My Legal Nurse Consulting Business and I Thrive from a Log Home in the Smoky Mountains*
by Myla Snyder, RN, CLNC
I grew up by the ocean. It seemed to me that everyone wanted to come to the ocean, but my goal in life was to live in the mountains. As a kid I used to hike in the Great Smokies, and as a young adult I took a backpacking trip every year.
Despite living in a log home in the mountains, I’m having all the success I’d hoped for as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Attorneys from all over the U.S. send me cases. With today’s technology, it works.
My nursing career started out in the pediatric emergency department of a huge teaching hospital. I made some good impressions there as a critical care nurse in the ICU and later as a charge nurse and head nurse. Management wanted me to move into administration, but I didn’t want to sit behind a desk. I wanted freedom to move around.
I read an ad for a job in medical sales which caught my attention. I applied, accepted a job offer and stayed in medical sales 33 years.
I Couldn’t Have Imagined Being Happier
My job involved teaching doctors, nurses and medical technicians about the new technologies in equipment and drugs, specifically why, when and how to use them and on which patients. As technologies advanced, I was trained on the changes and was always on call for questions.
After establishing my customer base, I covered 100 hospitals in Florida. Later, I moved to San Diego and covered 100 hospitals from there through Orange County, across the desert and into Las Vegas, then moved again to handle all of Tennessee and Kentucky. While making a comfortable six-figure income, I enjoyed the freedom to work at my own pace and choose my own hours. That was my life. I loved it. I couldn’t imagine being happier.
Then in February of 2015, I was notified that the company had been sold. I knew what to expect. The acquiring corporation, having its own sales force, would cut our staff by half. As a senior rep with 33 years’ experience, high income, substantial vacations and benefits, I was a target.
A day or two later, I received information from Vickie Milazzo Institute about becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. I loved the whole idea of starting my own business and especially loved that Vickie had pioneered the legal nurse consulting industry and had created a definitive path to follow. “I could do this,” I decided.
Pesky Questions Didn’t Stop Me
After enrolling in the CLNC 5-Day Certification Seminar and NACLNC® Apprenticeship, I wanted to know what to expect, so I completed the CLNC Online Certification Program. I also recruited a coworker to sign up. We went together, and once again I began to question whether this was the right step for me.
I was 59, getting close to those golden days of doing little more than watch the sunrise over the mountains with my husband every morning. Should I be taking on an entirely new career at my age? Starting a business, getting attorney-clients – that wouldn’t happen overnight. Was this even something I could do at my age?
Walking into the CLNC 5-Day Certification Seminar to see nurses of all ages and experiences, I quickly set aside those pesky questions. I was intrigued.
Going home, after the week of the CLNC 5-Day Certification Seminar and NACLNC Apprenticeship, I couldn’t have been more excited about launching my new business.
Once I Got My First Case Business Soared
While I might be a newbie to legal nurse consulting, I had plenty of experience operating solo. Many of the principles Vickie taught us were already familiar from my sales position. I knew the sort of dedication it takes to be self-sufficient in business, and I certainly knew about marketing myself to get customers. Nevertheless, I followed everything Vickie told us to do.
I sent out letters. I made the phone calls. I sent follow-up notes. One of the CLNC Mentors suggested I join a group, so I joined the Trial Lawyers Association as a sponsor and started going to their meetings.
I had a couple of interviews with attorneys and once I got my first case the gates opened. Everything worked exactly as Vickie had told me it would. I’ve kept my first two attorney-clients and their partners, plus I gained another firm that received one of my marketing letters. The attorneys have been sending me cases and hiring me for various duties for eight months now, which fits my needs nicely as I work toward retirement.
I Manage My CLNC Business on My Terms
I don’t want to expand to the point of missing out on the good things I’ve worked so hard to enjoy. It’s hard for me to let others do the work. Although I’m happy with what I have now, I’m expanding my network with CLNC subcontractors and weighing my options.
My husband and I live in a log home in Tennessee, 25 miles outside of Nashville. It sits on six acres in the country near a river. We have two rescue donkeys and eight rescue dogs. People drop off animals near the river and leave them there to starve to death. I’m a sucker for saving animals and my husband is even worse.
We have a daughter and granddaughter living with us now, and a son only a couple of miles away. I love spending time with my family, traveling, and doing things with my grandchildren. My parents are older with serious health issues, and I want to be available to help when needed. I was able to do those things in medical sales, and I don’t want to give them up as my new CLNC business continues to thrive.
At the end of this year I’ll be 62. I didn’t become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant so I could say I hit a six-figure income; I’ve already done that. I’m making about $60,000 a year now, which is perfect. I’ll start collecting Social Security, and with the income I made in medical sales, I’ve saved up a nice retirement. We also purchased several homes over the years and have rental income.
What’s important to me is the opportunity to use my brain and to stay active in the medical field. I love nursing. I love learning. Being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant incorporates all of that. I get to use what I know, interact with professionals and continually gain more knowledge as I delve into cases.
Being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Is Like Being a Medical Detective on CSI
One case I worked on involved a lady in her early 50’s who had been diagnosed 11 years prior with systemic lupus. She suffered a very low platelet count repeatedly, was receiving platelet infusions and medication, but had gotten to the point where nothing was working.
The decision was made to remove her spleen. This was one of the options for stimulating her platelets to normal levels. Because of her critical condition, low platelet count and chronic diseases, her physicians did not give her an anticoagulant to take after being sent home. She developed a clot in her portal vein, which caused additional complications, and she expired.
The research that I found was split 50-50. There had been a big debate, “Do we give anticoagulants or not?” The answer depended on who you talked to. That’s what I find fascinating about consulting on medical cases – the defense argues one side, the plaintiff argues the other.
This is what Vickie trains us to realize, that sometimes it’s black and white, other times it’s not. The CLNC Online Certification Program was awesome, I learned from that, but I can’t say enough about the value of taking the live CLNC 5-Day Certification Seminar with Vickie, the other speakers and students. It gave me an amazing extra perspective.
It’s a Wonderful Life as a CLNC Consultant
Despite living in a log home in the mountains, I’m having all the success I’d hoped for as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Attorneys from all over the U.S. send me cases electronically and we talk by phone. With today’s technology, it works. Perhaps I’ll retire someday completely. Meanwhile, I like working on my CLNC business while my retired husband plays golf four days a week. I’m not put out to sea. I’m not washed up.
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