I have been a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant since 2010 and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had been a registered nurse for 17 years and was a very burned out administrator of an assisted living facility. I was not only the administrator, but also the RN case manager and I was on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In fact, I had spent my entire 17 years as a nurse with the demands of on call responsibilities.
In February 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer which resulted in bilateral mastectomies. I was out of work for four weeks after surgery and found that I simply did not want to return. Although I still loved assisted living, and particularly the residents, this was my first reckoning with the fact that I was burned out. Somewhere between my second and third surgeries I came to the realization that I had to make a change. I gave the owner of the facility a four-month notice in September to allow for finding a suitable replacement for my position. And I planned to walk away from a $95,000/year position with full benefits, in a setting that I loved, and had nothing to turn to. I literally cashed in all of my chips and walked away from the table.
I became a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant in the fall of 2010 and had planned to make this my new career beginning in 2011. But then something interesting happened. The Director of one of the assisted living associations that I worked very closely with suggested that I become an industry consultant to assist other facilities. Realizing that these two consulting roles might play nicely with each other I thought why not? The association began sending me referrals allowing me to generate income that helped sustain me while I set out making connections with attorneys.
In the beginning, I took a variety of legal cases including automobile accidents, disability, and even a college campus sexual assault case. But I soon realized that I wanted to remain highly involved in the industry that I had such great passion for. I also recognized that assisted living litigation was very much on the rise, so I focused my CLNC work for my area of expertise.
Fast forward to 2020, and my CLNC business is booming. I have established myself as a “go-to” consultant for operators in the assisted living industry and provide a variety of services which include mock surveys, regulatory compliance, program development, and quality assurance programming, to name a few. Additionally, I have been picking up more and more legal cases in the industry. My name is becoming more familiar in legal circles and attorneys have been referring me to others, both within their firms as well as to colleagues outside of their firms. And this has been happening with no marketing at all. None. I have not had to spend one penny to promote my CLNC business. I have also had leads come through the NACLNC® Directory and membership in the National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants has proven invaluable.
With the advent of COVID-19, I received a call to assist an attorney representing a facility in New York State. There was a case filed by some residents and resident representatives relating to the COVID-19 response within the facility and it was gaining some very negative media attention. Assisted living has been highly impacted by this pandemic and responding to it has been epic. Despite best efforts, many facilities still had COVID-19 cases enter their settings. Worse yet, some have had outbreaks that have been rampant and extremely difficult to mitigate. Since the New York State court system was shut down due to the pandemic, this case was filed through the federal courts seeking an injunction. It has been very exciting to be able to participate in something so historical and monumental.
Becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and it has been an absolute game-changer. I finally get to live life on my own terms. I am so busy that I can barely keep up. Yet, I can turn work away if I choose. I flex my schedule to accommodate the things in life that matter most to me. And I am making my own life, health, and well-being a top priority.
Last year, I grossed just under $300,000. I have deliberately chosen to not grow my CLNC business. I am carving out a very nice living and controlling how much time it commands of me. Yet, the business keeps growing!
Breast cancer was not life-threatening for me, but it was definitely life-altering, and it drove me to choose to live my life differently. It made me realize that no amount of money could make the burned-out existence I was living worth it. Once I truly understood this, all kinds of possibilities opened up. I am so grateful for this path I have chosen and what owning my own business has given me.
Guest Blogger Profile
Kathy A. Sindoni, RN, BSN, CLNC, owner of Substantial Compliance Consulting Group, has 27 years’ nursing experience and specializes in the assisted living industry. Kathy provides consulting services for industry providers and associations, as well as consulting on assisted living cases for both plaintiff and defense attorneys.
P.S. Comment here to congratulate Kathy on her CLNC Success.