CLNC® Success Story

CLNC® Success Story: When Is It Too Late to Follow Your Dream? Never

I suppose I’m not your typical Certified Legal Nurse Consultant as I waited seven years after completing the CLNC® Certification Program before finally jumping in. I received my CLNC Certification in 2011, and I even dabbled my toe in the CLNC waters, including a six-month relationship with a disability attorney before he retired. But my 20-plus years as an obstetrical and neonatal nurse was like an enormous anchor holding me back.

It didn’t help that one attorney-client and I had a gross disagreement. It was a case where antibiotics were stopped too soon and the patient died. An antibiotic review expert said he would have done the same thing, and I agreed. The attorney consulted an infectious disease expert who said it would have been better if the antibiotics had been continued.

The law as it applies to medicine had always interested me. I even considered going back to school and getting a law degree, but now the bitter aftertaste of that case left me wondering if I really had what it takes to be a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Shaken, I withdrew to lick my wounds.

Following Vickie’s 5 Promises Gave Me a Fresh Perspective

It took years for me emerge from that failure. Vickie’s legal nurse consulting training kept stirring around in my head, however, reminding me that even the worst upset is a stepping stone to success. I decided then to step back and reevaluate myself as objectively as possible, including my professional abilities and my nursing career to date. All my evaluations were excellent. I was pleased with what I had accomplished in nursing, and I had done quite well in the CLNC Certification Program. So why couldn’t I make the transition work for me? Eventually, I realized that I had let one disagreement frame everything.

Much of what Vickie teaches applies to more than being a legal nurse consultant – it applies to life. Using her 5 Promises, I decided to improve “me” before I put myself out there again, and this time it would be as a full-fledged, full-time legal nurse consultant, ready to fly. I began educating myself in other nursing disciplines. I moved into a clinical educator roll, which I enjoyed tremendously while also realizing how much this could help me in speaking with attorneys about case specifics.

Leaving My Comfortable Nursing Specialty Broadened My View

Encouraged by what I was learning, and remembering Vickie’s advice to “do one thing daily toward your goal,” I stepped into clinical nurse management. Then three years in the hospital’s clinical quality excellence department opened my eyes to the diversity in nursing. I became involved for the first time in the investigative part of my profession, which was certain to improve my abilities as a CLNC consultant.

Finally, in March of 2018, I analyzed myself again and knew it was time to step out. I recalled how gung-ho with excitement I’d been after gaining my CLNC Certification from the best legal nurse consulting program – Vickie Milazzo Institute. The fact that Vickie was both a nurse and an attorney had figured strongly in my decision, and every moment of the course had proved me right. Now I embraced my accomplishments, including all my nursing school education, my CLNC training and my recent skills honed from three years in quality management.

The time had come. I was the best “me” I could be as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. I was ready.

One Important Word I Learned From Vickie Saved Me

Keeping my full-time nursing job, I began to market my skills again as a CLNC consultant. I was able to build a strong relationship with two attorneys at a large firm. My confidence continued to grow as I worked on case after case, turning out excellent work product and drawing the attention of other attorneys in the firm. Then suddenly I faced the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.

A principal firm in town offered me a salaried position. This was the firm any Certified Legal Nurse Consultant would most want to be a part of. I was floating on air – until I realized the salary being offered was not what I wanted.

A word Vickie had stressed during my training gave me the strength I needed at that moment: patience. I would not underprice myself. With appropriate expression of gratitude, I rejected their offer.

Stepping Out in Full Confidence, I Advocated for My Profession as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant

In October of 2018, I cut the nursing anchor loose and plunged into my CLNC business full time. By February of 2019, I had surpassed my nursing salary. The stunning proof that my approach was on target, and the exalting moment for me, arrived when the law firm I rejected came back to me and engaged my services on my terms.

Yes, I lost my confidence for a while and spent seven years regaining it, but from here, my CLNC business will only grow stronger and more successful.

