© The Medical-Legal News 2007
By Dan Clifford, publisher
Carol D. Hart, an RN who is an ambulatory care nurse, recently spoke to The M-L News about her work as a legal nurse consultant. She was in the lucky position of getting two cases before having any LNC training.
Q.: How many cases did you do before having any training and what were they about?
A.: I did two cases for defense attorneys. They were surgical cases.
Q.: Why do you think you got those cases? A lot of LNCs out there are still waiting for their first case.
A.: I joined my local AALNC chapter, and two other LNCs approached me and asked me to help with their cases. I worked pretty much one-on-one with the lawyers. I think, too, I got the cases because I was persistent. I was faithful about going to the AALNC meetings. I went to about four meetings before another LNC gave me a case.
Q.: When did you first develop an interest in being an LNC?
A.: Initially it was many years ago, but life got in my way — like family and all that. It reappeared in February 2006. I read an article or something, but I can’t remember. I then went to the internet and found my local AALNC chapter through the West Virginia Bar Association.
Q.: What did you find on the internet?
A.: I found the national AALNC site and the local site. I found the Vickie Milazzo course and Kaplan’s course. I used Google mostly and sometimes used AskJeeves.com.
Q.: Were the attorneys in those early cases worried about you being an official, or trained, LNC?
A.: I don’t think they cared because the ladies who gave me the cases had told them that I was new.
Q.: Did you or do you testify?
Q.: Were the lawyers happy with your work?
A.: They seemed to be. They paid me! And they were nice.
Q.: How much did you charge?
A.: I charged $75 an hour. I basically did screening for merit.
Q.: What LNC training do you have now?
A.: I did the Vickie Milazzo home study course. I started the AALNC online modules, and then I went to the Vickie Milazzo six-day seminar. I was thinking about doing an internship.When I received the AALNC Journal I came across the Rose Clifford Internship ad and thought I would give it a try.
Q.: Do you feel you have enough training to get going?
A.: Yes. I have confidence and it all fits together now.
Q.: Do you feel that course training and an internship are enough?
A.: Yes, but I still want the experience of in-the-field work.
Q.: Do you think you can make it once back in LNC work?
A.: Yes, I think so. I start in two days at a law firm called Farrell, Farrell and Farrell in Huntington, W.V. They are going to use me full-time in-house. I am happy with what they are paying me.
Q.: What sort of work does the law firm do?
A.: They are a defense firm dealing with medical malpractice for hospitals.
Q.: Why did you want to give up the clinical side of nursing?
A.: I was not burned out, but I wanted to do LNC work in addition to the clinical. Being at the hospital is a lot of hard physical labor. And you bring a lot of work home with you.
Q.: What was the hardest or easiest thing about becoming an LNC?
A.: The hardest part is learning the verbiage or legalese. The easiest part was that it is a new aspect of nursing. It is new and exciting. •
Carol D. Hart is an RN in Charleston, W.V., firstname.lastname@example.org.
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