Network to get legal nurse consultant cases
Networking is essential for any nurse entrepreneur. To me, networking is important in order to meet professionals with similar interests, develop relationships that are not only important and fulfilling in their own right but can be helpful when advice is needed and, of course, for referrals. One of the nurses I met at the NJAALNC Chapter worked on a cardiac unit at New York University Hospital. She and I agreed to exhibit at a New York Trial Lawyers meeting in Manhattan. It was well worth it because she received a medical malpractice assignment and I left with a referral for a brain injury life care plan!
Be diversified as a legal nurse consultant
How does one get a business off the ground at age 60 with no referral sources (except from a vocational expert)? I was diversified. Diversification has been critical to the success of my business. I started with a background of 18 years’ experience in acute care, 20 years in medical and vocational case management and six national certifications (LNCC, CNLCP, CCM, CDMS, CRC and MSCC). At the outset, I provided medical case management including catastrophic case management for brain injury, birth injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, multiple trauma, burns, and chronic pain. I provided vocational case management, disability assessments, medical cost projections, life care plans, medical chronologies, and medical reviews and assessments. All of this diversification gave me more than enough work and a steady stream of income.
Take subcontracting jobs as a legal nurse consultant
Subcontracting is a good way to strengthen your referral sources. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to provide subcontract work for six companies. Some companies may refer several types of work, e.g., medical cost projections, life care plans, medical case management, and vocational management casework while others may have only one kind of assignment.
Another advantage of subcontracting is that you have another set of eyes on your work product, a peer review of sorts. For many years, I have had the incredible opportunity to subcontract for Pat Iyer, MSN, RN, LNCC in her previous business, Med League Support Services. I learned a great deal and know that the quality of my work has improved under her and her staff’s guidance. I learned Pat Iyer’s unique method of organizing and tabbing records which is helpful not only initially working with case records but during testimony as an expert witness. I definitely improved my writing skills, learned better ways of expressing my opinion, and decreased the use of the passive voice in my reports. I also learned how to sharpen my technique in critiquing an opposing life care plan.
Use evidence based resources
Consider using an evidence-based clinical decision support resource, such as Uptodate.com, and review applicable treatment guidelines at the National Guideline Clearinghouse by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in order to be confident you have a good understanding of the issues at the outset of plan development. By consulting resources, such as Uptodate.com and Guideline.gov, you can begin your assignment knowing you have the best and most current knowledge on the subject. Consulting national websites applicable to the disease, injury, or disorder would also be helpful. If you need to study a condition in more depth, consider reviewing the articles listed in the bibliography on any Uptodate.com topic.
Improve your legal nurse consulting skills when starting a legal nurse consulting business
Improve your communication skills. No matter what area of legal nurse consulting you choose, you can never put too much emphasis on developing your communication skills, both oral and written. If you are interested in life care planning, you have to be able to defend your opinion, both within the plan as well as during testimony. As an expert, I took one-on-one testimony training, attended conferences for experts, read books on becoming an expert and joined Toastmasters International to sharpen my speaking, listening, and thinking skills.
We all have different ways of developing our skills but we can never have too much practice and we can never learn too much in order to become an effective expert witness.
Continuously improve your legal nurse consultant skills
Continuous improvement is required if we are going to evolve in our field and improve our work product. Be open to adapting, taking suggestions, and never stop learning. Attend meetings, conferences, and webinars. Volunteer in professional organizations. Stay connected to learn the latest information and discussions on forums, such as the lcpforum at the Care Planner Network, the LNCExchange, and the Legal Nurse Consultant and Attorney Network on LinkedIn.
Earn your LNCC
If I could make one final recommendation, it is this: while there may be many ways to work as a legal nurse consultant, if you are interested in excellence and want to stand out in your field, obtain your Legal Nurse Consulting Certification (LNCC). It is the only legal nurse consulting certification recognized by the American Board of Nursing Specialties!
Linda Husted, MPH, RN, CNLCP, LNCC, CCM, CDMS, CRC is the owner and principal of Husted Life Care Planning, Inc. She contributed this book to Patricia Iyer (Editor) The Path to Legal Nurse Consulting, Second Edition. Get it at this link.