International Client Affords This Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Worlds of Opportunities*
by Jane Hurst, RN, CLNC
Eight years ago, I branched out – way out – in my legal nurse consulting business. I landed an international client, adding a new and different service to my CLNC business. In addition to working with attorneys and insurance clients in the U.S., I am also a consultant for an international medical device company.
I received an email from a woman who got my name and contact information through a “friend of a friend” who knew that I was a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.
In addition to working with attorneys in the U.S., I am also a consultant for an international medical device company. I love being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. The opportunities are endless. I direct my own future.
She went on to say that she was with an international medical device company. They were interested in introducing their device to the U.S., but had a lot of questions. She said they (the medical device company) hoped I would help them by answering their questions about U.S. healthcare, medical devices and liability. I remember looking at their long list of medical-legal questions and thinking there was no way I was going to give away my knowledge for free! I responded to the email by saying that I felt that the company could use my legal nurse consulting services. I did not expect to hear back and was surprised when the next day I got an email from them asking me to submit a proposal. I sent a proposal and in a few days I received a reply from the CEO saying he wanted to hire me!
When asked what I do for this medical device company, I am unable to give a short answer because my role is constantly changing and evolving as their needs arise. You won’t believe all the wonderful opportunities this has brought me, and the possibilities of additional involvement are unlimited.
In the beginning, I didn’t have a clear roadmap of what I would be doing, or how I would use my expertise as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Even to this day, it remains a process of injecting my CLNC skills and services into the various needs of the company. Flexibility is the key to keeping any attorney-client happy, and consulting with this medical device corporation is no different.
The device manufactured by my client is a perfect fit for my legal nurse consulting expertise because it is a protective device used to prevent a potentially catastrophic event in the clinical area. There have been multimillion-dollar lawsuits related to incidents when this device was not used.
My first goal as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant was to educate the international company about our U.S. healthcare system. The company was unfamiliar with our complex use of multiple insurance carriers, as well as how those carriers often influence patient care. Their healthcare system is completely different from ours. It was critical that they understood our process and how their device could fit in. They were also unfamiliar with how the U.S. legal system is integrated into healthcare. Initially, much of my CLNC role involved learning about their unique device, how it would be used and providing insight into the safe use of the product. The world of medical devices was foreign to me, so I had to educate myself.
This work has given me the opportunity to interface with many of the leaders in U.S. patient safety. I am involved in making sure that the medical device is used safely according to the most effective safety initiatives. Based on my interaction with the national authorities on patient safety and their input, I helped develop the training materials for the device including a train-the-trainer and video training.
Not all of my CLNC consulting work is behind the scenes. Another CLNC service I provide is speaking with customers about the potential of the catastrophic event and how the device can protect both patients and facilities. I travel across the country to the facilities that already use the device and assist with user problems. It is essential for the device company, patients and healthcare corporations that the device is always used properly. I love being able to work directly with the healthcare providers who actually use the device.
I was thrilled to be asked to serve as a panel member at a meeting in Europe where discussions focused on patient safety and examined changes that would improve the device’s function. This resulted in my involvement in the development of the next generation of the device.
Something else I do is write articles on patient safety related to use of the device. Some articles are written for the patient, while others are written exclusively for medical professionals and highlight the potential deviations from the standard of care. A role I’m most proud of is as a company representative on nursing panels formed to develop recommended national association policies and procedures related to a potentially fatal complication. I have also been hired as a testifying expert in lawsuits.
This is why I love being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. The opportunities are endless. I direct my own future, and I am certainly not alone. Many of my CLNC friends also work outside the traditional CLNC roles. We all agree that when working with companies that don’t normally use Certified Legal Nurse Consultants, you should always brainstorm ways to expand and adapt your CLNC services. If any Certified Legal Nurse Consultant has ideas on how they can use their skills for a company, or even an industry, I say go for it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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