As a Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC), it’s important that you show potential clients or employers samples of your work product. LNC sample work product includes medical chronologies, medical summaries, timelines, calendars, and other written reports.
Work product samples are particularly important for new LNCs, because attorneys want to know if you’re capable of analyzing medical records and producing coherent reports that address case issues. However, there’s a dilemma faced by every new LNC. How can you show attorneys work product samples if you’ve never reviewed a case? I had that problem too when I was new. Let me tell you the right and wrong ways to solve this dilemma. Then I’ll identify four steps to create your LNC sample work product.
The wrong way to create an LNC sample work product
The wrong way to solve the dilemma is to use a report written by another LNC or from a case reviewed during your LNC course. Producing these types of reports as your own is a red flag for potential clients and employers. I was once a hiring supervisor for a law firm that employed ten LNCs. Whenever we advertised an open LNC position, I had at least 100 applicants who submitted work product samples. It was very easy to spot purchased samples and samples from LNC courses. When reviewing these types of reports, I assumed that the LNCs were too lazy to write a report or were incompetent and didn’t know how to write one. I never hired an LNC who submitted that type of report.
The right way to create an LNC sample work product
The right way to solve the dilemma is to create LNC work product samples based on your own experiences with patients. It won’t be a real case, but that’s okay. Remember that attorneys want to know if you’re CAPABLE of analyzing medical facts and generating reports.
For example, attorneys who handle medical malpractice cases want to know if you can identify breaches of duty, causation, and damages. Here are the four steps to take to create a sample work product for a fictitious medical malpractice case:
Start with damages
1. For your report, you’re going to work backward and look at damages first. Identify a situation in your workplace in which a patient had a bad outcome. You’re going to assume that the bad outcome led to a lawsuit. If you can’t think of a situation with a bad patient outcome, here are some examples from my caseload that might jog your memory.
a. OR/PACU – burns from spark caused by cautery, death during surgery, failure to monitor patient during anesthesia, bowel perforation, vocal cord injuries
b. Med-Surg/ICU – unexpected death, failure of nurses to notify physician of condition changes, tissue loss from IV infiltration, falls, medication errors, pressure sores, burns
c. ER – failure to recognize evolving stroke, failure to refer patient to specialist, failure to recognize infection, failure to diagnose aortic dissection
d. Home Health – failure to keep patient safe (patient falls), failure to institute emergency measures when indicated
e. Pediatrics – failure to timely diagnose rare childhood diseases (Rickets, histiocytosis X, pancreatoblastoma, etc.), death of patient
f. Dental – implant failure, osteomyelitis of the jaw
g. Physician Offices – failure to emergently refer patients, failure to hospitalize patients for diagnostic studies, failure to timely diagnose conditions, falls in the examining room, failure to follow up on abnormal results
h. Radiology – failure to notify physician/staff of emergent untoward results, failure to interpret imaging studies correctly
i. Pathology – failure to interpret pathology specimens appropriately, mixing up specimens
j. Nursing Home – UTIs, falls, wounds, weight loss, dehydration, infections, unexplained injuries, elopement
k. Pharmacology – ruptured tendon from Levaquin, filling prescription with wrong medication or wrong instructions
l. OB/GYN/Neonates – maternal hemorrhage, maternal death, unrecognized congenital/genetic anomalies, newborn asphyxiation, delay in diagnosis of cancer
m. Plastic Surgery – poor wound healing, necrosis
In part 2, I show you how to turn these case scenarios into a sample work product.
Katy Jones contributed this guest blog. Katy has analyzed medical malpractice, personal injury and nursing home cases for both plaintiff and defense. In addition, she has been a supervising LNC who trained legal nurses in medical record analysis, report writing, internet research, trial preparation and use of software such as CaseMap, PowerPoint, and other applications. She has taught in two legal nurse consultant programs. She is currently an LNC in a defense firm that specializes in physician medical malpractice cases. Sign up for Katy’s newsletter at www.lnctips.com.
Interested in writing a guest blog for legal nurse consultants? Contact Pat Iyer through the contact form on this site.