“Are you confident, curious, analytical, accountable and a contributor?
If you answered yes to these 5 personality traits, you’re the right fit to become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.”
– Vickie L. Milazzo
RN, BSN, JD
Consulting with attorneys is more than the ability to analyze cases. It’s also about fitting in, and feeling comfortable in the world of trial attorneys.
Every successful Certified Legal Nurse Consultant is different in education, experience, nursing specialty and career path. While all successful legal nurses have unique personalities, they all possess 5 distinguishing personality traits.
As we address these 5 distinguishing traits, ask yourself: “Do these 5 personality traits describe me?” If you answer Yes, legal nurse consulting is the right fit for you.
Personality Trait #1: Confident
To become a legal nurse consultant you must be confident. Confidence is the consciousness of one’s own strengths. It’s the belief that you will act in a powerful and effective way. And, it’s accompanied by a state of mind marked by freedom from uncertainty. Trial attorneys are bursting with confidence and challenging you can even be a sport for them if you show up without confidence.
You have to know who you are and what you have to offer attorneys, however confidence is less about who you are and more about who you believe you are.
Confident legal nurse consultants are positive about the now, and don’t fret about tomorrow. Being thick-skinned is an asset – it helps keep you positive in the toughest of situations.
You can learn how to become a legal nurse consultant simply by expanding your confidence with these two strategies:
- Give your past successes an encore. You save lives and have countless successes every day. Bring those past successes into your future encounters and they will infuse you with the confidence you need to consult with attorneys on medical-related cases. When I obtained my first attorney-client I knew that if I could consult with one attorney, I could consult with two. When I obtained my second attorney-client I knew that if I could consult with two attorneys I could consult with four.
- Detach from the outcome. Confidence isn’t dependent on outcome, but fear is. Attempt something where it’s okay if you fail and fear will hold less power over you. I advise CLNC® students to market their services first to the attorneys they’re least interested in. Then, if an attorney says no, it’s okay and the experience contributes to honing skills and increasing confidence. Dare to care a little less and you’ll surprise yourself with newfound confidence.
Personality Trait #2: Curious
To understand how to become a legal nurse consultant you have to be curious. Curious legal nurse consultants have an inquisitive interest and are infused with a desire to investigate and learn. They like to play detective and to ask, dig and discover. You have to be curious because the medical records don’t highlight and boldface what actually happened. You have to discover that yourself.
To truly have an inquisitive interest you must be open and okay with not knowing all the answers. You must know what you don’t know and, you must recognize when to subcontract with another Certified Legal Nurse Consultant outside of your specialty.
You also have to be willing to challenge your own opinions and everything you think you know. When you challenge yourself you’re more at ease when people challenge you. And attorneys do challenge you and your opinions. They don’t just pat you on the back and say “Thank you, you’re such a smart nurse.” They’re going to probe and challenge so they can get ready for deposition and trial. And you’ll be ready to respond intelligently because you’ve already thought through the issue. Once they challenge you, then they’ll say thanks. When you learn to challenge yourself, you’re so much more comfortable engaging in a challenging dialogue with the attorney and this type of dialogue is where the good stuff happens.
In the CLNC Certification Program we teach you:
- How to dig into the complex EMR to appreciate the questions you should be asking.
- Common questions you should ask in every case.
- Steps to take when you don’t know the answer to an issue.
- The most effective way to challenge your own opinions before the attorney challenges you.
Personality Trait #3: Analytical
To discern how to become a legal nurse consultant you must be analytical. To properly analyze medical-related cases you’re skilled in thinking and reasoning. You’re thoughtful and intentional in how you think through a case. You employ a logical analysis of a case, break down complex issues and are capable of dissecting a problem or issue. You see what’s missing from the medical record as well as what’s there. Attorneys are sharp and require a strong analysis of the case, not just a summary. They expect you to go deep and to take a stand.
One of the key hallmarks of analytical people is they’re relevant and focused. Their legal nurse consulting work product is tight and there’s no noise factor. They don’t go down irrelevant rabbit trails.
In the Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Program, we teach you:
- The elements of analyzing a case.
- How to get beyond a superficial analysis to a report that is rich with layers of both basic and advanced information.
- How to tackle complex cases with ease.
- How to avoid going down rabbit trails that waste time and money.
- How to challenge the credibility of documentation in the medical record.
- How to think like the opposing side to better prepare the attorney.
- And, how to present the case (verbal opinions and written reports) the way attorneys want to be communicated to.
Personality Trait #4: Accountable
It’s impossible to learn how to become a legal nurse consultant without the willingness to be fully accountable. For successful legal nurse consultants, incentive and drive comes from accountability to self. They don’t need someone to look over their shoulder or tell them what to do. They’re self-motivated. You must be able to manage yourself, get yourself organized and get things done. You understand that being busy is not the same thing as being productive. With all of the nonproductive distractions available to us, accountability is a distinguishing factor for success.
Accountable legal nurse consultants like to buck-up and handle anything that comes their way more than they like to be coddled.
You also make your legal nurse consulting business accountable to you by tracking and measuring efforts, actions and results – anything that gives you insight into your legal nurse consulting business.
Tracking and measuring are the only ways you can be intentional in your actions. For example, only when you can track the specific services you provide to each attorney-client, can you put intention behind the opportunities to provide the additional CLNC services you haven’t formerly provided.
What gets measured gets done. Without proper metrics your legal nurse consulting business is like a ship without a compass – it’s directionless. Metrics are the accountability GPS to ensure you manage your CLNC business as a business, not just a hobby.
In the CLNC Certification Program we teach you:
- Strategies for effectively managing yourself.
- How to avoid feel-good addictions that distract you from your CLNC business.
- How to organize your business.
- How and what to track and measure in your legal nurse consulting business.
Personality Trait #5: Contributor
To learn how to become a legal nurse consultant you must be enthusiastic about being a true contributor to attorneys. A contributor helps and benefits others. At the end of the day, it’s not about you; it’s about the attorney-client. You have to anticipate the attorney’s needs and service those needs.
You’re service-oriented and offer a seamless experience from beginning to end. Your attorney-client feels he got more from you than he paid for (and not because you underpriced yourself). The attorney is a better attorney because of you.
You’re adaptable, but also assertive in how you serve attorneys. You’re not a doormat. You’re comfortable collaborating and probing, which is the only way you can make a genuine contribution to the case.
You have authentic gratitude for attorney-clients, so it’s easy to give of yourself. Your focus is not on how hard the day was — you’re thinking how you can’t believe the day is already over because you’re so engaged. You don’t fret over how hard the case is — you’re thinking how you love a good challenge. You don’t complain about how unreasonable the deadline was. You’re impressed with how you’ve successfully pushed your endurance. You’re not envious of how much the attorney made on the case — you know and appreciate that the attorney’s success is your success.
William Ward said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” When you have gratitude you don’t have to work at contributing. It’s a natural extension of self.
In the Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Program we teach you:
- What superlative service looks like to trial attorneys.
- How attorneys expect to be serviced.
- How to be a professional consultant, not an assistant.
Are you confident, curious, analytical, accountable and a contributor?
If you answered yes to these 5 personality traits, you’re the right fit to become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.
For more on how to become a legal nurse consultant read: