When the nasty divorce was finalized, my nursing career was already 15 years behind me. My husband and I owned a horse-training stable during that time, and he was the love of my life, until he wasn’t.
Now I had to start over. Besides my two grown sons, the one positive thing I gained from that experience was a do-or-die determination to succeed. I’d heard about legal nurse consulting and saw it as an opportunity to return to nursing, but on my own terms. I like to think of myself as being smart, which doesn’t mean knowing everything. It means having the ability and willingness to learn new things despite any trepidations.
My mother was a rock, standing by me at every step of my dream, but criticism came at me from fellow nursing professionals who were certain I would fail at this endeavor. Nevertheless, using two traits I feel are imperative in starting a business (I am stubborn and I am tenacious) I registered for Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC Certification Program in October 2016.
In addition to being stubborn and tenacious, I’m also detail-oriented, which I knew would prove helpful in interacting with attorneys. So, despite all the negative feedback, when Vickie told me, “You can do anything,” I chose to believe her.
My immediate goal was to get one legal nurse consultant job and get paid. Living frugally, I was able to reinvest my earnings into my new CLNC business. At first, I followed Vickie’s instructions to take one action step per day. That simple process quickly became a habit, and as I met each objective of small achievements, my goals increased.
After obtaining my first attorney-client, I became more confident in meeting new prospects. The worst thing that could possibly happen is they would say No to working with me, and as I learned in the CLNC Certification Program, it’s a numbers game. Each No was only a stepping stone to Yes.
My favorite marketing strategy is to use LinkedIn. I concentrate on personal injury and medical malpractice plaintiff attorneys, connect with them and send individual invitations to meet with me during a certain block of time. When they respond, I set up the meeting and, with all the confidence and professionalism I gained during my CLNC training, I present my work product.
Fortunately, once I score a one-on-one meeting with an attorney, I usually walk away with a legal nurse consultant job. From there, it’s about doing the best job I can do at each step.
My business income reached $5,000.00, began to double and double again at unexpected intervals. This year, I’m going to blow it out of the water. Legal nurse consultant jobs are coming in like crazy. I recently picked up eight new cases in one week.
What I soon discovered is that being an independent consultant to attorneys is gratifying not only professionally, but also personally. The healthcare system never seemed to care about my success. They only cared that I showed up and put in my time each day as a nurse for the facility. Appreciation came from patients, but never from my employers.
The cases that launched my CLNC career were complicated personal injury cases. They involved motor vehicle accidents (MVA) and clients with pre-existing medical conditions. My objective was to glean from the medical records which injuries were related to the MVA and which conditions were pre-existing. I continue to do some of that work, but now I also have opportunities to expand into medical malpractice cases and develop cost projections of injuries.
I absolutely love the amount of learning I get to do. The cases are all different, which enlists my creativity as I investigate and pull facts together. I also enjoy the people I get to work with. Through the CLNC Certification Program, I made a network of CLNC colleagues and friends who stay in touch and encourage one another.
At present, I’m involved in a brain-injured-baby case. Though not a pediatric nurse myself, I knew something was wrong and reached out to other Certified Legal Nurse Consultants who told me what to look for. I’m still pulling it together, but the more we dig, the more horrible results we find from the medical malpractice.
As nurses, we’re the gatekeepers. No matter how busy we are or how mundane the task, we’re taught to watch for any adverse situation and correct it before it becomes a mistake. As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I’m more aware than ever of the importance of vigilance and my tenacious nature is proving to be quite the asset in my quest for success. The money is good, yes, but to be recognized by my attorney-clients for doing great work is the most amazing feeling.
In the early days, I never thought I would work on so many cases that I’d forget about them. Today, I often have to pull up my files on past cases to jog my memory.
To nurture my existing attorney-client relationships, I meet briefly with them every four to six weeks simply to express gratitude and pleasure in working together. I provide small tokens, such as notepads, coffee mugs and pens printed with my company name. For Christmas, I sent my clients homemade peanut brittle.
Maintaining my current attorney-client base, however, is only one part of my ambition for growth. My goal now is to move onward, from where I live in Amarillo, Texas, to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where most of my business originates. As my CLNC business continues to grow, and work exceeds the number of hours I have in a day, I will expand by hiring CLNC subcontractors who demonstrate the same tenacity and attention to detail I’ve come to appreciate as my own best traits.
Today, I’m in a good place, financially, professionally and personally. When an attorney-client reflects on a positive outcome we’ve achieved together and states, “l made so much money on that case,” l can’t help smiling. In fact, everything about my CLNC business makes me smile.
Guest Blogger Profile
Kaylin Chase, RN, BSN, CNLCP, CLNC owner of Chaparral Associates is an independent Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and Certified Life Care Planner who specializes in life care planning. She consults on medical malpractice cases, catastrophic injury review and expert witness location.
P.S. Comment here to congratulate Kaylin on her CLNC Success.