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Legal Nurse Consulting - Online Program

The Online Certificate Program in Legal Nurse Consulting is for registered nurses (RN) who are interested in applying their medical skills and expertise to the legal field.  The program's objective is to prepare registered nurses (RN) to perform analysis of health care issues and their related outcomes for the legal profession or other health care organizations. Becoming a Legal Nurse is the perfect way to combine medical knowledge and experience with the legal side. Are you curious about the law and its application to standards of care?  Are you looking for a way to enhance your clinical work or to take your career to a new level? 

Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for up to 42 CNEs.*

The program is entirely self-paced and students will have six months to complete the program from the time of registration. Practicing LNCs serve as mentors throughout the program.

An active US RN License is required for admission to this program.

*The program has been approved for continuing nursing education (CNE) credits by the North Carolina Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

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Curriculum & Course Details

Module Titles

Module 1: 
Introduction to Legal Nurse Consulting
Risk Management

Module 2: 
Legal Theory and Fundamentals

Module 3: 
Case Analysis for Medical Malpractice

Module 4: 
Case Analysis for Personal Injury and Worker's Compensation

Module 5: 
LNC Role in Discovery: Trial Preparation (5A) and Forensic Nursing (5B)

Module 6: 
Business Principles

At least one assignment or test will be required for each module. Most assignments are related to or involve a single case study.


There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

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  • An active RN license*
  • A  recommended minimum of 2000 hours work experience as a nurse
  • Recognition/aptitude and comfort level in having to “market/brand” yourself in a consultant role
  • Fluency in English
  • Computer literacy, internet access, and a valid email account required
    • System requirements: A Windows PC (XP or greater) or Mac OSX with 512Mhz processor, 1GB Ram, an internet browser (Internet Explorer 6 or higher, Firefox, Safari or Chrome), and  a broadband connection with 768kbps or greater
    • The online learning software currently does not work on mobile devices that do not allow Flash files and may not display well on other mobile devices.  We do not guarantee that the course will be accessible on any mobile device.
  • Make full payment prior to starting the program
  • If seeking CE credit hours and reside outside of North Carolina, you assume responsibility for determining eligibility to receive the hours from your state nursing board

*RN license must be a valid US state or multi-state license.  International licenses do not qualify.

Please note that the qualifications for our program differ from the qualifications necessary to apply for the LNCC examination. 

In order to register, you will need to provide proof of an active RN license. Please have your license number and expiration date available when you register.

Acceptance into the program will be determined once registration is complete and participant’s RN license status has been verified as active (within five business days of completion of registration).  Student will have six months to complete the course from the date of acceptance.

Certificate requirements

Students must complete each module of the program in sequential order by viewing/listening to associated lectures, completing readings, and completing assignments satisfactorily.  Each module will build upon previous lessons so that the learning objectives are accomplished in a way that does not overwhelm the student.

Students will have six months from the time of acceptance to complete the program.  Access cannot be extended.  If a student does not complete the program within six months, the student must re-register at full price if he/she wishes to earn the certificate.  No refunds will be given once the program has been started.

Students will receive a certificate of completion after finishing the program and may be eligible to receive CNEs upon successful completion of the program.

Successful Completion of this Continuing Nursing Education Activity:

In order to receive full contact hour credit for this CNE activity, you must:

  • Be registered for this activity
  • Complete all required assignments and submit to instructors via email for grading and feedback within the six month access period
  • Complete and submit the comprehensive evaluation form

Requirements for successful completion also include participation in discussion, exercises, practice questions, pre-/post-testing, etc. as well as completion of assignments given by instructors.  (Note that assignments need only be completed satisfactorily as no grades will be given.)

Please note: Students will only be awarded CNE contact hours for the modules completed. 

*Admission is discretionary. Duke Continuing Studies-Professional Certificate Programs- requires students be a least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards. Students are not matriculated Duke University students and university student privileges do not apply to Continuing Studies students.

Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of any student or applicant.

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Schedule & Registration


Note: our enrollment/registration system is a separate external system from that used for your online training and therefore access to online materials is not an automated process upon your registration and subsequent payment. Please allow a time delay of up to 5 business days to receive details via email regarding online access. This delay will not impact your “allotted” completion time for the program.

  1. REGISTER ONLINE using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system.  Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out.
  2. Register by phone at 919-684-6259 or toll- free at 1-866-edu-duke during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST).

Registration questions? Call 919-684-6259 or toll free at 866-edu-duke 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the classroom program and the online program?

The online program has been adapted from the curriculum used in the classroom program.  The presentations and lectures are similar as are the reading assignments.  As in the classroom program, most of the assignments are centered around a case study.  There will also be some tests to verify that the learner has met the objectives.  Despite similarities, all lectures and assignments have been modified to fit the online learning environment.  For more information on course objectives, please see the Curriculum section above.

Students in the online program will work with different instructors throughout the program depending on the content.  Instructors are experts in the content area in which they teach.  For more information on instructors, please see the Instructor section.

What is the process for registration/tuition payment and receiving my log in information to start the program?

To register for the program, complete our online registration process and pay with a credit card.  You can also register by phone at 919-684-6259.  Please have your RN license number available when you register.  If you are applying for a loan or sending a certified check for payment of tuition, registration is not complete until tuition has been paid in full.  Once registration is complete and our office has verified that your RN license is valid and active, the Program Manager will send your login for the online system.  Note, this process is not automated and there may be a time delay in receiving this email from the date of registration.

Why has Duke Continuing Studies chosen to offer this program?

Based on the success of our classroom program and the increasing number of inquiries from nurses who could not come to Durham for classes every week, we adapted our existing curriculum to serve a larger geographic community. Our goal at Duke Continuing Studies is to provide affordable and high quality education to the community, and online learning allows us to go even farther.

Upon completion of the Duke LNC program will I be certified?

No. You will not be “certified” as a legal nurse consultant upon completion of the Duke program. You will receive a completion “certificate” acknowledging that you have met the educational requirements of the program.

How do I pursue certification? Who offers the exam?

Certification is a process of standardization by a governing board/agency, which requires that certain criteria be met. Certification as a Legal Nurse Consultant is offered through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) and administered by the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board.  The certification allows those who pass the exam to use the LNCC (Legal Nurse Consultant Certified) designation.  The LNCC is the only certification in legal nurse consulting accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties and recognized by the AALNC and American Nurses Association (ANA). 

To qualify for the certification examination one must have at least 2000 hours of billable work as a LNC in the prior (3) years and (5) years of experience as a registered nurse. For more information and to apply for the examination please visit:

Do I have to take the Duke program in order to apply for the certification exam offered by AALNC? 

No, it is not mandatory for you to complete the Duke program or any other LNC education program in order to qualify for the AALNC exam. However, the material covered in the Duke program will help to prepare individuals who seek to apply for the exam. 

What will the certificate qualify me to do?

The primary purpose of the Duke Legal Nurse Consulting Certificate is to give registered nurses the tools necessary to work as independent consultants.  While some LNCs may work in-house for law firms, insurance companies, healthcare institutions, private industry, or a variety of other organizations, many will work, or at least begin working, as independent consultants. In order to work as an independent consultant, students will need to acquire a specific set of skills, which we cover in our final module: Business Principles. In this module, the instructor will cover topics including developing a business plan, setting up a consulting practice, marketing, tracking billable hours, etc. 

The specific work of an LNC will depend on the employer, but may include reviewing and analyzing medical records for litigation purposes, conducting interviews with legal clients and witnesses, assisting attorneys in preparing evidence, exhibits, or arguments in a medical case, assessing risk management, analyzing and providing feedback on product liability, evaluating worker’s compensation cases, assisting in conducting healthcare licensure investigations, and providing support in other matters that are or could become a legal issue.

This course offers an education completion certificate; however, to be certified as an LNC you must meet the requirements set by the AALNC.  Though it is not required that a person be certified in order to practice as a legal nurse consultant, certification verifies experience and evaluated knowledge.

How much do legal nurse consultants get paid?

Legal nurse consultants who work as independent consultants are typically paid on an hourly basis. LNCs who work in law firms, insurance companies, and other institutions are typically paid a salary. Compensation, as in any profession, varies with scope of responsibility, level of experience, and geographic area, among other factors. (from the AALNC website

As an RN, can I apply for the Duke program regardless of whether or not I intend to become certified?

Yes, anyone with an active US state or multi-state RN license may enroll in this program regardless of whether or not they intend to become certified. 

Do I have to be in the United States in order to take this program?

No, anyone with an active US state or multi-state RN license may enroll in this program.  Nurse licenses from foreign countries do not qualify.  This curriculum is specific to US laws and practices and is not recommended for those interested in practicing as a legal nurse outside of the United States.

Which textbook will be used during the program?

Legal Nurse Consulting Principles and Practices, 3rd edition. This textbook must be purchased separately.  It can be purchased new directly from the AALNC or at various other bookstores including and as new or used.

Is this program affiliated with the Duke University Medical Center? 

No, this program is offered as a joint collaboration between Duke University Continuing Studies (DCS) and the local LNC chapter.  The focus of the program is not to teach nursing skills, but to give experienced nurses the legal knowledge and skills necessary to work in the legal field.  

DCS offers a wide variety of career-enhancing certificate programs geared toward the particular needs of working professionals. Certificate programs such as the LNC program are often co-sponsored with industry experts to provide education focused on applicability to real world issues and solutions. 

Can any of the courses in the program be applied to another degree? 

