Is There Any Advantage to Getting Both a Law Degree and a Nursing Degree?

For those who want to make a good living, getting a law degree or a nursing degree might seem like a good idea. After all, both of these fields offer their professionals the opportunity to earn a high-end salary after only a few years. Would it benefit a person to combine these two degrees, earning both over the course of a few years? There may be some advantages to this approach, though there are many more risks. A specific type of professional would benefit the most from combining these two degrees: nurse practitioner. If you are planning on going further in your nursing career by earning your nurse practitioner license, then having a law degree may be very helpful. Otherwise, the downside seems to outweigh the reward.

Licensed Nurse Practitioners and the Value of a Law Degree

Many nurses will go back to school in order to earn what is called an LNP degree. This is the equivalent of a nursing master’s degree, and it provides nurses with the chance to earn much more money. An LNP will be able to run his own practice, and these professionals are like semi-doctors. They do all the things that nurses do while adding some of the services that doctors provide. If you are planning to go this route, then you could possibly own a clinic. This would make your a business person of sorts, and all business people could benefit from understanding the law. A law degree would give you some basic understanding of contracts and of tort law. Likewise, you would have familiarity with the costs of doing legal business.

Legal Nurse Consultants

Another possible use of these two degrees is to work as a legal nurse consultant. These individuals do not officially practice law though they are around firms. They will generally work for hospitals, serving as a legal consultant. This career can be interesting and lucrative for those with dual interests.

Getting a Law Degree to Protect Yourself From Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

There are two primary reasons why it is not wise to get a law degree in order to protect yourself from lawsuits. First, lawyers have an old saying that is especially relevant in this context. The person who represents himself has a fool for a client. Even if you were sued for malpractice, you should not represent yourself. You will be forced to have malpractice insurance, and the insurance company will likely take care of hiring an attorney. While having a law degree could help you understand the process, it will not help you in any tangible way.

The Time and Expense of Getting a Law Degree For Nurses

In order to weigh the advantages, one must also take a hard look at the disadvantages of getting both degrees. There is an obvious time expense that must be accounted for. Law degrees take at least three years, with some people taking four years to complete the course work. This is a four-year period when you could be earning money as a nurse. Likewise, even the cheapest law schools will cost more than $20,000 per year. In some cases, law schools cost $40,000 per year. This is a huge financial investment for a degree that may or may not expand your capabilities as a nurse.

Dual Practice Is Not Recommended

It is possible that you could be both a nurse and a lawyer though this would not seem to be a smart use of time. Lawyers are not allowed to offer any additional services through their law firm, so you would have to operate both careers independently. Making this choice would likely leave you as less than an expert in both fields.

The best career path for someone interested in both nursing and law is to become a nurse practitioner or work as a legal nurse consultant. ┬áIf you don’t mind the extensive schooling required to achieve both degrees, and have your heart set on both of these fields, you should by all means follow your dreams.