Being intimidated by attorneys causes legal nurse consultants to potentially underprice themselves. Use these eight strategies and attorneys will be a lot less intimidating. When you learn how to comfortably engage attorneys, it’s easier to negotiate fees and achieve an increased legal nurse consultant salary.
When you learn how to comfortably engage attorneys, it’s easier to negotiate fees and achieve an increased legal nurse consultant salary.
RN, MSN, JD
Treat the attorney as a professional colleague, not as an adversary.
If you’ve encountered attorneys before getting interested in becoming a legal nurse consultant, the odds are the situation involved was not pleasant – a divorce or a personal injury case. Such an experience can cause you to view attorneys as adversaries. Sherrolyn Lowe, RN, BSN, CLNC shared that the first time she came in contact with an attorney, it was as an opposing witness. Her first reaction was “What did I do? I felt like I was being sent to the principal’s office.” No matter your past experience, appreciate that attorneys work in an adversarial world. That’s their job. Treat the attorney as a professional colleague and you’ll be more at ease in achieving an increased legal nurse consultant salary.
Converse, don’t sell.
Nursing schools don’t include sales and marketing in the curriculums for RNs, so you might be intimidated by the idea of selling yourself to attorneys. Don’t think of it as selling, simply communicate and have a genuine conversation. Sherrolyn reminds us that “Attorneys are really no different than talking to doctors and sometimes an MD is a little cranky. You have to break him out of his headspace, but once you do that, you start having a normal conversation. It gets easier. It’s just talking to the attorney without attempting to hard sell.”
Embrace discomfort as growth.
Put yourself out there no matter how uncomfortable you are. Vickie (“V”) Pettigrew, RN, MBA, CNOR, CLNC said, “I just had to get myself out there to find out that attorneys are not really scary. I’m naturally shy, but the attorneys are real people like the rest of us.” The more you put yourself out there, the more comfortable you will be discussing your legal nurse consultant salary. Until then, embrace the discomfort as a challenge you’re excited to overcome.
Stretch and move out of your comfort zone.
Michele Davis, RN, MSN, CLNC says, “I’m comfortable in my specialty and confident in what I do, but consulting with attorneys is new and that makes me nervous. I have to be okay with that.” Confidence or no confidence, you still have to put yourself out there. Be less vested in the outcome and more focused on meeting attorneys. Each time you put yourself out there it gets easier.
Don’t be frightened of the attorney’s eloquence.
Trial attorneys are master public speakers and it’s easy to feel tongue-tied around them. V shares, “Attorneys are a breed apart. They’re very knowledgeable and know how to get their point across. I’m not used to that. Attorneys persuade and get what they want through language and articulation.” In the CLNC® Certification Program you learn to speak to attorneys in their language by effectively asserting your language as a registered nurse. You deliver knowledge and expertise the attorney doesn’t possess, which sets you up for achieving an increased legal nurse consultant salary.
Model after the CLNC Mentors.
Michele shared, “I’m nervous about what to say and what to do. It’s the actual doing it, worrying if I’m going to do the right thing at the right time.” After working all day with a CLNC Marketing Mentor in the exhibit hall, Michele added, “I feel so much more comfortable because the CLNC Mentor knows exactly what to do. She just steps in and answers on my behalf and I’m learning from that. I’m learning what to say and how to say it.” Mentoring is a benefit of the Legal Nurse Consultant Certification from Vickie Milazzo Institute. Pay attention to the advice of the CLNC Mentors.
Acknowledge past successes and your nursing expertise.
Teena Watson, RN, CLNC shares, “I talk to CEOs. I talk to department heads. I talk to doctors and they don’t scare me at all. But talking to attorneys, I feel out of place.” As a registered nurse you work with high-level people every day. When you’re talking to an attorney, visualize all the high-level people you communicate with regularly, or better yet, visualize the attorney in a hospital gown with his backside showing. Acknowledging past accomplishments and all of the lives you’ve saved will increase your confidence. At the end of the exhibiting day, Teena told me, “Here’s what I found out – all I need to do is smile, talk to the attorneys and answer their questions, then it’s easy. Attorneys are not scary at all. They may know the law, but I know nursing and medicine. That’s the thought that made the big difference in my confidence.”
When you over-talk you say things you will regret later. We’ve all been there. Over-talking makes the attorney feel you’re not a good listener or worse yet, that you’re nervous because you don’t know what you’re doing. Leave some space for the attorney to jump in and participate. Take a moment to come up for a breath of air. The more you engage the attorney in the conversation, the more likely you’re going home with the case.
Incorporate these eight strategies to increase your legal nurse consultant salary by making attorneys less intimidating.
So go ahead, talk to attorneys about your core expertise and then it won’t be scary at all to have the conversation about your legal nurse consultant salary.
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