No. This program is a non-credit certificate program and is not applicable to a degree unless the institution being applied to is willing to extend credit to the applicant for contact hours.

Will I receive CNE credit hours for this online certificate?

Yes, the online Legal Nurse Consulting program is eligible to receive up to 42 CNEs based on modules completed.

If I am a nurse residing out of the State of North Carolina, will the CE credits be recognized by my state nursing board? 

Since the North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA) is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), most states may accept the CE hours. However, it is incumbent upon the student to verify with their own state nursing licensure board, prior to registering for the program, as to the process for accepting CE credits. 

Some states may share reciprocity with NC in terms of CNEs and some may not. Additionally, your state licensure board may only award a portion of the hours, even though the program is approved for 42. See the National Councils of State Boards of Nursing website for more information.

What is the process of receiving CNEs?

After completing the program, the program manager will fill out a CNE completion form that is inclusive of your name, RN number, completion date, approval number with NCNA, and number of eligible CNE hours. Each student is responsible for submitting the CNE completion form to their state board. 

Duke Continuing Studies will only be responsible for providing a certificate of completion and verifying hours completed during the six month program, should your board have questions. The remainder of the CE process is between the student and the state boards. Duke Continuing Studies will not accept responsibility, or refund tuition, for a student’s inability to earn CE credit.

Does Duke offer employment assistance to its graduates?

Students are responsible for securing their own employment upon completion of the program. During the program students will take a module, which will cover the business side of the LNC profession, including setting up your practice, creating a business plan, marketing and interviewing, etc.

How does this program differ from a Nurse Paralegal Certificate Program?

As licensed registered nurses, legal nurse consultants bring specialized healthcare education and clinical experience to the medically related issues of the litigation process. This education and experience distinguishes legal nurse consultants from paralegals and legal assistants and provides the foundation for the legal nurse consultant's ability to recognize, interpret and analyze all relevant medically related information in a claim or case. (from the AALNC website)

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Nancy H. Barham RN

Nancy Barham is a LNC for Smith Anderson law firm in Raleigh, North Carolina and she concentrates in the area of medical malpractice defense litigation where she assists the attorneys in medical record review, medical research, witness preparation, and trial.  Ms. Barham also works in the areas of personal injury litigation, general liability defense, and products liability.  She has over 20 years of experience in legal nurse consulting.  Before joining Smith Anderson, Ms. Barham worked as a nurse in various capacities, including assistant clinical manager in the Emergency Department at Rex Healthcare, Head Nurse at North Carolina State University Student Health Service, EMT instructor through Wake Technical Community College, and preceptor for the Wake County Paramedic Program. Ms. Barham is a past MICN, an ACLS instructor, PALS instructor, and Certified Emergency Room Nurse.

Ms. Barham has served as an instructor on faculty at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as serving as a faculty member for seminar presentations in the areas of risk management documentation, and legal aspects of nursing for healthcare providers.  Ms. Barham is a former president for the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.  She is one of the founding instructors for the Duke LNC certificate program and the online program since its inception in 2009.

Patricia Brock, RN, MSN, LNCC, CLCP, CNLCP

Pat Brock lives in Orange City, Florida.  A BSN from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) online in 2006 sparked a desire for life-long learning. She received a MSN in nursing education online from IWU in 2008, and obtained a PhD in nursing from The University of Phoenix.  Pat is also a clinical med/surg and ICU instructor for final semester Associate’s Degree (AD) nursing students at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Pat’s clinical background consists of 30 years in ICU/CCU, and CVICU. She has been a Legal Nurse Consultant since 2002. She earned her LNCC from the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) in 2007.  She is a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP) and a Certified Nurse Life Care Planner (CNLCP) since 2005 and 2007 respectively. Having operated HTI Consulting and Life Care Planning since 2002 and she provides expert nursing Standard of Care testimony for both plaintiff and defense cases.

Feel free to phone or email her with any class problems or concerns.  She understands distance education, and will help in any way possible to facilitate your experience and success.

Patricia Crispell, BSN, RN, AIC

Ms. Crispell has been a Legal Nurse Consultant since 1988, one of the first in this industry.  She is owner of Crispell & Associates, a legal nurse consulting firm, where she specializes in personal injury and worker’s compensation cases involving medical issues, causation issues, fraudulent claims and death or permanent impairment due to injury.  She reviews cases for plaintiff and defense attorneys and insurance companies.  She attends depositions, mediations and trials, if litigation is involved.  She also has experience as a claims medical specialist at Nationwide Insurance Company where she consulted with commercial and catastrophic claims adjusters and attorneys regarding medical issues of claims. Her clinical nursing experience includes Multisystem Trauma ICU, Orthopedics, Neurology and Pediatric Home Health.  She received her BSN from Syracuse University.  She received her Associate in Claims (AIC) from the Insurance Institute of America. Ms. Crispell is also a past president for the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.

