LNCtips.com: 5 Ways to be a Proactive LNC
I once worked in a law firm with a nurse who had twenty-five years of experience as a legal nurse consultant. However, despite all that LNC experience, she spent most of her time in crisis mode because she was reactive instead of proactive. As a reactive LNC, she waited until the last minute to perform tasks or to be given an assignment. She responded to requests or situations rather than controlling and driving situations, as a proactive LNC would. Instead of "fighting fires" all day as my reactive colleague did, here are five ways to be a proactive LNC.
What kinds of things can LNCs do to be more proactive?
1) Let me give you an example. It was our firm's policy for secretaries to give the LNCs notices of depositions, trials, and hearings so that the LNCs could help prepare the attorneys. These notices often listed proceedings that were scheduled weeks or months in advance. However, sometimes the secretaries forgot to forward that information to the LNCs. On Monday mornings, the firm would have a meeting with everyone in the office to review the week's calendar of legal proceedings. When the secretaries forgot to provide the LNCs with notices, my colleague, the reactive LNC, didn't find out about important legal proceedings until the Monday morning meeting. She would get angry with the secretaries and race around trying to catch up. Of course, the secretaries should have followed the firm's policy, but instead of relying on them, proactive LNCs can review the calendar on their own. In addition, LNCs can review the calendar a month or more in advance, giving them plenty of time to assist with attorney preparation.
2) Suggest the most appropriate type of report to attorneys. For example, I recently reviewed a nursing home case, which revolved around several years' worth of medication orders and medication administration records. The attorney wanted all of the medication information in a chronology, but after I completed it, I thought the information looked confusing. Therefore, I put the information into a calendar template that I found in Microsoft Word. The calendar made it very easy to see ordered and administered medications.
3) Create a treater list as you review records. Attorneys frequently ask me to review medical records to find the names of nurses, physicians, and other treaters. Rather than scouring through tens of thousands of pages of medical records, I can look at the treater list that I've proactively made. Treater lists take me minutes to make and save me hours of sifting through medical records.
4) Change your attitude. My reactive colleague's attitude was, "If you wait long enough, the case will settle." Most cases DO settle, but she used that as an excuse not to work on her cases. In one instance, she waited so long that she handed in a summary of the medical records on the eve of trial. Needless to say, the attorney told her that the summary was useless to him at that point. Proactive LNCs provide attorneys information and reports when they need them, or even before they need them.
5) Know the attorney's style. Some attorneys are procrastinators, which, in turn, can affect the LNC when they request LNC services at the last minute. I've found that it helps if I proactively approach the attorneys and ask them something like this: "I noticed that you have Dr. Smith's deposition in the Burns case next week. Will you need anything else other than a medical chronology and the records tagged?"
It takes much more time and a lot of aggravation to function as a reactive LNC. These five techniques can help any legal nurse consultant be a proactive LNC....Katy Jones