“I wanted new challenges and more excitement in my all-too-routine professional life.”
How I Matched My Hospital Salary in 5 Months as a Part-Time Certified Legal Nurse Consultant*
by George H. Cox, RN, BSN, MS, CRNA, CLNC
*Results are atypical and may vary from person to person.
After 26 years in critical care nursing including 16 years as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), I had become restless again. My CRNA practice provided me with professional recognition, respect within the community and the economic security of a six-digit income. Still, I was not happy. I wanted new challenges and more excitement in my all-too-routine professional life. I had often thought about attending law school. Realistically, however, at the age of 51 and with two children soon heading off to college, a complete career change was not an option.
For years I had seen ads for Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC® Certification Program in various nursing publications, but I did not know what a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant did. One day I came across the Institute’s ad again. This time I called and asked to speak with a CLNC Mentor. My call was promptly returned and my many questions were answered. The most remarkable thing about that 30-minute conversation was the sincerity and genuine enthusiasm of the CLNC Mentor. This turned out to be one of the most significant phone calls of my life. Immediately, I enrolled in the CLNC Certification Seminar.
The seminar was simply fascinating. Beyond the wealth of information and the quality of the instruction, I was completely enthralled. I found the class atmosphere exciting and inspiring. I studied each evening, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. It had been a long time since something had aroused my interest like the idea of becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.
Vickie’s Warmth and Encouragement Sparked My Determination
After the Certification Exam, I ran into Vickie in the hall. I told her how much I had enjoyed the seminar and how determined I was to make the knowledge I had gained work for me. She hugged me, thanked me and told me she was looking forward to someday reading my CLNC Success Story. From that moment on, I became determined to pursue my CLNC business until I had a success story I could proudly send to Vickie.
During the next four weeks, I studied Vickie’s advanced resources. I took notes and created a reference binder. I had faith in my ability to succeed. I had a burning desire to make it work. I hoped I had the courage and persistence to see it through.
Because I already possessed specialized training, knowledge and experience in critical care nursing and anesthesia nursing, I decided to emphasize anesthesiology, operating room, post anesthesia recovery, critical care and emergency care in my CLNC business. While I recognized this choice could limit my opportunities, I felt most familiar and confident in these clinical areas. I set my fees higher than the national average because I believed my specialties could command higher rates. With my busy anesthesia practice limiting my availability for appointments with local attorneys, I decided to also market to established CLNC colleagues who might need my specialized knowledge.
With those decisions made, Southern Nevada Professional Legal Nurse Consultants was born. I mailed out dozens of introductory letters and brochures to law firms and legal nurse consulting firms nationwide. I also used my current anesthesia practice as a stepping-stone, networking for my CLNC business at every appropriate opportunity.
With this strategy, my first attorney-client became my easiest to secure. That one contact has since blossomed into others. Attorneys really do talk to each other.
I Equaled My Top CRNA Income in Just 5 Months as a CLNC® Consultant
Five months after completing the CLNC Certification Program, I had achieved the following:
- Consulted with an East Coast plaintiff attorney on a case involving an anesthesiologist.
- Consulted on a case involving a CRNA for a defense attorney on the West Coast.
- Provided expert opinion in a case involving a CRNA for a government healthcare facility in the Midwest.
- Reviewed a number of records closer to home for both plaintiff and defense attorneys.
- Performed subcontracting work for other Certified Legal Nurse Consultants.
By far, the most interesting and personally rewarding case I have been involved in was a medical records review in which I identified tampering with the record.
The best part is I have more work than I could ever have imagined finding so quickly. In order to devote more time to my CLNC business, I recently resigned from an administrative nursing position I had held for years.
Based on a 12-month period, my earnings as a CLNC consultant closely approximates my established earnings as a very well-paid CRNA. Could I give up my anesthesia practice and earn the same amount as a full-time CLNC consultant? Yes, I could, perhaps earn even significantly more. But right now, I want to continue practicing as a CRNA. I enjoy anesthesia nursing and the patients it brings me into contact with each day. Sometime in the future, I will end my anesthesia practice and become a full-time Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. For now, it is just nice to know I have that option.
That is what becoming a CLNC consultant has given me: options. Although I’m extremely busy balancing two careers, I am investing the additional time not because I have to, but because the work is fun. Professionally, I am enjoying my activities more than I ever have. I often think to myself, “They call this work?” I love the challenge. I love the “investigative detective” work. I love the professional recognition for a job well done.
So Vickie, this is the CLNC Success Story you said you’d be looking for. I don’t think either of us thought it would happen so fast. For that, I have one special person to thank: Thank you, Vickie!
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