“I feel so good about what I do. I just love it. The cases are so much fun, so interesting and so challenging, I don’t notice the clock. I can work at my own pace and there’s no mandatory overtime.”
You’ll Know It When You Find It – And I Found It as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant!*
by Suzi Sharp, RN, BSN, CLNC
*Results are atypical and may vary from person to person.
I’ve been in nursing for 37 years, so I’ve done a zillion things – medical-surgical, pediatrics, OB/GYN, geriatrics, orthopedics, family practice, home health, hospice care, intravenous therapy and emergency care. I’ve lived and worked on an Indian reservation and even spent a month in Afghanistan. I took early retirement, but after about a year I was ready to do something. Retirement stinks! I considered nursing jobs, but I didn’t want to do that anymore. Plus, I didn’t want to work for peanuts, and the stock market slump had eaten a large portion of my retirement nest egg. I wanted to do something I loved that would pay me what I’m worth.
One day, I told my eldest son, the “artist,” that I didn’t know what to do with myself. He said, “Mom, don’t worry about it. Just lay back. It’ll come to you and you’ll know it when it comes.”
Vickie’s CLNC® Certification Program Cured My “Retirement Blues”
About that time I saw a colorful ad in a nursing publication. That’s when I learned about Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC Certification Program.
I didn’t know much about legal nurse consulting, although I had been deposed and testified as a witness a few times. My main connection with the law was my father. I grew up in a courtroom because my dad was an attorney, and he often took me with him. There wasn’t anything better than going to court and watching him in action.
Vickie’s ad about becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant fascinated me. I requested information and I checked out the Institute’s website, all the while thinking, “This sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?” I talked to my other son, the “practical” stock broker, who said, “What do you have to lose?”
I still had some money stashed away so I went to the CLNC Certification Seminar. I loved the great professional training and I was so glad I did it. I was really excited when I learned I had become certified, because the CLNC Exam was tough. In fact, I’m looking forward to attending the next National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants (NACLNC®) Conference, because with Vickie there, I know I’ll get pumped up, and there’s no certification exam at the end.
A month after attending the CLNC Certification Seminar, I produced a business plan, had a logo designed and business cards printed. I developed an attractive website and started advertising in a local attorney newspaper. I began marketing by calling attorneys, sending out information packets and following up on leads.
About that time, I was invited to go to Afghanistan for a month to help with medical services. I was thrilled and began preparing to leave the country.
Three Cases Started My Success Snowball Rolling
A week before my departure, two attorneys called and wanted to hire me for their cases. Two days later a third attorney called. Fortunately, all of them (three attorneys in three different cities) agreed to wait for me to return from Afghanistan.
When I got back home, I started my CLNC career in earnest with these three cases. One was a huge case for which I eventually reviewed more than a thousand pages of records and earned more than $10,000. I made a total of $25,000 in the next three months, and I was in business from then on.
Other attorneys are now discovering that I offer a valuable professional service. They know I’m thorough, reliable and trustworthy and I take my work seriously. The CLNC Certification Program has really paid off. My legal nurse consulting practice continues to grow.
My Nursing Know-How Makes a Big Difference in My CLNC® Cases
As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, you can generate work for yourself once you learn the medical circumstances of a case. For example, one of my attorney-clients represented a young Native American woman who lived on a reservation and whose medical situation was being judged unfairly. I looked more closely into her records and pointed out some medical issues the attorney hadn’t considered. He told me to find an expert witness to testify to the special circumstances of the case. By following my nursing instincts and asking pertinent questions, I shed a whole new light on the case and generated more business for myself. Most important, I pointed out extenuating medical conditions that warranted a larger financial settlement for the young woman.
A CLNC consultant can make a big difference in a case. By citing medical aspects the attorneys hadn’t noticed, I have just about handed them what they needed to win several cases.
For example, I worked for the defense on a major case involving a man’s alleged sexual abuse of his daughter. The now-adult woman supposedly had childhood memories of the abuse. After poring over the records for 2½ months, seven days a week and most evenings, and reviewing about 1,000 pages of charts, I discovered she was a prescription drug addict and had told different stories about the alleged assaults to different counselors. In addition to my comprehensive report, I wrote a three-page summary of my findings. When my attorney-client read the summary, he asked, “Can you back up everything you’ve reported?” I said, “Of course.” He exclaimed, “Holy cow! We’ve just won this case!” As a CLNC consultant, sometimes you do more than provide direction on the case with your nursing experience – sometimes you have major impact on the outcome.
I feel so good about what I do. I just love it. The cases are so much fun, so interesting and so challenging, I don’t notice the clock. I can work at my own pace and there’s no mandatory overtime.
Vickie’s CLNC® Training Put Me on an Equal Footing with Attorneys
When I was getting ready to retire, I thought, “What a waste not to use the nursing knowledge and experience I’ve gained during the past 35 years.” Now, I not only get to use my knowledge, but I can also increase it. When people ask what a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant does, I usually tell them, “Certified Legal Nurse Consultants get to sleuth through medical charts. It’s like being a detective.”
Vickie gives us the training and insight to deal with attorneys on an equal footing. She tells us repeatedly, “You will know how to do the job.” And she’s right. At first I felt lost, but then I remembered what Vickie says: Attorneys may be the masters of the law, but as a CLNC consultant, I’m the master of the medical chart. As I followed her lead, I not only got the job done, but I also built a lot of self-confidence. I now know how necessary we as Certified Legal Nurse Consultants are and how good we can be for a case.
Soon I’m meeting with a firm that has 40 personal injury attorneys. I’m going to walk in that door thinking, “Just give me a case and I’ll show you what I can do.”
I have tremendous admiration, respect and gratitude for Vickie. She is so genuine and passionate about helping nurses become CLNC successes, and her enthusiasm motivates and inspires others. I also like the Institute’s CLNC Mentoring Program. The CLNC Mentors always increase my knowledge. I just wish I had discovered Vickie’s program sooner.
My son told me I’d know what to do with myself when I found it, and he was right. I’ve found myself as a CLNC consultant, and I can do this until I’m 92!
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