Certified Legal Nurse Consultants Share How They Overcame Their Deepest Fears to Launch Their CLNC® Businesses – Part 1

Read Part 2.

The CLNC® Pros share how they overcame their deepest fears about becoming Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. While each CLNC consultant’s story is different, the overwhelming message from all is that it’s okay to feel the fear but success only comes by fully embracing it. I personally love what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do the thing you cannot. You must.”

I wasn’t fearful of becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, rather I was excited about a career that challenged my intellect and pushed me beyond the traditional nursing boundaries. I enjoyed working with attorneys and found that I could really work my passion for educating those who didn’t understand the “world of long term care.” The fears came after I started to succeed.

After working part time as a CLNC consultant for over two years, I was really feeling stretched. Each week, I was receiving 40 hours of work as a CLNC consultant and still managing to hold down my full-time position as director of nursing (DON). In retrospect, I guess it must have shown, because my attorney-client called a meeting where he told me, “Suzanne, you have to make a decision…DON or CLNC consultant!” Wow, this was the impetus I needed. Now, my fear was that I’d lose my attorney-client if I didn’t leave my full-time job. Needless to say, a few short months later, I hired a CLNC subcontractor and became a full-time CLNC consultant. It was interesting, because now, my fear became the loss of the “employer security blanket.” Now I was the employer and the employee!The advice I give to RNs who want to become CLNC consultants and to new CLNC consultants, is to “embrace your fear.” Think about the fears you faced during nursing school. I think every RN can recall the first patient bedside they approached. That recollection brings a smile or a story to mind. All RNs conquered the fear of caring for their first patient.

Fast forward to the present; the prospect of facing something new, something challenging. When you acknowledge your fear, own it. It is only then that you can begin to change it, break it or turn it into power. That power will be the force that will allow you to face the challenges as you create your CLNC success.

I thank the Lord and count my blessings each and every day for my family and life partner. It was my father who first encouraged me to become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and that encouragement, affirmation and reaffirmation has remained a steadfast force throughout my CLNC career. My life partner has also stood by and worked alongside me each day. His stamina and spirit are another source of strength for me to lean on during the challenging times. Vickie’s mentoring, guidance and support has made a huge difference in my ability to manage my CLNC business. I appreciate all of you!

Suzanne E. Arragg, RN, BSN, CDONA/LTC, CLNC

I had a number of fears about becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. First, I was afraid that I would not get any business and not be able to support myself. Even after I started getting cases, it took me a while before I was willing to let go of my security blanket and stop doing the home care visits which guaranteed me a certain amount of income. I was also afraid of “being wrong.” I was hesitant at first to definitively give my opinion to my attorney-clients, for fear of “making a mistake.” I began to realize I needed to be more confident (or at least appear so!) by not being afraid to state my opinion and then stand by it without wavering. After working at my CLNC business for a year, I went to my second NACLNC® Conference. At that time, Vickie asked the group to step up to the plate and take the risks involved in being a full-time CLNC consultant. I went to the microphone and stated in front of everyone that I was going to take that leap of faith. I went home from the NACLNC Conference and stopped doing home care visits. I was scared, but just bit the bullet and went for it! I have never regretted that decision. I would tell any RN considering legal nurse consulting that I have never regretted it and never looked back.

There are some old clichés that come to mind. One is “feel the fear and do it anyway,” and the other is “no pain, no gain.” The fear and pain were equivalent. I wasn’t so scared of starting something new as I was of being on my own without a “lifeline.” Now, of course I view my CLNC business as my lifeline. I advise any Certified Legal Nurse Consultant starting this business to push through the fear and the scary feelings, and really start working the business. I advise new CLNC consultants not to let the details bog them down or allow them to become an excuse for not really working the business. The people in my life were always supportive of my new CLNC business. I was divorced at the time, but my adult daughters and my friends were supportive and encouraging. Many friends introduced me to attorneys or gave me names to call. I felt like everyone around me was cheering for me and wanted me to be successful. They listened to my frustrations, and encouraged me to continue. It helped tremendously to have that support system.

Dale Barnes, RN, MSN, PHN, CLNC

My deepest fear about becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant was whether or not I could sell myself to attorney-prospects and actually ask for the money I was worth.

Nurses are not used to being treated like professionals and getting out there and selling ourselves. We apply for a job in a hospital that is desperate to hire nurses and we stay at our 7-7 job day in and day out.

