The 3-Draft Rule for Legal Nurse Reports

The 3-Draft Rule for Legal Nurse Reports

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the social temptations and distractions of life have slowed to a crawl. Theatres and some of my favorite events have not yet reopened. All I can say about this whole experience is that the fun never ends. 😊 LOL.

Like me, Certified Legal Nurse Consultants are finding they have an abundance of spare time to concentrate on the legal nurse reports while subcontracting toilets to less busy family members. During this period, you might be tempted to use your extra free time to make your legal nurse reports more perfect than they already are, but giving into that temptation would be a mistake. Three drafts for most legal nurse consultant jobs is good enough. Any more than three drafts and you’re probably wasting both your time and your attorney-client’s money.

I learned this the hard way. Years ago, everything that left my office had to be perfect. I confess I’ve spent reams and reams of paper drafting, printing, proofing and reprinting reports, email and other business communications. On any given day you could find an entire herd of angry Loraxes lying in wait outside my office to avenge the rain forests lost to my drafts and redrafts. Sometimes a report had more rehearsals than a Broadway musical.

Even when I didn’t have an abundance of time, I found the time to make sure every word was in the right place, every comma and semi-colon used correctly, grammar and sentence structure perfect and that my reports stressed exactly what I wanted to say. A big milestone in my legal nurse consulting business came when I recognized that when it came to reports, “good enough is really good enough.” It was a hard habit to break, but break it I did.

I can’t say that I came to this epiphany on my own. When I passed the Texas State Bar Exam (with a respectable score) my favorite attorney-client’s only words of praise were “Milazzo, you studied too much.” Certainly my personal standards kept me to that level, but a lot of my fellow students were happy to get the old “7-oh and go” to pass the exam and enter the job market. By the way, the same holds true for the CLNC® Certification Examination – you don’t need a perfect score to be a perfect Certified Legal Nurse Consultant – pass the exam and get to work. Making a living is much better than making ready to make a living. Just sayin’

Think of your own experiences of moving from LPs to CDs to MP3s, Blue-Ray® DVDs to streaming video, hard back books to Kindle, digital cameras to iPhones… the list goes on and on. Sometimes good enough is better. The day I realized my report didn’t have to pass a Level 4 Cambridge Advanced English grammar test to meet the attorney’s needs wasn’t just good for me, it was good for my attorney-clients too. Attorneys come in all shapes and sizes and their needs are different. The same scholarly thesis doesn’t work for every attorney. Suddenly I found the freedom to deliver what was needed within a timeframe and cost that met the attorney-client’s needs. My productivity skyrocketed and my legal nurse consulting business soared.

While you do want to ditch perfectionism, your legal nurse reports can still benefit from the extra time COVID-19 has afforded you. When you finish writing the first draft, put it aside for a day or two. This gives you ample time to process the case and allow new thoughts about the issues and your opinions to surface.

Wait a day (or two), pick up the draft report and proof it again. During that second review, and while you’re making corrections, make sure this is really the analysis you want and that you’re satisfied it will meet the attorney’s needs. When you’ve completed draft two, put the report aside for another day or two. When you work the third draft make any necessary corrections and edits and then let it go.

You can always draft yourself to death (I know because I’ve done it). There’s little gain for you or the attorney. Trust me on this one. Get the report done, get it off your desk and get onto your next legal nurse consultant job. Three drafts really are good enough.

Stay safe and stay healthy,
Vickie
Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD

P.S. Comment and share how you effectively reduce the number of drafts for your legal nurse reports.

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