Janis Cox, RNC, CNM, MSN

Ms. Cox has 39 years of nursing experience.  She earned her BSN and MSN at East Carolina University.  She has worked in ICU/CCU, Med Surg, OB-GYN, and labor and delivery.  She also has mid-level management experience and 19 years of experience as a childbirth educator.  For the past 17 years, she has worked as a Certified Nurse Midwife and does so currently at the Crist Clinic for Women in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  In addition, Ms. Cox serves on the clinical faculty at UNCW School of Nursing.

Ms. Cox has been working as an independent legal nurse since 2006 and is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.  She has experience in setting up her own LNC business as well as marketing, billing, sub-contracting, and networking.

Debbie Flowers, RN, MSN, CPNP, SANE-A, SANE-P

Ms. Flowers has worked with both UNC School of Nursing and Duke Continuing Studies in planning as well as presenting CE topics for the past 8 years.  She specializes in forensic and legal nursing, particularly pertaining to child abuse and neglect.  She has nearly 20 years of experience in Emergency Nursing with 13 years in Forensic/Sexual Assault Nursing. She has administrative and clinical practice in child abuse and neglect with the NC Child Medical Evaluation Program as well as the UNC Health Care Beacon Child Protection Team.   Ms. Flowers has also developed and presented many programs relating to forensic nursing.

Betsy Seymour, RN, BSN, LNCC

Ms. Seymour has been in healthcare for approximately 30 years with a wide range of experience from birth to death (L&D to oncology), beginning as a technician in a psychiatric hospital.  She received her BSN from ECU and completed a Legal Nurse Consulting program in 2004 with honors.   She has worked in utilization review for a health insurance company, and as a medical specialist with injury claims with Nationwide Insurance.  Ms. Seymour now works as an analyst in the Risk Management Department for WakeMed Health and Hospitals.  She is also a past president of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.

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Tuition & Funding Sources



Students may register at any time. Full tuition is due prior to starting the program (no exceptions and no payment plans).  For students using loan money, the loan must be approved and certified prior to gaining acceptance into the program. The Eastern North Carolina AALNC Scholarship does not apply to the online program.

Books are not included in the cost of tuition and must be purchased separately. Approximately $145 new: Legal Nurse Consulting: Principles and Practices, 3rd edition* (this is a two volume set) It can be purchased new directly from the AALNC or at various other book stores including and as new or used. This book is not available at Duke University book stores.

Funding Sources

Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Please note that we do not offer a payment plan for this program.

No loans (Wells Fargo Graduate loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Undergraduate loan, etc.) can be construed to imply any degree-seeking status for students of Duke Continuing studies. Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-credit.

Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Students needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the student.

Should a student choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.

Loan Options

Your local bank may offer other options for loans or a "line of credit" service. Contact your bank for more information on financing choices.

Other Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan

To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, select the Undergraduate Student Loan and then click Apply Now.   The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

•    Scroll over Student Loans on the top of screen
•    Select Smart Option Student Loan under Undergraduate Student Loans
•    Click Get Started
•    Fill out Student General Information
•    Fill out Permanent Address
•    Fill out School Information

•    DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 should already have populated for the school
•    Select Certificate for Degree/Certificate of Study
•    Select your Specialty or select Other if it is not shown in the options
•    Select Half Time for Enrollment Status
•    Select Certificate/Continuing Ed for Grade Level
•    Enter your Academic Period of the Loan
•    Enter your Anticipated Graduation / Completion

•     Follow the remaining loan application prompts

Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

For information on the Wells Fargo Graduate Loan, please see this Disclosure document. To apply for this loan, visit Wells Fargo. Duke Continuing Studies will be required to certify your loan application for the Graduate Loan should you be approved by Wells Fargo.

You will need to enter the following information after clicking on Apply Now in the Before Starting Your Application section:

  • Find a loan for: Graduate School Expenses
  • I am a: Student
  • School state: North Carolina
  • School name: please type Duke University Continuing Education
  • Grade Level: Beyond 3rd Year Graduate
  • Field of Study: Undecided or select Other and type in the field of study
  • Citizenship: Select as appropriate

Duke Hospital Employees

Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.

Workforce Investment Act

The WIA provides professional and basic skills training services to those who have been unable to find employment. Please keep in mind that this process can be lengthy, so plan to apply well in advance of the program start date.  For more information on eligibility, the application process, or to find your local Workforce Development Board, visit the NC JobLink Career Center website.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.

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Policies & Procedures

There are no refunds for the Online Legal Nurse Consulting program and extensions will not be granted.  Under dire circumstances and at the discretion of the program manager, accounts can be paused for up to 60 days if a written request is received prior to the expiration of course access.  Additional fees may apply.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”

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