Developing My Expertise as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Is the Key to Growing a CLNC Business*
by Erika Aguirre, RN, BSN, MSN, CLNC
Going into my first case, with Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC Certification Program training fresh in my mind, I was fairly confident. Thirteen years of nursing practice gives an RN plenty of self-assurance around doctors, so I thought I’d do fine with attorneys. And everything did go fine even when I had to tell an attorney his case was not meritorious.
Soon after earning my CLNC certification, I received a case from an attorney to screen for merit. We studied screening medical-related cases during the CLNC Certification Seminar, and this wasn’t my first case, so I knew exactly what to look for in the medical records. I searched and searched, then turned back to the beginning and searched again. My conclusion – the case was not meritorious.
Each time an attorney listens to my presentation and responds by hiring me as a CLNC consultant, I get a thrill. I’m loving it. I’ve had only positive experiences with attorneys and I love that they respect my opinion. Knowing that everyone at Vickie Milazzo Institute has my back and is there to mentor me, provides the confidence to always say, ‘Yes, I can do that for you.’
The attorney had paid a nice retainer and had put his faith in me. How would he feel when I presented my opinion of, “Sorry, no merit”? I studied the medical records again, but this time to support my opinion. I also discussed the case with a seasoned CLNC Mentor to boost my confidence and get a new perspective on how to approach communicating my opinion to the attorney.
I wrote a three-page report on why the case was defensible. Knowing that these were trial attorneys accustomed to asking probing questions, I wanted all my ducks in a row. Finally, I was ready – I could defend my opinion that this case was not meritorious.
Nervous, even with the facts and proof right in front of me, I made the call. “Keep it clear and concise,” I told myself. Using the Vickie Milazzo Institute Case Screening Form to stay focused, I presented my findings.
When I finished the attorney said, “That’s wonderful. Thank you.” I nearly fell off my chair. Having stressed so much over this upcoming dialogue, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing – he was okay with a nonmeritorious case.
Like Vickie teaches, I actually saved the law firm quite a lot of money. Going to court and losing a case is costly, often in six-figure amounts. Because of my thorough screening the law firm knew not to pursue this case. The attorney was so completely satisfied and so accepting of my opinion that he affirmed my confidence in myself and my work product. I’d done a good job.
Nothing Beats Confidence to Impress Attorneys as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant
Receiving such a positive response on a nonmeritorious case, especially when I was so nervous going in, was an excellent experience to have early on. It has made me far more comfortable approaching new attorney-prospects.
My second case was meritorious and as I wrote the report, Vickie’s voice was right there with me, reminding me that I was presenting myself not as a legal expert, but as a nursing expert. Attorneys need my perspective, and nursing is what I know. We’re equals in our different professional expertise. My confidence must have shone through as I presented my report because the attorney was visibly impressed.
After my attorney-client filed a petition he contacted me to provide additional substance and analysis. I was elated. Several months later I continue to be involved in the case working alongside the attorneys. I’m comfortable consulting on this case, seeing it grow and develop, seeing the attorneys take what I’ve presented and use it to solidify their lawsuit. Every time they ask for something new, my training with Vickie Milazzo Institute is right there to guide me – it works.
The Core Curriculum for Legal Nurse Consulting® Textbook, Vickie and the CLNC Mentors Are Always There for Me
Still new at this, my approach is to stay positive and receptive of everything I’m requested to do. I refer to the Core Curriculum for Legal Nurse Consulting textbook as I research and present whatever the attorney needs. My goal is to always provide the best. Not that I don’t get nervous at times, but reminding myself that attorneys are people just like me, and need what I can provide, helps me work through nervousness and focus on the case.
So far, the CLNC services I’ve been contracted for include screening for merit, writing reports and locating testifying experts. It’s so rewarding to see each part play out and have the attorney come back to me for more.
Nurses don’t go to school to learn business and marketing skills, so the challenge of having to sell myself to attorneys was a change for me. Each time an attorney listens to my sales presentation and responds by hiring me as a CLNC consultant, I get a thrill. I’m loving it. I’ve had only positive experiences with attorneys and I love that they respect my opinion. Knowing that everyone at Vickie Milazzo Institute has my back and is there to mentor me, provides the confidence to always say, “Yes, I can do that for you.”
Vickie Gives You the Tools – You Just Have to Do What She Says
Deep down, when you’re considering a career change – putting forth the time, expense and effort – there’s a certain level of concern. Is this going to work? I wouldn’t want to speak for every beginner legal nurse consultant, but I believe that developing my expertise with each new attorney, each new case and even with each potential failure is the key to growing a sound and profitable CLNC business.
What would I say to anyone newer than I am? Just this: Get the most out of the CLNC Certification Program, whether you take it Online or attend a Live seminar. Drink in as much as you can. Do what Vickie instructs you to do – one thing every day. You won’t have successes every day, but over time you will build your CLNC business.
Vickie’s CLNC Certification Program gives you all the tools you need to succeed as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. You just have to execute them.
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