10 Benefits and Perks of Becoming a Legal Nurse Consultant

Based on a national survey of 3,312 RNs by Vickie Milazzo Institute, registered nurses are extremely stressed out – sometimes dangerously so.

RNs who become legal nurse consultants enjoy 10 benefits and perks that nurses do not report in the typical RN job.

Vickie L. Milazzo
RN, MSN, JD

Why are nurses so stressed out? Lack of sleep, long working hours, no time for a proper diet, unsupportive management, unrealistic workloads, no authority and little respect, insufficient compensation… The list is endless. This is the profile of today’s typical RN.

In contrast, CLNC® consultants are independent and have a voice in their role. As such, they enjoy these 10 benefits and perks of becoming legal nurse consultants.

Perk #1: Freedom and Independence

In the national survey nurses revealed that long hours, i.e., 12-hr shifts, interfere with their personal lives and, as a result, they feel out of balance. One RN addresses the impact her RN job has had: “Not enjoying time with friends or family. About to get married and can’t get time off. Feeling like I’m always on call, even when I’m not. Getting texts from my boss at night on my personal time. Constantly getting interrupted when I’m trying to do my job. Always missing out on the important things in life. It’s hell, being a nurse, period!

In contrast, Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Suzanne Arragg states: “For me, being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant is synonymous with the word freedom; the freedom to choose. This freedom delivers the independence, satisfaction and flexibility that a traditional nursing position cannot provide.

CLNC consultant Dorene Goldstein adds: “Becoming a legal nurse consultant gives you the ability to work where you want, when you want. In summer I spend most of my workdays outside working on cases.

CLNC consultant Dale Barnes has taken two month-long trips to Africa and says: “How could I have done that if I worked for anyone other than myself? These once-in-a-lifetime experiences are available to me because I am a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.

Perk #2: You’re Your Own Boss

RNs who become legal nurse consultants have flexibility and control over their lives. You can work as much or as little as you want. You’re in complete control over how things are done and what you accomplish. You decide how to run your CLNC business and the types of cases you consult on.

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Margaret M. Gallagher states: “Prior to becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, the quality of my days, nights and weekends (aka 24/7/365) were dependent on the events, problems and expectations of administration, staff, the MDs and patients. In other words, I had no life.

As an independent Certified Legal Nurse Consultant I plan, control and organize my own schedule. Sure there are times when extraordinary demands come into play, but nobody calls me in the middle of the night demanding my presence at the hospital.

Now I have time to savor the sunrise. I work the hours I want and choose where I want to work. I typically spend November in St. Maarten and February in Aruba and work in the mornings only.

CLNC consultant Debra Good-Zeiner remarks: “Becoming a CLNC consultant has put me in the driver’s seat of my professional and personal life. No holidays, weekends, 12-hr shifts or hoping no one else wants the same vacation week I requested. I have taken control of my life, and that is a well-deserved and well-earned change for the better!

Perk #3: Financial Security

The national survey identified that among the many factors contributing to nurses’ stress, money is one of them, with 40% of respondents feeling that they are not fairly compensated. An additional 44% feel that although they are fairly compensated, they could use additional remuneration.

Considering the critical role that RNs play in our population’s health, it’s heartbreaking that many nurses are still grossly underpaid.

In contrast, Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Marcia Bell states: “While I did not become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant for the money, the financial gain is a bonus I’ve enjoyed. I‘ve remodeled my home and travelled – something I have wanted to do since I was a child. Being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant has given me those perks.

CLNC consultant Jane Hurst points out: “In the hospital, my annual income was a set number. I might get a small increase each year, but there is no comparison to being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. The harder I work, the more I make. I have increased my income substantially each year and I know that my income has not topped out. I have unlimited income potential.

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Camille Joyner adds: “When you become a legal nurse consultant you choose how much you earn. I make more money as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant than I could ever earn in an RN job. In a traditional RN job a 2% or 3% pay raise is the best that will be offered. This changed after becoming a CLNC consultant because my earnings are the direct result of the amount of effort I want to expend. It’s always much, much more than 2-3%.

Perk #4: Respect and Appreciation

Nurses are the ones in the trenches saving lives. Yet, the stereotype of the rude MD or manager berating the nurse is unfortunately more common than one would care to admit.

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Marcia Bell enjoys being “viewed as a professional much more often than I was in the hospital setting.

CLNC consultant Dale Barnes states: “The attorneys I work with appreciate the legal nurse consulting work I do, say thank you and refer me to their colleagues. When would I ever get that response – receiving recognition – from an MD or administrator?

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Millie Mannion shares: “The professional growth and respect for self I have gained is great. Being a CLNC consultant has taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. It gives me a feeling of strength and fulfillment that no other job has ever done.

Perk #5: Less Stress

The stress of the entire healthcare system, whether job structure, caseload, work environment or business infrastructure, is all conspiring to burn out RNs. Many sources have linked such burnout to nursing employment churn, which has led to the nursing shortage the U.S. has been experiencing since the 1990s. The shortage remains significant, with projections of 340,000 to 1 million unfulfilled positions by the year 2020 (Source: Health Affairs, 2007).

