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Should a nurse with a BSN and experience in LTC who wants to move out of LTC work go into legal nurse consulting or education?

Tuesday January 7, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I am long-term care BSN nurse now working in LTC risk management. I have been a nurse for more than 25 years. I am from New York and now live in Florida. While in New York, I practiced several different nusring specialties but in Florida for the past 10 years I’ve been in LTC. I would like to get out
of LTC.

I am torn between working in legal nurse consulting and education. Can you please give me some advice? If I were in New York, I probably would pursue a program to become an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner.

Wants to Get Out of LTC

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants to Get Out of LTC,

Because you are in transition and trying to decide where to go from here, it is important for you to mix and mingle with some new people in healthcare. For example, attend local chapter meetings of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org) even as a guest if you are not a member. You are likely to meet nurses who work in education and LNCs. Also attend a meeting of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (www.aalnc.org) as a guest.

Do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with those doing the work you are considering. You don't really need to decide between education and LNC. You can do both. Many nurses do LNC work part time in addition to other work and vice versa. Read “How to find your forte” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Forte) and “How to change specialties” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties).

I'm not sure why you would not pursue becoming an ARNP in Florida. There will be a huge need for advanced practice nurses going forward in every state. So you may want to reconsider it as an option for your next career move in Florida. Talk to other ARNPs in your state to learn about trends and issues where you live. Find them through your state chapter of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp.org).

Talking to others and hearing about what they do is very helpful in gathering information and making a decision. You just never know from where the idea, information, lead, opportunity or contact will come. You have to create positive momentum by taking some steps toward your goal. Move forward in faith and the right path eventually will reveal itself to you.

Best wishes,


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.