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My Journey as a Legal Nurse Consultant

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發表於 2015-2-1 16:02:50 |顯示全部樓層
My Journey as a Legal Nurse Consultant

Myname is Alice Adams, and I am a Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) in Atlanta. Nursesoften contact me with questions about legal nurse consulting.They ask if it is a career they should investigate, and usually find conceptequally attractive and intimidating. Any good nurse can work in this field;every LNC has a unique story, and I would like to share my own journey. As LedZeppelin said, “yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run,there’s still time to change the road you’re on”.
I begannursing like many of us do. I was a traditional hospital nurse – ICU,orthopedics, pediatrics, and then an outpatient nurse manager in alarge outpatient psychological practice. It was in the latter capacity that Ianalyzed and summarized medical records in the realm of workers compensation.Although I have long been out of the hospital setting, I keep up withpsychological, orthopedic, and multiple trauma treatment trends because ofthese reviews. I have performed >5000 of these summaries and am alwaysstruck by how often one physician does not know what the other is doing orprescribing. A chronology is critical to seeing a patient as a whole person rather than an injuredbody part.
Idid not see the term “legal nurse consultant” until 2005 when I came across iton the Internet. I was intrigued and began researching this field that seemedtailor-made for my background.
Iexamined various LNC training programs; clinical curriculum taught byuniversities, either in the classroom or online, and other programs moreconcerned with the business, marketing, and legal side of legal nurseconsulting. All offered certificates of completion, but not certification inthe field. (The AALNC’s certification program is the only one accredited by theAmerican Board of Nursing Specialties. Their certification offers an intensivetraining course and requires at least five years as an RN, 2000 hours of LNCwork and passing an examination.)
Iselected a course that met my needs, learned a great deal, and acquired newinitials to add to my signature block. I only used those for a few monthsbefore I realized that attorneys cared more about my nursing degree andknowledge of disease. I concurrently read Pat Iyer’sLegal Nurse Consulting Principles and Practice, ForensicNursing, Nursing Malpractice, and Business Principles for Legal NurseConsultants. I read Betty Joos’s Marketing for the Legal Nurse Consultant, bought a comprehensive handbook of legalterminology, and reviewed changes in nursing standards of care. I also did thecoursework for SANE certification, boughtmalpractice insurance,and joined many organizations. The most useful group I joined was the JERKS, aweb-based forum and online community resource of both new and experienced legalnurse consultants.
Ibought a color printer, created and printed a brochure; wrote, and constantlyre-wrote, a cover letter to send to attorneys along with my c.v. I designed andprinted my business cards, and developed a website (I am now on my fourth, agift from my son). I switched from Word Perfect to Word and bought chronologysoftware.
Imailed ten packets a week to attorneys for months beforean attorney called me with three controverted workerscompensation cardiac cases; he wanted help in having them accepted aswork-related. (It can be difficult to prove that an illness is related to workif there is no physical injury.) I found that I also enjoyed defense work. Firstnursing home litigation, then premises liability, product liability, moldexposure, wrongful death, medical malpractice, World Trade Center meritassessments – each case was, and will always be, unique. The learning curvenever flattens.
Inearly 2009 I developed a profile on LinkedIn, started several groups, carefullybuilt my network, and joined both the National and my local Atlanta AALNCchapter.  I learned the value of nurse networking.  In 2010 I servedas the Program Chair for Atlanta AALNC. In 2011, I presented several webinarsand seminars, and slowly overcame my avoidance of public speaking. I was the2011 president of the Atlanta AALNC chapter.  One of the things I mostenjoy is helping other nurses find their way and find work as a legal nurseconsultant.  I love this path I have chosen, and I hope the journey neverends.

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