse consultants engage in both clinical and administrative roles in a variety of work settings. These may include:

  • Ambulatory care clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Legal offices
  • Colleges and universities
  • Business departments of organizations
  • Residential nursing facilities
  • Governmental agencies
  • Insurance companies

Next, let's look at the education and licensure requirements for becoming a nurse consultant.

Education and Licensure for Consulting Work

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and a registered nursing license are typically required to become a nurse consultant. Those who choose to expand their education to the master's or doctoral level in nursing may have greater opportunities for working in advanced practice nurse consultant roles.

Completing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is one pathway toward becoming a nurse consultant. When choosing an MSN program, consider how the specialties offered might expand your current educational and employment background to create a robust and varied skill set. If you are striving for a nurse consultant position, obtaining an MSN-FNP degree can be empowering. Through this additional education, you may advance your competency in holistic nursing by caring for patients across their lifespans.

Current nursing trends reveal that online programs are becoming increasingly popular. A family nurse practitioner program can expand your preparation for a nurse consultant role, particularly with a focus on patient and community education. Carson-Newman University is an excellent option for earning your MSN and FNP credentials online.

online msn fnp program

Explore Carson-Newman University for Your MSN Degree

The nursing courses in the online MSN-FNP program at Carson-Newman University are taught by faculty who hold DNP degrees, are experienced nurse practitioners, and are actively practicing in their communities. A graduate education from Carson-Newman allows you the opportunity to build a network of meaningful, professional relationships to support and encourage your growth into an advanced practice clinician.

Carson-Newman offers complementary clinical placement to ensure you find a clinical site for your clinical practicum experiences where you will see patients in a supervised, nurse practitioner student role. There is also an on-campus residency program that lasts three days and helps prepare you with the advanced assessment skills you will need to complete physical examinations prior to your clinical practicum experiences.

Carson-Newman's online MSN-FNP program delivers all didactic coursework 100% online. As a student, you can learn remotely and on a flexible schedule to make obtaining your degree simpler and more feasible with existing work and life responsibilities. If you're ready to start your FNP journey part-time at a competitive price, download your free Carson-Newman FNP program guide today.

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