How can I go into an attorney’s office and tell him he cannot live without me? I found out that I can do it. I confronted my fears and found that the attorneys treat me like the professional I deserve to be treated as. They welcome me and they make me feel like my CLNC services and I make a difference. We do!

I overcame my fears by talking to my colleagues. I spoke with a CLNC Mentor who helped me realize that I had nothing to be afraid of and I could do anything I wanted to do. She even used Vickie’s encouragement I now live by; “I am a nurse and I can do anything.” My friends and family all told me I could do it. I had the personality to get the work and to be successful. And, I am! The advice I have for my RN colleagues is, “Go for it! Don’t be afraid. We are worth every penny we charge and we can be as successful as we want to be.” Remember as Vickie says, “We Are Nurses and We Can Do Anything®!”

Nikki J. Chuml, RNC, FMC, PRN, CLNC

I had no fear of becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant prior to attending the Institute’s CLNC 6-Day Certification Seminar eight years ago in Philadelphia. Before attending Vickie Milazzo Institute’s seminar, I found myself suffering from what I now term “professional bradycardia.” What I needed back then was a good old-fashioned high-voltage shock of professional excitement in order to throw me back into RSR (regular success rhythm). I received such a jolt during those six days. I had no fear after completing Vickie’s seminar.

No fear for me until I returned home from the Vickie Milazzo Institute seminar. But then as a brand-new CLNC consultant, I became petrified just thinking about getting my first case. I thought to myself:

  • Can I do this?
  • Will I make a huge mistake that will cost someone millions of dollars?
  • Will I make a fool of myself?
  • Will I overlook something in the medical record that will turn out to be devastating to the client or to myself?
  • Will this new legal jargon that I just learned ever become second nature to me like medical jargon did a quarter century ago?

The more questions like these that I kept throwing at myself; the more I convinced myself that I was not cut out to be a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and that I should have stayed in my secure little nursing cocoon as a night nursing supervisor.

Then a year and a half after becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I finally sent out seven marketing packets and prayed to God that no attorney would call me. Instead several attorneys called me and I obtained my first case, then another and another. This all happened just two weeks after sending out my first seven marketing packets.

Looking back, I asked myself why I waited a year and a half. The answer was clear. It was fear; the fear of getting my first case. As I worked on those first three cases, it became crystal clear to me that Vickie had taught me well because after I completed those three cases the attorney said to me, “Larry, you should be charging more for work products like these.” It seemed to me, after hearing that type of comment from an attorney-client who I hardly knew, that Vickie not only trained me well but the training I received from Vickie stuck like glue in the recesses of my gray matter. It stuck because I found Vickie to be the best instructor ever in my entire nursing career – bar none. I learned a valuable lesson during that year and a half of petrification and the lesson I learned was, when you are trained by the best just Go Do It!

Now of course nothing in life is simple and when you inject dream squashers into the equation of doing something new it can be downright frustrating. You know what a dream squasher is; it’s a person or persons (they usually come in herds) who try to convince you that your new idea or goal to become something new (in my case to become a CLNC consultant) will never amount to anything except disappointment. These squashers can be family, friends, peers and yes, even spouses believe it or not. But don’t let the dream squashers win. They are easily handled. You simply thank them for their point-of-view and concern, and then turn a deaf ear to the rest of the garbage they spew your way. Now that doesn’t mean you stop caring for them or associating with them or stop loving them, you simply turn them off when it comes to them trying to sap the energy and enthusiasm you feel for your new CLNC endeavor. I think they do it because they see you as getting ahead and they don’t want to be left behind, thus the phrase, misery loves company. Thank goodness I didn’t let the dream squashers get to me. If only those dream squashers could meet the eight wonderful CLNC subcontractors I have engaged to assist me in my business endeavors. If only those dream squashers could see us now. Align yourself with the dream makers like Vickie and her fine organization, Vickie Milazzo Institute. It’s also amazing how fellow Certified Legal Nurse Consultants can become dream makers for you as well, if you take the time to get to know them and to see the huge wealth of nursing knowledge each one possesses. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Being a CLNC consultant changes the way that you look at yourself, and when that happens the things you look at really begin to change. That’s how it worked for this old night tour nursing supervisor. In closing, for you nurses out there who are suffering from “professional bradycardia” and are considering becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I say, “Do It and Go for It!” I went for it eight years ago and it literally changed my professional life and my personal life forever and ever. I now enjoy life so much more and there is not a dream squasher in sight. Thank you Vickie for making all my dreams come true. Thank you Vickie for being you!

