Shoulder Injuries Killed My Nursing Career – Vickie Milazzo Brought It Back to Life*
by Cheryl L. Bennett, RN, BSN, CLNC
I’m a combat veteran – part of the Grenada invasion – with 30 years in nursing. You’d think I’d be immune to on-the-job injuries.
After leaving the military, I finished my federal career at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. I was also working PRN at a psych hospital. One night three patients assaulted me and injured my right shoulder. When that had almost healed, I returned to work at the VA hospital. In no way was I playing Super Nurse, as I’m prone to do, but while helping six other people lift a patient, I injured my left shoulder.
I’m amazed that I was so afraid of getting started. Vickie tells us exactly what to do – and it works.
That second injury killed my nursing career as I knew it. Workers’ comp settled for far less than I expected, even though I got the maximum amount. The only way to get my life back was to invest that money in myself and in a new future.
Over the years I had seen Vickie Milazzo Institute’s advertisement in nursing journals and thought that someday I might like to become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. My shoulder injury made “someday” come sooner than I expected.
One Magic Pen Later – A Referral Kicked Off My CLNC® Career
Five months after attending the CLNC Certification Seminar, I received a promotional ballpoint pen – bright colors, my name, address and phone number printed on the side. It struck me that this was the only evidence of my being in business. I didn’t even have business cards yet. I stuffed the pen in my purse.
A few days later I ran into a nurse I hadn’t seen for quite a while. We chatted, and I told her about my new “career” as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Embarrassed that I didn’t have a business card, I gave her the pen. “Here’s my phone number,” I said. “We can get together and have lunch.”
About two months after I gave away the “magic” pen, I got a call from a law firm. The attorney said, “You come highly recommended.”
Highly recommended? I hadn’t done a case yet. I asked if I could call back. I panicked about what to say.
“What Would Vickie Do Now?” Inspired Me to Action
Frantically, I pulled out the Core Curriculum for Legal Nurse Consulting® textbook, thinking, “What would Vickie do now?” Everything I needed was in that book.
Vickie said to always get a retainer. When I called the attorney back, I told him the hourly rate and that I required a $500 retainer before taking the case. He said, “No problem.” At this point I still didn’t know where he had gotten my name.
When I arrived at the attorney’s office, the check was waiting. The attorney said, “I need you to locate an expert witness.” I expected him to say he needed a nurse experienced in nursing home care, critical care or emergency. Instead, he said, “This is an excessive force case against the police department. I need someone trained in how to control people who are combative.”
Was he serious? Yes. And he needed this person in 48 hours. “I can do it,” I said, without a clue how I would manage.
He didn’t seem at all worried. “The nurse who gave me your name said you can do anything.”
Now I finally knew who had referred me, the nurse I’d given the pen to, the nurse I’d run into totally by accident. That proved to me what I’d learned in Vickie’s seminar, that people know attorneys. All you have to do is tell enough people what you’re doing and ask them to pass your name along.
I remembered that my sister-in-law has a degree in criminal justice. I called her. She said, “What you want is a certified instructor in defense tactics for disturbed behavior.” She even knew a couple of people who qualified.
Then I remembered a nurse from the VA hospital. Her husband is a police officer who is certified and has won awards in using a baton to subdue. I called him and he agreed to be a witness.
Within 24 hours I had not one but three expert witnesses to fulfill my commitment to the attorney. He was so impressed, his response was, “I want you on my team.”
Four Attorneys Keep Me Busy
Walking through my attorney-client’s building, I recognized other attorneys. I’d seen them on the news being interviewed about their high-profile cases. One of these attorneys stopped by my client’s office while I was there. Two days later, she called me. She had intended to use a nurse she knew on a case, but after hearing about me, had decided I was the better choice. I ended up with a big case on nursing home abuse.
Now the word is out. Every time I turn around, someone says, “We hear you do such a good job. When can you consult with us?”
I work with four attorneys, and that’s keeping me busy. I can handle that many by managing my time well. In only a year I’ve just about replaced my nursing salary – and I earned a very good salary.
I’m amazed that I was so afraid of getting started. Vickie tells us exactly what to do – and it works. When I bumped into my friend and gave her that promotional pen with my phone number, without thinking I was following Vickie’s advice, “Just do it.” The nurse passed my name along with a terrific recommendation, and my career as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant snowballed.
None of this would have happened without the CLNC training. When I was at the CLNC Certification Seminar, still suffering with chronic shoulder pain, Vickie’s positive message came through loud and clear. Even with my traditional nursing career dead, I didn’t have to sit at home moaning, “Poor me. My life is over.” I owe my new life to Vickie, not only to her excellent training but also to the inspiration that comes from just being around her.
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