Leanne Sells, Guest BloggerGuest Blogger Profile

Leanne Sells, BSN, RN, CLNC is the owner and president of Legal RN Review, LLC in Savannah, Georgia. Her clinical expertise includes high risk obstetrics and quality/risk management. She consults on medical malpractice and personal injury cases.

P.S. Comment here to congratulate Leanne on her CLNC Success.

P.P.S. Read more CLNC Success Stories and send your CLNC Success Story to [email protected].

14 thoughts on “CLNC® Success Story: When Is It Too Late to Follow Your Dream? Never

  1. Thank you for sharing! Truly an inspiration! Congratulations on going full time. This is especially insightful for me as I had many naysayers say you’re not going to get that income in the south. (I am from south MS).

  2. Congratulations Leanne!

    Your CLNC® Success Story was exactly what I needed to read right now. It has been three years since I completed my CLNC Certification. I haven’t given up yet. You have motivated me to try even harder.

    Thank you,

  3. Hello Leanne. It was very encouraging for me to read your CLNC® Success Story. I enrolled in the CLNC Certification Program in August 2018, and had to clear a lot of hurdles along the way before I told myself enough is enough. It’s not the hurdles but my own doubts that was holding me back. So I decided to finally take the plunge and complete the CLNC Certification Program. I’m happy its done and the next step is to complete the NACLNC® Apprenticeship and be on my way. Reading your story has given me this little extra push I needed to take this move seriously.

    Thank you,
    Cheryl Alphonso

  4. This sounds familiar to me too… I took Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC® Certification Program about the same time, passed the Certification Exam and never pursued consulting as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, I was going through a divorce, buying a home and changing jobs all at the same time. Now I’m looking for the next phase of my career.

    Thank you for giving me a kick in the rear. I needed this!

    Congratulations to you!

  5. I congratulate you tremendously on your courage to step out after such a long time of contemplating what next after the initial “failure”? I’m at this time in the same predicament and have been encouraged by your story. Thank you.

  6. Congratulations Leanne. I am in a somewhat similar situation. I took Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC® Certification Program 5 years ago. I am working full time now as a Nurse Care Manager as I am the major bread winner in my home. Wondering how you were able to market yourself while working.

  7. Leanne, thank you for writing this. I feel as if you are telling my story as well. I committed to full time legal nurse consulting in May of this year 5 years after completing my CLNC® Certification Program with Vickie Milazzo Institute. Her words keeps resonating in my head as my confidence continues to grow.

    I’m not sure where you are in building your team of associates from different areas – but I need an obstetrics nurse in my circle. If you are interested in subcontracting these cases as I come to them, please send me a copy of your CV or resume and a work sample. I’m in NC – close enough to work together – different enough to complement. My area is LTC and management.

    Houston & Associates Legal Nurse Consultants
    27 Doss Rd
    Mt Airy, NC

  8. Congrats Leanne! You inspire me! Wishing you blessings and continued success.

    Thank you,
    Cathy Sullivan RN, BSN, MA, CLNC

  9. Congratulations Leanne! Your experience is so insightful and encouraging. I haven’t done anything yet with my CLNC® Certification. Reading your post definitely provided me the inspiration to start moving!

  10. Oh Leanne, so glad you shared….and all who replied!!! I am struggling with my path too and didn’t know there are others with difficulties like yours, mine and others. I am a nurse of 36 years and retreated to a position of non-clinical duties, but still love what I do, but I can concur with this as an anchor as well. I am arranging to establish my business and clarify my first attorney employ…I am scared to death, but feeling inspired! I desire to work for other Certified Legal Nurse Consultants part time as well and looking forward for that experience. Thanks again for sharing!!!

  11. Thank you so much Leanne, for sharing. I became a CLNC® consultant in 2008, 40 years nursing experience, but still tied to the anchors. Hoping this summer to make a change. All the best to you and everyone!

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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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