I’m respected and recognized in the community as a businessperson, and I’m treated as an equal by attorneys.
After a Life-Changing Illness, I’m Living the Confidence and Freedom of a Successful Certified Legal Nurse Consultant
by Ann Wiseman, RN, CLNC
Two years ago, I lost my job and my professional career. After being diagnosed and treated for rheumatoid arthritis for 18 months, I was losing mobility and dexterity, and had no idea why. Finally, I found that I did not have arthritis, but rather a severe cervical stenosis that was flattening my spinal cord. I couldn’t even scratch my nose by myself, I was in terrible pain and I was facing the rest of my life in a wheelchair.
Today, I’m fully recovered. I’m respected and recognized in the community as a businessperson, and I’m treated as an equal by attorneys. I’m having the time of my life, and I’m finally able to visualize new dreams coming true.
I have God, my wonderful husband and a great surgeon to thank for my physical and emotional recovery. And I have LegalNurse.com and the CLNC® Mentors to thank for changing my life. They gave me the education, support and encouragement I needed to attain goals I never thought I could dream, much less realize.
How Has My Life Changed?
I have the confidence to be who I am. Previously, I worked around the country as a traveling labor and delivery nurse. I enjoyed the work and the chance it gave me to be a “fly on the wall” – no relationships, no ties to the community and very few friends. That’s the way I thought I wanted it.
After I married, I decided to try surgical nursing. I was working in the operating room as a circulating nurse when I found myself physically unable to do my job. I was losing my mobility, and I was literally losing my grip. I lost my job; I lost who I was. After losing my career, I started tossing my nursing journals in the trash as soon as they arrived. After all, I didn’t need them anymore.
Just one month before my surgery, I kept a nursing magazine for some reason. That’s where I learned about LegalNurse.com. I realized that as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I could continue to use my nursing experience and knowledge even from a wheelchair (what I saw as my future).
By then, I had been out of work for six months and we were pretty short on money, but I applied for financing and signed up for the VIP CLNC Certification System. Six weeks later – the day after my six-week checkup with my surgeon – I was on a plane to Las Vegas to become a CLNC consultant.
The CLNC Certification Program changed my life. The Institute gave me the confidence to learn who I wanted to be and then go for it.
I can talk to people and be a teacher. I always enjoyed helping people. I’d even thought about being a speaker and a teacher, but didn’t have the confidence or the opportunity to realize those dreams until I became a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Starting with the exercise of saying “My fee is $150 per hour,” I generated the ability to do even more. A year ago, I appeared on two local television interview programs promoting the CLNC profession.
With my growing confidence I led a seminar for 25 attorneys at the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association (MTLA) headquarters and presented a college panel discussion with a judge and a trial attorney.
I can help my CLNC peers and others. Because of my new-found confidence, I have a chance to give a boost to other new Certified Legal Nurse Consultants by subcontracting with them. I also share marketing tips and encourage them with the Institute’s mantra – “We Are Nurses and We Can do Anything!®” This is very rewarding to me. My CLNC business and my confidence gave me the freedom to create, organize and chair my church’s program to relocate refugees from Hurricane Katrina.
I finally have the freedom to dream. The biggest change in my life since becoming a CLNC consultant is having the freedom to live my dreams. Can you say “bright red Mazda Miata”?
I work when and where I want; I go to bed and wake up when I want; I take a vacation or a day off to be with my family when I want. Most important, I have the freedom to find out who I want to be and then do it.
Did I Have Obstacles to Overcome?
Absolutely! Fortunately, I’m not alone. This is the only business I know of that provides me with my own cheerleaders and experts – the Institute and the CLNC Mentors.
When I completed the CLNC Certification Program, I started preparing my promotional packets for attorneys and news releases for the media. As soon as I found out I passed the CLNC Certification Exam, I sent out my promotional materials. After receiving my news release, a TV station called and asked if they could interview me on one of their programs. I was scared to death. I was nervous about making mistakes, but I found that when you’re passionate about something and when you know that what you’re doing is right, it doesn’t matter.
The first challenge I ran into was the need to correct attorneys’ misperception that they had to work with a local Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. I also had to inspire their confidence in using me. This was why I went on TV, spoke to professional and community groups and began a newsletter which is now received by 250 attorneys.
My biggest obstacle was believing that when an attorney was slow in responding, I was doing something wrong. That undermined my self-confidence until I learned that such delays were not “all about me.”
For example, the first attorney I called wanted me to attend an IME for him and promised to call later in the month when he was ready. He never called and never responded to my letters or phone calls. I was devastated and just knew I’d blown it. A few months later, I ran into him at a legal conference, and he said, “You know that IME I needed you for? You’ll never believe this, but the client died, so I didn’t need you after all.” Learning that it’s not about me has been my best and longest-lasting lesson ever.
What’s My CLNC® Business Like Now?
During my first five months in business, I worked on getting a few good clients so I could develop experience and build my portfolio of quality work product. In my first year I handled 21 cases from 12 clients. The cases included medical malpractice, personal injury and criminal.
To get around the attorneys’ gatekeepers, I discovered ways to meet attorneys away from their offices, such as exhibiting or doing a presentation. In addition, I periodically visit local law firms and bring fresh baked goods to the gatekeepers. We all know everyone loves treats.
In the last three months I’ve replaced my nursing salary through my CLNC work. With my business increasing, I’m using CLNC subcontractors more. Because I took the time early on to develop my work product standards, I’m able to maintain high quality and consistency in my signature product.
I achieved my success because I followed the Institute’s wise advice. It isn’t hard. Just add your enthusiasm and optimism to their formula, and you’ll soon be living the life of your dreams with confidence and freedom. It works!
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