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Legal Nurse Consultant Practice Presented To Medical College Of Georgia Nursing Students in Athens, Georgia


Atlanta, Georgia – Atlanta legal nurse consultant Liz Buddenhagen, registered nurse and certified legal nurse spoke with students in the “Leadership (in Nursing)” class September 20, 2010.

The Medical College of Georgia nursing “Leadership” course introduces professional roles, models, values and practice standards for the profession of nursing. History, theories and trends in nursing practice are discussed. An overview of the healthcare system is included. Ways in which nurses use evidence to guide practice, engage in critical thinking and promote the science of nursing are introduced.

Invited by Kathy Shaw, DNP, RN, CDE, who teaches the class and has contributed many years of service to the Athens community, Buddenhagen qualified her credentials by briefly describing that she started college first year as a liberal arts student and then transferred into a nursing program. After passing nursing boards, Buddenhagen built a strong foundation in intensive care, coronary care and open heart cardiovascular ICUs for the first eleven years of her nursing practice and invested time annually in continuing education throughout her career.

Buddenhagen went on to became experienced in adult substance abuse, neonatal intensive care, adolescent psychiatry and finally medical-surgical units including cardiac telemetry and step-down, surgical, urology, gynecology and many other hospital based clinical areas.

Massage therapy was Buddenhagen’s first independent business, in which she certified in deep tissue, Swedish and neuromuscular massage therapies in the 1990’s and balanced massage therapy and clinical nursing concurrently.

Becoming interested in the medical-legal realm in 2005, Buddenhagen certified after completing a rigorous legal nurse course, while maintaining her clinical nursing practice. Buddenhagen has since established her legal nurse consulting firm in the Atlanta legal community and assists attorneys with their medically related cases.

Legal nurses play three distinct roles in the legal field: expert witnesses review records and give their opinion on nursing care rendered; fact witnesses testify about factual nursing information but do not opine and “behind-the-scenes” nurse consultants assist attorneys from the beginning to the case and whose work is not “discoverable” to the other side. Legal nurses can work on either plaintiff or defense but not both on the same case.

Buddenhagen explained that “behind-the-scenes” legal nurses are either self employed, consulting with many different attorneys or employed by a law firm. The Atlanta legal nurse is self employed through her firm “Buddenhagen & Associates.”

Shaw likes to expose her students to many of the opportunities available to registered nurses and the legal nurse business discussion was preceded by a great introduction to professional nursing organizations by Fran Beall, RN, ANP, BC, the current state president of the Georgia Nurses Association. Following those talks, Shaw welcomed a Family Nurse Practitioner student to explain that avenue of nursing.

About Liz Buddenhagen:

“I enjoyed talking with nursing students about possibilities they can find in nursing careers,” said Buddenhagen. “I appreciate this opportunity from Kathy Shaw to present the entrepreneurial side of legal nursing.”

For more information about the Atlanta legal nurse, view website, email or call 770-725-2997.


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