A Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Shares How It Felt to Find the Smoking Gun in an Attorney’s Case

As I embarked on my new career as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I received a case from an attorney and I wanted to do the best job ever. So I reviewed the records over and over until I knew those records like the back of my hand.

I met with my attorney-client to discuss my opinions on the case and as I was sitting in her office going over the events and the records that supported each opinion, I felt as though I was speaking in slow motion and so below her level of knowledge. All of a sudden she stood up behind her desk and yelled out, “What?” I stopped in my tracks and sat there with what I am sure was a blank stare. I didn’t know what I did wrong or what I had said to offend her. She continued, “What did you just say?” I repeated what I had said about what had happened to this patient in a moment of critical care. She again said, “What? Where did you find that information? Show me where it says that.” With trembling hands, I showed her and she ran out of the room. I sat there holding my breath. I was sure I had said something horribly wrong. Maybe I insulted her and didn’t realize it.

After some time, she returned to the room with two gentlemen. I thought to myself, okay, these must be the bouncers and I am being thrown out. The two men sat down next to me. I had the records in my lap and dropped them. I am sure I wasn’t even breathing. Was I blue yet?

The older male attorney started to explain to me that I had found the missing link. I had found the smoking gun. I had found… whatever other metaphors I can come up with. I had found information that was invaluable in the case. No one had found what I had found, not even the MD experts. Oh, and by the way, I could breathe again.

I had found the key to winning the case and we did ultimately succeed in winning. I felt so good.

I now consult with two other attorneys in that firm and also consult for two of their other offices. But on that day, I felt like I could conquer the world. This experience gave me the confidence I needed to keep going. And here I am ten years later still going strong.

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

P.S. Comment if you would like to congratulate Nikki on her CLNC® success.

8 thoughts on “A Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Shares How It Felt to Find the Smoking Gun in an Attorney’s Case

  1. Wow! A great testimonial! It must have been a great feeling to find that smoking gun – kind of like a Sherlock Holmes legal nurse consultant! Was it an obvious clue to you or did you find it because you reviewed the record several times and knew it like “the back of your hand”? That must have been an exciting moment! I hope you are at the NACLNC® Conference in Nashville – I want to meet you! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have enjoyed Nikki’s speeches at the NACLNC® Conference and her encouragement as a CLNC® Mentor has helped me in my CLNC® consulting progress. This story reminds me about how valuable nurses are as part of the litigation process. We have that objective eye that scours the medical records looking for relevant information that many times will just pop out for us while others (like the expert) will read right over it. This isn’t because we are necessarily smarter but because we are CLNC ® consultants and we are reviewing the records efficiently and purposefully.

  3. Tommy, thank you for the kind words. It wasn’t obvious at first, but after reading the records a second time and putting myself in the nurse’s shoes, I could see it plain as day. I like to put myself in the nurse’s shoes and go through the care as if I was the nurses taking care of the patient. What happened, what should have been done, what was missed, etc. Sometimes, hindsight is a wonderful thing and no one could have known that the outcome was going to be so bad. So, that is why I like to go through like I am caring for the patient to see if the mistake should have been obvious. In this case, it was obvious. MD experts don’t usually concentrate on the little things that we nurses do. They don’t have time and most of the time, they may not know what we nurses do at the bedside, so they don’t know what they don’t know.

    Thanks for the great comment and I send wishes of great success your way.

  4. Thank you for sharing your awesome testimonial! It is very exciting to hear about the successes of other Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. Your story is inspiring and gives hope, encouragement and pride in our profession! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Congrats Nikki! As I had a similar experience during a case workup within my CLNC® practice, I can relate to how great it feels to locate that crucial piece of the puzzle that everybody else (including the attorney-client) missed. Sometimes it’s amazing what the trained eyes of a CLNC® consultant can see! I look forward to meeting you at the NACLNC® Conference in Nashville next month.

  6. Awesome!!! Way to go Nikki!!
    Much success in the future!!
    Thanks for sharing your story…it’s encouraging for us all!

  7. Thanks so much for that inspiration. My best friend and I just left a horrible employer. We are signed up for Vickie’s CLNC® 6-Day Certification Seminar, and hope to use our many years of experience toward a fresh start. What you shared is what I want. To make a difference because of my perspective and my knowledge. I wish you the best.

  8. Thank you everyone for your great comments. I am glad to hear there are so many of us out there that enjoy what we do. I hope to see each and every one of you in Nashville at the 2010 NACLNC® Conference. I will be there speaking and joining lots of other CLNC® consultants to spice up our businesses and get motivated to go higher. Vickie and the group are so motivating, it makes you want to go out and do anything. Jan, I can’t wait to meet you at the conference. Please come up to me and introduce yourself as I would love to put a face with a name. I wish you all great success and hope to see everyone in Nashville for a great time and a great boost to your business.

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