I am boarding an airplane when I see a man sitting in my seat. Having learned that it is best to be assertive in this situation, I tap him on the arm and said, “Sir, I’d like to see your boarding pass.” He reacts to the authority in my voice.
Without objecting he hands it to me and it verifies he should be sitting across the aisle. I glance across the aisle and see a woman sitting in his seat. The flight attendant becomes involved, looks at her boarding pass and establishes that she is supposed to be in the middle seat and the woman in the middle seat is supposed to be by the window. The flight attendant shifts everyone over and I take the aisle seat.
As long as I have my aisle seat, it does not matter me to which side of the plane it is on.
The woman sitting next to me is radiating nervousness. She speaks rapidly and tries to get me to take the middle seat. I gently refuse. I like aisle seats. She pushes harder: “You’re not going to like sitting next to me. I have been traveling all day and I smell.”
With that comment, she has triggered my nursing instincts. I see her as a challenge. I say, “I’m a nurse.” She quickly inserts, “I’m a nurse’s aide.” I conclude, “I don’t smell anything. We’ll be good as long as you are not incontinent.” She laughs, and says, “That has never happened.”
Successful LNCs are positive
As we settle in our seats, she says, “This is going to be the flight from hell.” I glance around. I am puzzled. There are no screaming babies, and there is no one kicking the back of my seat. Those factors make flights difficult for me. I look at her and say, “You need to be positive.” “Yeah, you are right”, she replies.
When I find out she is a nurse’s aide in a nursing home, I ask her questions about low beds and hydraulic lifts. I learn firsthand some interesting things about nursing home aides, like how they are forced by time pressures to use a lift alone. If they stop to get another person to help, as they should, they get behind in their work. But she knows she is violating the rules when she uses a lift alone.
I tell her about a few cases involving patients who fell out of lifts. She hangs on every word.
Successful LNCs know what is under their control
Midway through our flight the fasten seat belt sign comes on. We’re in turbulence. She says, “I want to know what is going on. Why is he putting on that sign?” I am thinking it is pretty obvious why the sign is on, but I say, “There are some things under your control and others that are not.” She calms down again.
Before we land, she is laughing, relaxed, and showing me pictures of her children and discussing her trip to Mexico. As we land, she says, “You’re right, this was not the flight from hell.”
How does this apply to successful LNCs?
1. It is important to be assertive. Ask questions, asserts your rights and wisely handle the money aspects of your business. You must watch out for your needs.
2. Effectively use your nursing knowledge to help your clients. They rely on your communication skills and ability to establish rapport with others. Keep your sense of humor. Life is serious. Look for the funny side.
3. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into negativity. It takes a lot of energy to be a legal nurse consultant and entrepreneur. Don’t get distracted by doomsayers and dream stealers.
4. Use any opportunity to find out about how health care works. Talk to people who have firsthand responsibilities to learn more about their world. Be curious. Educate others.
5. Recognize when you are in control and when you are not. Give control to others when it is reasonable and practical.
6. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. You only go this way once.
Pat Iyer MSN RN LNCC is president of the Pat Iyer Group. She has been an LNC since 1987.