You labor over your legal nurse consulting report because you want to do the best job possible for your attorney client. You want to produce a top notch LNC report. I understand. I’ve written or proofread thousands of reports. Here are commonly occurring errors I find when proofreading LNC reports. Don’t get tripped up by these errors. Follow these tips for presenting a professional legal nurse consulting work product.
1. Create a top notch LNC report by not switching tenses
When you summarize medical records, you are describing events that took place in the past. Therefore, use the past tense.
Wrong: “She walks to the day room, where she slips on a wet floor.”
Right: “She walked to the day room, where she slipped on a wet floor.”
It sounds like a subtle difference but a well written report in the correct tense will communicate your expertise.
Don’t mix present and past tense in the same sentence.
Wrong: “Patients enter the emergency department where they were processed by the unit secretary.”
Right: “Patients entered the emergency department where they were processed by the unit secretary”.
Consistent use of the same tense increases your reader’s understanding.
2. Correctly use either/or and neither/nor
Use the correct pair.
Correct: “Either the physician incorrectly ordered the medication or the nurse misunderstood what she said.”
Correct: “Neither the scrub nurse nor the surgeon acknowledged the alarms coming from the anesthesia machine.”
These words are usually associated with a singular subject. If one subject is singular and one subject is plural, make the verb agree with closest subject. For example, it is correct to write, “Either the managers or the staff nurse was at fault in the decision making.”
3. Make the correct choice when using “a” or “an”
Use “a” before a word that starts with a consonant and “an” before a word that starts with a vowel or sounds like a vowel.
Which is correct?
“A LNC is a valuable asset to the attorney.”
“An LNC is a valuable asset to the attorney.”
The second statement is correct because the “L” in LNC sounds like a vowel.
Here’s another one. Which is correct?
“It is an honor to assist you with this case.”
“It is a honor to assist you with this case.”
The first statement is correct because the “h” is silent.
4. Select the right choice: over versus more than
“Over” refers to a position in space, as in “the shelf was over the table”. “More than” refers to amounts.
Which is correct?
“The surgeon performed over 1,000 laparoscopic surgeries.”
“The surgeon performed more than 1,000 laparoscopic surgeries.”
The second statement is correct.
5. Use introductory commas in your legal nurse consulting reports
Use a comma after an introductory word, clause or phrase. I frequently add introductory commas when I proofread LNC reports.
These examples are correct:
- “In December, Mr. Fisher entered the hospital for the final time.”
- “On May 17, 2015, the ambulance took Billie Williams to St. James Hospital.”
- “Sadly, she did not recover.”
6. Use a semicolon when appropriate
I find that many LNCs are unfamiliar with the correct use of a semicolon. Use it to divide a sentence into two parts when either part of the sentence could stand on its own. Both parts of the sentence have a subject and a verb and could be independent sentences.
Here are correct examples:
- “Prior to the sexual assault, Danielle asked for a job transfer; she wanted to get away from her male supervisor.”
- “She shared her concerns that the unsafe conditions in the nursery would lead to an injury; her charge nurse did not react.”
Dividing the sentence into two sentences is another way to handle this.
7. Correctly use either a single or double quotation mark
This is another error I often correct. Only use single quotation marks in sentences that already have double quotation marks.
Incorrect: He said, ‘I’m ready to start the surgery.’
Correct: The OR nurse manager testified, “The surgeon told us, ‘Let’s get this surgery started.’”
Want to learn more? Pat Iyer presents more great writing tips about legal nurse consulting reports in our online training, “Get More Clients With Your Top Notch Writing Skills”. Watch this online training by filling out the form below.