Okay, I know you’re thinking my advice is going to be to floss, brush your teeth, wash your face and moisturize, but men read this blog too and I know they’ll ignore at least three of the four recommendations. So today I’m off personal hygiene and onto a strategy that can alter your CLNC® productivity for life.
Let’s face it, no matter how energetic you are, you only get 24 hours in a day. Smart Certified Legal Nurse Consultants put your brain to work when you’re sleeping, not just while awake. As RNs, we know how important sleep is for the body’s physiological maintenance. Sleep can both recalibrate your tired brain and make new connections between important pieces of information already learned while awake. This, in turn, can help you find quicker and better solutions to problems.
Try this strategy: 30 minutes before you go to sleep, consider that one issue in your medical malpractice case or CLNC business that has you stumped. Then push it aside and use the 30 minutes to fully relax – meditate, soak in the tub or whatever relaxes you 🙂 for a full 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
How often do you handle emergencies at your RN job as easily as making the bed? How often do you make split second decisions that are the difference between life and death for your patients? Promise #5 reminds us that if we can do all that, for sure we can do something as straightforward as talk to an attorney and analyze medical records.
In consulting on sexual abuse cases as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant I’m often reviewing many hundreds of pages of records. I’ve learned that the greater the volume of records to review, the easier it is to waste time figuring out where to start and how to begin. My strategy for efficient and accurate analysis is as follows:
Identify the available documents. You may receive documents (either hard copies or on a disk) already categorized into files. It’s helpful to list on a Word® document the following: “I have reviewed the following documents from your office pertinent to xxx case” and then list the available documents according to the name on disk or paper file. Next to the name, list the date or time period covered by that document. Once you have the documents listed, you can review them in whatever order is helpful to you. Other times when you’re consulting on a SANE case you may receive a disk with one file numbering several thousand pages. In that case, skim through to begin a cursory identification of the file contents and list headings on your Word document such as psychiatric hospitalization at [facility] from [date] to [date].
If, like just about all my CLNC® amigos, you’re using Microsoft® Word in your legal nurse consulting business, you’ve probably added a word or two to your dictionary. During the spell check process, if Word encounters a word it doesn’t recognize, it will ask you what to do with that word: ignore it once, ignore it all the time or, best of all, add it to your dictionary. If it’s a word you’ll use a lot – like an attorney-client’s difficult-to-spell last name – you’d simply add it to your dictionary. Once you’ve done that, Word and Outlook will never ask you if it’s spelled correctly again (unless it’s not).
When Vickie Milazzo Institute staffers and CLNC subcontractors complain to me about all of the interruptions getting in the way of their productivity, I usually respond, “Interruptions are work too.” In 2014 most of us rarely have the luxury of working without interruptions. That’s one of the reasons I get up at zero dark thirty – because anyone who would probably be inclined to interrupt me is quietly enjoying a REM cycle and sleeping as late as they can before dragging themselves into work.
Once the world wakes up, and eventually it will no matter what time you arise, this one strategy guarantees increased productivity for Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. The strategy is to “stay in the moment.” Staying in the moment and not thinking about the impending deadline or the 10 other medical malpractice cases on your desk, should be as natural or involuntary as breathing.
Staying in the moment – you are more relaxed. Focusing on the past or the future only contributes to increased tension and anxiety which bring productivity to a standstill. When those low level thoughts involving the past and future interfere with your moment,
I have an excruciatingly hectic schedule for my legal nurse consulting business and I joke with Tom that working 12-hours shifts at an RN hospital job would be a break in contrast to my travel schedule and the frequent 16-hour days. But even when I’m traveling, or launching into one of those 16-hour days, my day always starts with “me.”
I can’t wait to get out of bed each morning – there really is something magical about not having to wake up and roll over to face a “To-Do” list.
Each and every one of us has a dream – something we want to do or be. CLNC consultant, Lynda Whitlow, RN, FAACM, CLNC had a dream – owning and racing thoroughbred racehorses – which as you can guess, necessitated money. In this video, Lynda shares how becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant has allowed her to live that dream.
It’s rare for me to meet a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant who doesn’t participate in Facebook®. Everyone I know seems to take more photos with their phones than with cameras and spend more time pinning images, playing games and trimming their Pandora® playlists than anything else. The question becomes: what happens to all of this when you pass?
Structured procrastination is a very real malady that many CLNC® consultants (or any business person) suffer from. A symptom that one is afflicted with this slow-moving disease is the endless making of checklists and constant interaction with the lists.
My own research has identified that this disease first appeared in the early 1990’s, when a famous motivational speaker encouraged his followers to start their day by making a “to-do” list of everything they needed to accomplish that day and then end their day by making a list of what they didn’t complete. In between, he encouraged them to check off (or add and check off) each item that was completed. The same cycle started over the next day, and the next and the next. Rather than label this compulsive behavior by its DSM-5 title of structured procrastination, I simply call it the “feel good addiction.”
This feel-good addiction doesn’t just infect unproductive legal nurse consultants. Even if you are productive you can be addicted to straightening, organizing, reorganizing and checking off. The feel-good addiction is insidious for those who like to check things off, because you feel good after completing each small task.
Vickie Milazzo Institute is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
The National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants (NACLNC®) is the largest and oldest association of legal nurse consultants.
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