I am an RN with 25 years of experience. I have a very diverse background. I am disabled due to MS. I am not able to work in a hospital setting.
I am a legal nurse consultant with certification. I also received my Advanced Legal Nurse Certification after a series of classes and an exam. I interviewed for a few in-house positions, but the positions went to less experienced nurses. I was actually told this by the office manager on one interview. She told me I was perfect for the position; however, the attorneys look at money and prefer to pay the lowest starting salary thus the less experienced nurse. Work seems to be inconsistent in my area. Several large firms have in-house LNCs. The smaller ones dont want to pay for the services. I have had all my marketing material done professionally.
I have also run into problems with small firms delaying payment. I have no problem getting my retainer, but when I send out my invoices, that is where I have run into problems. I have one right now that I did a lot of work for on a very complicated case. I cut time off my hours and only charged for locating one expert (three were needed). I cut my bill as low as possible. I still have not received payment despite three invoices, one demand letter I just sent out my Final Demand letter. The amount is for $3K a lot of money for me.
Do you have any suggestions for me as far as getting more work? Would you suggest I consider another area of work so that I am able to get paid on a more consistent basis?
I know youve referred nurses to a website for nurses with disabilities. I have gone to that website several times, but I have not really found any work in my area.
I read your reply to the nurse who inquired about work to do from home. To be honest, I have no idea how I would go about getting work with an insurance company. I did apply for a telephone triage position and was told I had been out of the hospital and did not have the background for the position.
Dear Donna replies:
I will try to make some general points based on what you have told me. First of all, stop getting additional certifications. You dont need them, and they wont matter to anyone in the legal field. You are an RN and an experienced legal nurse consultant.
The job that you were told you were perfect for but didnt get hired over money, I cant help wondering what kind of salary you asked for as an employee. I hope it wasnt the same type of hourly rate youd make as an independent contractor because they are two entirely different things. This seems to be a source of confusion for some LNCs. Most LNCs working as employees make between $45,000-$75,000/year with benefits. Self-employed LNCs make between $60-$150/hour on average. Dont confuse the two. See the article How to Negotiate the Salary You Want on my website for more information.
There are many ways to effectively market a consulting business. Get to the public library and start reading related books. Check out Guerilla Marketing for the Home Based Business, by Jay Levinson, and others by him. Marketing is something you have to get educated about and practice on an ongoing basis. You should also join and get active in a local chamber of commerce and/or local chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners
Regarding the website www.exceptionalnurse.com for nurses with disabilities, it is not a job-finding site. Rather it is a site where you can get information related to your disability and being disabled in general and network with other nurses in a similar situation to yours. Networking is a very valuable tool underutilized by most nurses.
In addition to LNC work, you should look into risk management, fraud investigation for insurance companies, and life care planning. These things are all related and will build on your experience and strengths. Every job is not right for every nurse. Make direct phone contact with some insurance companies in your area. Find them in the yellow pages of the phone book under Managed Care.
You would benefit greatly by attending my Double Header seminars in New Jersey on March 10 and 11 Career Alternatives for Nurses® and How to Start Your Own Business or Consulting Practice where I talk about marketing extensively, and use many LNC examples.
You have the skills and the credentials and there are definitely opportunities out there for you. I suspect you are simply going after the wrong positions or going after them in the wrong ways or not going after some of the right jobs at all. Take my advice above and start to move forward.
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrums Dear Donna and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional. To ask Donna your question, go to www.nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a Dear Donna seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.