Lawrence H. Frace, RN, CLNC

Job security was my deepest fear about changing careers to become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. How could I leave a job where I was guaranteed 36 hours a week (and a paycheck) to work for myself with no guarantee of any work or hours? I had jury duty where I served on a trial for two days and I loved the legal process. I decided to see what was out there for jobs where I could use my nursing and work in some area of law. When I researched Vickie Milazzo Institute, I was hooked. I quickly realized that I wanted to learn from the pioneer of legal nurse consulting so I called and requested information about the program. The risk-free guarantee made me decide to “go for it” because if it wasn’t for me, I knew I had a full 6-month 100% guarantee to get my money back. From the beginning, I knew the CLNC Certification Program was the right choice. Having support from my family meant a lot to me also. My husband told me that if this was something that I really wanted to do then I should go for it. My advice is to listen to yourself and if this is something that you really want, then “go for it!” My husband and family were very supportive from the moment I started doing my research.

Dorene Goldstein, RNC, CLNC

Success Is Inside!

P.S. Comment and share how you overcame your deepest fears or congratulate these Certified Legal Nurse Consultants for going for their dreams.

3 thoughts on “Certified Legal Nurse Consultants Share How They Overcame Their Deepest Fears to Launch Their CLNC® Businesses – Part 1

  1. Bravo to all of the CLNC® Mentors who wrote their encouragement in today’s posting! I have to share my story, too.

    I first met Vickie when she came to Milwaukee yrs ago and gave a conference at the Pfister (the P is silent) Hotel downtown. Over 100 nurses were there, and like the energy at the CLNC® 6-Day Certification Seminar, it was so consuming. I went home and purchased the CLNC® Home-Study Certification Program. The box came, and I placed the complete program books on my shelf, unopened, where they stayed from 1995 through 2005. Why? Fear. I told myself, “Self, someday, you’ll open them.”

    In 2005 I was downsized from my job as a Clinical Liaison at a local LTAC and decided it was time. I reviewed the folders that Vickie routinely sent out, and decided I needed the push from others to get going. So, I called and signed up for the CLNC® 6-Day Certification Seminar in Philly, came home did my website, got my office in order, went to a function sponsored by a huge law firm in town and introduced my company for the first time to several of these lawyers, but couldn’t get beyond that point. I couldn’t ask for the sale! So, I signed up for the Private NACLNC ® Apprenticeship in Cape Cod; and came home with 4 cases from attys here that I spoke with during that class! Can we say pumped, boys and girls!

    I did 5 cases in 2006, and the business has been growing ever since. I have 2 on my desk now, (due this wk!) and promises of others coming soon.

    Just this past Saturday, I’ve made the leap of faith and “retired” from the corporate world of SNF nursing to be full time as a CLNC® consultant. Traffic to the coffee pot is minimal. Frustration is gone! It’s a whole new world for me and my family. Even though there are still a few dream squashers out there, I let them be, rather than taking the naysaying to heart.

    Thanks Vickie and team for revitalizing my life and career. Now, I have the energy to help others to a new life, too.

  2. The personal experiences from the CLNC® Mentors in today’s blog are very encouraging. I identify with these feelings of fear, also. Not just any fear, but the petrifying fear of “I cannot do this thing” but knowing I must. My hands would sweat and my mouth would become dry as I would stare at the phone knowing that an attorney is on the other side ready to tell me, “NO!”

    What a tremendous accomplishment to move through the experience of fear going from little self-confidence to even phone an attorney to operate in total confidence at an attorney’s side.

    I think of the personal growth and confidence that has blossomed while I have been building my legal nurse consulting business. Vickie, you are a genius. The CLNC® Mentor program that you have set up to educate and encourage fledgling CLNC® consultants has been so invaluable to me. Because you and they “did this thing” and overcame so many obstacles, I have become a better person and nurse. You all have selflessly shared your experiences and business practices to truly equip us to succeed.

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*The opinions and statements made by Vickie Milazzo, the founder of Medical-Legal Consulting Institute, Inc. are based on her experiences and expertise, should not be applied beyond the specific context provided, and do not guaranty or project actual results. Vickie Milazzo is no longer involved in the operations or management of the business, but is involved as an independent education consultant.

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