Interview/LNC: Debra King
© 2009 The Medical-Legal News
Debra King, BA, RN, CEN, is the director of King Medical Legal Consulting, LLC, and has more than 30 years of experience in emergency and trauma clinical settings. She has held positions of emergency education coordinator, trauma coordinator, brain and spinal cord injury coordinator and nurse manager as well as worked in a clinical role in the emergency and trauma departments. She currently resides in Florida and has two grown children and a granddaughter.
Legal Nurse Consultant & Trauma Nurse Debra King on Nurse Education & Trauma Nursing.
Q: How did you get started as a legal nurse consultant?
A: I took the legal nurse consulting course through the University of Georgia and then attended the LNC boot camp and Rose Clifford’s internship.
Q: What degrees and professional titles do you hold?
A: A BA in management, RN, CEN.
Q: Do you testify as an expert in your clinical field of nursing specialty?
A: Yes, emergency nursing.
Q: Are you presently working clinically?
A: Yes. In the emergency department, clinical and charge.
Q: How many years have you been in LNC practice?
Q: What are your LNC specialty areas?
A: Personal injury and medical malpractice.
Q: How did you become aware of legal nurse consulting as a specialty practice?
A: A co-worker attended a Vickie Milazzo seminar on legal nurse consulting. I had not heard of the specialty before; it piqued my interest and I began researching the field.
Q: Why did you go into LNC practice?
A: I’ve been an ER/trauma nurse for over 30 years and wanted to transition my career. I’ve always been interested in law and at one time considered law school. I felt that this was the best of both worlds.
Q: Describe your transition from clinical practice to LNC practice.
A: I haven’t made the transition completely yet. I’m still clinically active in order to work as a testifying expert. As my practice grows, I will decrease my clinical hours.
Q: How hard was it for you to get started in LNC practice?
A: There was a lot of information that I needed to gather. There is not a set plan or curriculum to get you started. Once I joined an AALNC group, I was able to network and start putting the pieces together. I also knew I had to find an internship, because just completing the course did not give me the real world experience I needed.
Q: What barriers did you face?
A: The biggest problem I had was determining which course to take. There was such a wide variety of programs available, I didn’t know which ones would give me the best information and opportunities. It wasn’t until I contacted Joan Magnusson did I get the information I needed to decide on the right program.
Q: Did you obtain any formal training? If so, where?
A: Yes, University of Georgia. I decided to find a program that was affiliated with a university.
Q: Describe your first attorney interview.
A: My first interview was conducted during my internship. I was very impressed with the attorney’s questions. He was knowledgeable, professional and put me at ease. The interview gave me good insight into what to expect for my career as an LNC.
Q: Describe your first case.
A: My first case was a pediatric medical malpractice ER case. It was a case that intrigued me with my background in ER nursing.
Q: What is your most memorable case? Why?
A: My most memorable case was a criminal defense case. This case reinforced to me what an LNC’s role is — to review a case and be objective.
Q: Do you use or are you interested in subcontracting?
A: I’m not currently using subcontractors, but would consider it if the need arises.
Q: What are the top three things you like most about being an LNC?
A: No. 1 is the variety of cases you see and the challenge. There are as many specialties in the LNC field as there are in nursing. I find the investigation and research exciting. No. 2. is the flexibility that the role allows, to be able to work at home or in an office. No. 3 is the knowledge you gain from networking and through research.
Q: How often do you market?
A: Constantly, through networking.
Q: What is your biggest marketing challenge?
A: The biggest challenge was deciding how to market and where.
Q: What marketing tools do you use?
A: I use the internet and networking. My website is my primary source of marketing.
Q: Have you written any articles? Any chapters or books? How many and on what topics?
A: Not as an LNC, but I have been a contributor to a chapter in an emergency nursing text. I was approached about an article in new magazine for attorneys but that has not been finalized.
Q: Have you given any presentations?
A: Multiple nursing presentations and informal presentations as an LNC to explain what the role is.
Q: Give three areas of interest other than legal nursing.
A: Traveling and spending time with loved ones. Reading when there’s time. But casual reading doesn’t get much priority.
Q: Where do you see yourself as an LNC in five years?
A: I see myself with a very busy practice and a limited clinical role.
Q: Where do you see the LNC specialty going in the next five years?
A: I believe just as nursing has become more specialized, the LNC role will become more specialized as well, and the LNC courses will change to offer more in-depth specialty training.
Q: What recommendations would you make to a new LNC about the challenges of our specialty?
A: Take a course that uses the text Principles and Practices of Legal Nurse Consulting. Network with other LNCs, join an AALNC chapter and attend the meetings. There are a lot of LNCs who are willing to share information and help. Also get on the listserve for LNCExchange.com as there is a wealth of information available for the new LNC. Do an internship — a lot of LNCs complete the course and are not able to put the information into practice