The Flood Gates Opened After This Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Got His First Case*
by James F. Hawley, RN, BSN, CLNC
As a charge nurse and assistant manager, one of my responsibilities was chart review. I continually stressed the need for thorough and timely documentation with my staff. One day my wife suggested I’d do well as a legal nurse consultant.
Vickie told us, ‘After you get that first client, the flood gates will open.’ And they have. I’m juggling six cases right now.
“You have a good eye for correct procedure,” she said, “and for recognizing mistakes.” She encouraged me to attend Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC Certification Seminar. That was the fall of 2013. I went to the CLNC Certification Seminar with an open mind and was totally absorbed. The younger nurses are so technologically forward that taking the CLNC Online Certification Program is perfect for them, but I’ll be 60 this year, and I learn best in a class with real people teaching me.
The CLNC Certification Seminar is ideal in this respect. Vickie and the other instructors are fully engaged and provide plenty of interaction. Of course Vickie also has an excellent CLNC Online Certification Program for nurses who are accustomed to doing things electronically. The question and answer period, as well as the individualized mentoring after class, were tremendously helpful.
Vickie Taught Us How to Address Challenges
Once the class is over, it’s up to us to build our legal nurse consulting business. Despite the superb training, that was a hard awakening. Time after time, Vickie told us, “If you stick with this, you’ll make it.”
I researched legal nurse consulting in-depth before I got the Sallie Mae loan and attended the CLNC Certification Seminar. Nevertheless, I started to get waylaid by some negative comments. Then I realized the people making those comments were those who couldn’t stand to hear the word “no” and who failed to follow through. When 30 days passed and they weren’t making millions, they gave up. If they’d spent the same time marketing to attorneys as they did complaining, their result would have been quite different. Every new road has its obstacles.
Being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant is challenging. Fortunately, how to address each challenge is built into Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC Certification Program from day one.
Vickie taught us step-by-step how to market (networking, exhibiting, referral, etc.) our legal nurse consulting business. My daughter introduced me to LinkedIn, a social networking site. It’s a powerful way to reach out with a short message. But whatever the method, the key to making it work is by hanging in there.
Being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Is All About Doing the Right Thing
As nurses, we all gain knowledge from different experiences. I was a paramedic in New York City. We had to get to the root of a problem quickly. This became one of my greatest assets as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, closely related to the ability to think outside the box. Once I see the big picture, I’m able to look past what’s right in front of me, dig deeper and anticipate other things that might be happening. What seems to be the problem isn’t always the problem.
That ability has helped me develop my CLNC business and has contributed to my success. When an attorney says “no,” I remind myself that I’m not privy to what’s going on in that person’s mind. What seems to be the problem may not be. That same situation occurs in examining cases. I dig deep, because what seems to be right on the surface may be completely wrong when examined more closely. For me, it’s all about doing the right thing.
In working both sides, plaintiff as well as defense, I’m proactive. I consistently do defense work for a firm in Memphis that represents a chain of nursing homes, most often one particular facility. Wanting to see what their electronic charting looked like, I asked my attorney-client if I could tour the nursing home.
The attorney was impressed and I was happy that I did. Being visual, I looked at their system on paper and saw how they execute their documentation which makes my work product more efficient, and that’s good for both me and the attorney.
Not missing any opportunity to network while in Memphis, I called two attorney-prospects I had researched and left a voice message. “Today I’m here in Memphis,” I said, “and I have a little extra time. Let me know if you’d like to meet.” One attorney called me back five minutes later. “We have some time this afternoon.”
The firm occupies four floors in a building overlooking the Mississippi River, and they stay crazy busy. I sat down with one of the attorneys. She liked my demeanor and my sample work product. She hired me on the spot and sent me two cases.
Vickie told us, “After you get that first client, the flood gates will open.” And they have. I’m currently working with four attorneys in the middle Tennessee area, plus firms in North Carolina and Florida. I’m juggling six cases right now.
Marketing Is as Easy as Talking
Being from a small neighborhood in New York, where everybody talks to everybody all the time, I suppose it comes naturally. I’m not afraid to ask, “What do you do for a living?” Talking to people, carrying my business cards and always being positive that the next person I meet might lead me to a new attorney-client – these are the things Vickie taught us, and they work. My wife kids me, “We can’t go anywhere without you seeing someone you know or meeting someone new.”
It’s amazing how easy marketing is when you look at it as simply helping people. That person you meet will always know someone else who knows someone who might be your next attorney-client.
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