CLNC® Success Stories

I Billed $10,000/Month Consulting Just Part Time as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant!*

by Annmarie Johnson, RN, BSN, CLNC

Annmarie Johnson

I have been a nurse almost 26 years, with 24 of those years working in critical care. For most of that time I loved what I did. However, the last six years have been fraught with increasing dissatisfaction with the nursing profession. I grew (in my old age!) intolerant of the toxic, disrespectful atmosphere of hospital nursing. I had increasingly grown tired of physicians, nursing administrators and hospital administrators minimizing my knowledge, experience and contributions. What else was there to do? This was it, right? But, Vickie’s ads for the Institute’s CLNC® Certification Program caught my attention every month for years. I thought, “That must be nice!”

I love what I do. I feel appreciated and part of a team again. My nursing knowledge is valued. Thank you, Vickie, for giving me the tools, support and encouragement to be a successful Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.

In October 2007, I decided I had to make a move. I hated my job. However, due to circumstances resulting from my husband suffering a work accident, I was financially responsible for my family. I enrolled in Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC Online Certification Program. My goal was to complete the program, and sit for my CLNC Certification Exam by December 2007. Viewing the program and following along with the textbook was like sitting in the auditorium of a live conference. While I didn’t achieve my goal of CLNC Certification in December, I did pass the CLNC Certification Exam on March 4, 2008. And two weeks later, I attended my first National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants Conference.

I returned home from the NACLNC Conference energized and motivated and ready to build my CLNC business. But was I really? It was so comfortable to go back to what I knew – going nowhere in hospital nursing. Sure, I developed and mailed marketing folders, but contrary to what Vickie taught, I did not follow-up. In December 2008, I finally placed a follow-up call to an attorney to whom I had sent one of my marketing folders. We met for lunch the next week, and I left with a case. The attorney was a plaintiff attorney from an aggressive, successful firm. His specialty is construction accidents and products liability. I was a wreck. What the heck did I just agree to do? That same afternoon, I emailed questions to the Institute’s CLNC Mentors, re-read sections of my Core Curriculum for Legal Nurse Consulting® textbook and referred to the many real case reports included with the VIP CLNC Success System.

After emailing the attorney my completed report, he responded, “This is way more than I expected. We need to talk.” Again we met for lunch. He asked if I would “take control” of working to create a visual to use in court as demonstrative evidence of the client’s damages. “Absolutely!” I responded. On my ride home, my thoughts were, “Where do I start?” Then I remembered I had a business card from a medical illustrator vendor that exhibited at the NACLNC® Conference. With a budget of essentially nothing, and a timeframe of just two weeks, I worked with a phenomenal team in Florida to create a 2D presentation of our client’s injuries. The presentation was used during the expert testimony portion early in the trial. On the evening of the fourth day, the defense offered a settlement of $4.5 million.

For the next four months, I continued to work for this attorney part time. His paralegal would email me that there was a case that needed to be picked up. I would develop the case, and, with great anticipation and excitement, wait for the next email. All the while, I was spending most of my time in a hospital position which exhausted me, both physically and mentally.

Vickie’s words resonated in my head: “Go all in.” Summer was approaching, and it was as good a time as any. I emailed my attorney-client, expressing my desire to consult on more medical-legal cases. He responded by asking me to come down for a meeting as he had “an idea that will work for both of us.” I met with the attorney-client, his paralegal and his secretary. He asked me to be his medical-legal coordinator. “Did you just make up this job title?” I asked. “Yep,” he chuckled.

I maintain a consultant status working part time, but completely manage the medical issues of all the attorney’s cases. My most common CLNC services include reviewing medical records and developing chronologies, researching and defining alleged injuries, researching past medical history, calculating pain medication requirements post-injury, working with medical illustrators to create demonstrative evidence, writing comprehensive reports and assisting with discovery. I present possible defenses, and suggest the best expert witnesses. I speak with my attorney-clients at least monthly to just “check-in.” My attorney-clients love this! I also attend trials and depositions.

I took a leave of absence from my job at the hospital for the summer and have not gone back! I worked from the beach all summer! My time was totally my own – I could work at the crack of dawn or after midnight. My goal, by the end of 2009, was to bill $8,000 for one month. For December 2009, I billed for $10,000! And this was just part time!

I love what I do. I feel appreciated and part of a team again. My nursing knowledge is valued. Thank you, Vickie, for giving me the tools, support and encouragement to be a successful Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. As Vickie says, “We are nurses, and we can do anything!®

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*Consulting fees may vary. Results are atypical and may vary from person to person.
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