New year, new medicolegal business endeavors

As I sit here watching the snowfall reflecting on the past year and enjoying what the New Year has already brought, I find myself reviewing my business plans and goals. There are so many choices and directions that I could pursue, it reminds me of graduating nursing school and trying to decide which territory to delve into. Legal nurse consulting is no different in that there are many different avenues to explore and you can pursue specialties in any or all of them.

In my personal experience, I have never turned down an opportunity to broaden my horizons and am confident in my basic nursing foundations. Because of this, I've had the pleasure of working in many legal practice areas, including medical malpractice, personal injury, will probate, legal malpractice, products liability, and Independent Medical Examinations. There are also opportunities in the areas of worker's compensation and toxic tort. If you want to learn more about these areas, check out the American Bar Association's website or visit nolo.com.

Do not limit yourself to just plaintiff or defense work. Remember that it benefits you to learn both sides of a case, regardless of which you are working for — this benefits your report and will help assisting attorneys with potential deposition questions for the opposing side. Sometimes the attorneys even invite you to attend the depositions with them, which is always great hands-on experience.

Given my detail-oriented personality and because I enjoy chronology, medical malpractice is my sweet spot. But I also enjoy the break away when I'm involved with the other areas mentioned above. In fact, I didn't even know what legal malpractice was until another legal nurse asked me if I wanted to take a case. It turned out to be quite a learning experience, and now it fits fine on my resume.

If you work in the medical arena, all of these areas are potential litigation cases in which you or someone you work for can be involved. Everyday in the medical field I continue to see poor or a complete lack of documentation, lack of timely care and treatment when a patient's condition changes, and a lack of adherence to proper standards of care or facility protocols.

More recently, and I am sure you can name at least one product or medication, products liability and mass toxic tort are becoming areas of focus for LNCs. Also, you might want to consider life-care planning if you enjoy that type of work. There are many additional certifications you can consider adding to your resume. Look at those possibilities, and never say no to any opportunity that will help you gain experience and build your practice.

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