One RN says, “No breaks, nothing to eat or drink, peeing one time because you are overwhelmed with your workload.

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Dale Barnes describes: “Before becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, my work life was pretty frazzled. The hospital bureaucratic red tape was always getting in my way.

I never had enough time for anything and was in a perpetual state of stress. My RN job affected my free time and my ability to do a lot of the things I enjoyed doing, including having more time with family and friends.

Becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant changed all that. I began to relax and the stress decreased. For the first time in years I was actually in charge of my own time. Now, my life is much less cluttered, my time is my own, the work stress is gone and I couldn’t be happier.

CLNC consultant Becky Jones states: “Deciding to change the direction of my nursing career came from a place of feeling overwhelmed by my RN job work environment which was negative and oppressive.

I felt it all bearing down on me resulting in anxiety and depression. I read about what a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant was and how to become certified. It was at that moment that I was inspired to change direction. The excitement was similar to what I felt when I graduated from nursing school. I was so happy to see that feeling return!

Every medical-related case I consult on gives me a feeling of purpose and excitement. I said goodbye to the negatives surrounding me and now start each day knowing that I’m in control.

Perk #6: Happier

Stress and interference with personal life contribute to unhappiness among RNs. In contrast, RNs who become legal nurse consultants report being happier.

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Dorene Goldstein states: “I was working full time at the hospital as well as taking care of a husband and three kids. I managed to attend various events my kids were involved in, but sleep was almost nonexistent and I felt as though I was just going through the motions and not really enjoying anything.

When I first went full-time as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I was going about my business making dinner while my kids were at the counter doing homework. My daughter, Abby, looked up at me and said, ‘Mom, do you like your new job?’ I asked her why she was asking that question and she said, ‘You’re so much happier now!’ I agreed – working from home really helped me become a calmer, happier mom!

Becoming a legal nurse consultant has made all this possible.

Perk #7: Healthier

Long hours, poor diet and lack of sleep are the norm for RNs.

CLNC consultant Susan Schaab shares how even her health improved when she became a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. “As nurses we can do anything and eat anything! I never met a cake, brownie, doughnut, pie or bread I didn’t want to indulge in. Thursday was sticky bun day in the cafeteria. Why does a hospital sell an 880-calorie treat? On the unit, we had an endless number of birthdays that were celebrated with pizza, cake and ice cream. I frequently ate sugary treats when I was tired. On a bad day I would roll from treat to more junk food and back to treat, all while working with obese, diabetic patients.

My goal was to market to partners of national law firms, so I became part of my business plan. This helped me to make my health and appearance priorities. I became conscious of when and what I ate. I focused on eating protein, fruits and veggies. Sweets and baked goods were now reserved for truly special occasions.

I started working with a personal trainer several days a week and worked out five to six days a week. It was amazing to see my muscle definition return at age 53 and say goodbye to the jiggly butt and fat jeans.

Perk #8: Professionally Challenged

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Jane Hurst states: “As a hospital employee, I took great pride in my work, did everything to be the best I could be and provided the best nursing care possible. After a few years, I felt like I was no longer learning, and my job became monotonous. I have been a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant for nearly 25 years and have never felt one moment of monotony. I work on many different types of cases and provide a wide variety of CLNC services. I love learning something new each and every day.

CLNC consultant Dorene Goldstein adds: “Every case is different and there is no room for boredom. The majority of my cases are personal injury for the defense, and they all offer a variety of different issues. Even though the mechanism of injury might be the same (a slip and fall coming out of an uneven elevator), the plaintiffs are quite different.”

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Margaret Gallagher remarks: “I’ve reviewed close to 1,200 medical malpractice cases. What I like best about being a CLNC consultant is the ability to use my nursing experience combined with the passion for lifelong learning that Vickie Milazzo reignited in me.

Each case is unique. My ability to embrace my passion for excellence has earned me respect and appreciation from my attorney-clients. I love the satisfaction of a legal nurse consulting job well done.

One of my major frustrations as an RN was that I’ve often had to do projects and even patient care that I would not grade as an A.

Unlike with patient care, I am now able to spend the quality time I need to efficiently produce that perfect A+ report for attorneys.”

Perk #9: Make a Difference

RNs are wired to make a difference in people’s lives and so too do Certified Legal Nurse Consultants.

CLNC consultant Carolyn Bilodeau says: “While reviewing records for either the plaintiff or defense, I’m conscious of the fact that real people have been hurt and are looking for answers, healing and affirmation. My role as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant is to work with humility, diligence and conscientiousness to ferret out the facts and present them objectively. When I have done this well, I’m proud and gratified about the final results.

Perk #10: No Other RN Job Offers This Many Perks

That’s the best perk of all. RNs have a choice. They no longer have to be overworked, undercompensated, underappreciated and marginalized by the same healthcare system that continues to neglect them.

RNs who become legal nurse consultants enjoy 10 benefits and perks that nurses do not report in the typical RN job.

For more on how to become a legal nurse consultant read:

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