LNCs must master the ability to write clearly and use writing tips for LNCs to improve. Attorneys and legal nurse consultants share one thing in common: the need to write clearly for an audience that has a different background.
Attorneys write for nonlawyers; legal nurse consultants write for lawyers. Each group has its own unique way of looking at the world. Each group has to communicate that view to others of different backgrounds. These are some of the clearest ways to improve writing.
7 Writing Tips for LNCs
1. Use simple, direct language. Avoid confusing terms, such as “herein”, “aforementioned”, and “execute”. I remember a deposition in which the plaintiff was asked if he executed the document. He was clearly bewildered when he replied, “Did I do what to the document?” When we use simple terms in our writing, it carries over to our speech. Define medical terms.
2. Avoid long, convoluted sentences. The reader may forget the point by the time he gets to the end of the sentence. Sentences that fill a paragraph cry out to be broken into pieces. The average sentence length should be between 20 to 25 words.
3. Define your points at the beginning of a paragraph to give the reader a road map. And then explain each point, in the order in which you first presented them.
4. Avoid idiosyncratic capitalization. I see terms like “Standard of Care”, “Nurse”, and “Hospital” capitalized in sentences when the lower case form is proper.
5. Provide summaries to define the main points. Summaries may be at the beginning and the end of the document.
6. Define terms that are going to be unfamiliar to your reader.
Will Rogers said, “Everyone is ignorant, just about different stuff.” The goal of communication is to state something in a way that the reader/client will understand.
7. Activate the readability statistics in your word processor. Passive voice sentences should not exceed 10%. The active voice is direct. Passive voice is cumbersome. “He was taken to the operating room” is passive. “He went to the operating room” is active.
Think about your audience when you write. Simplify, edit, and proofread. When you use these writing tips for LNCs, you will create grateful readers.
Pat Iyer is president of The Pat Iyer Group. She has authored, coauthored or edited more than 800 books, articles, online courses, case studies, webinars or chapters of her own work. She has proofread and edited hundreds of chapters and expert witness reports of others. She has spent thousands of hours proofreading other people’s work.
Read more on this topic: Writing Handbook for LNCs