Work schedules and personal life can be full and exhausting. You would really like to learn more and become involved with nurse expert legal consulting and even become a nurse expert witness. Remember, the word “legal” issues does not necessarily mean a lawsuit. Laws and regulations are a way we conduct ourselves appropriately, safely, and ethically towards others, and in this case, our health care patients.
You have been asked to review your first case, and you have said, “Oh, yes, I would love to review the case and work with you.” Afterward, you think where I will find the time and energy. You ask yourself, “Where will I have a place to work, so I am not interrupted, and I can focus on this work.”
As with any new opportunity, the time and effort it takes are unknown, and that is OK. You should be clear with the requesting client, that you have not reviewed a case before if this is the situation, or this is your first case with this particular issue or whatever the cause. Clarity is an important issue, and good communication between the parties is essential.
Reading medical records and focusing on a case can be time-consuming and detail-oriented. It is often like reading a mystery novel. You need to find a way to be organized, focused, and stay motivated on the review. Think of how you can reallocate your time, free up some time, or cut back on some personal and professional commitments to free up the necessary hours to devote to the case.
“When your desires are strong enough,
you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve” –
Working on weekends or evenings on occasion may be the way to get some time to review, or you may have to be willing to give up what your use to call “recreation” time until you learn to get into a pattern. This is especially true if you are working a full-time job. This is work that cannot be done while you are at your regular full-time work and being paid for that work. It would be unethical. You do not want to mix these two types of work for multiple reasons.
Additionally, this is your own personal work and not someone else’s opinion. To “ask around” about who you spoke with, about what and why. I have always done my own reviews, my own opinions and clear it my expertise I bring to the table. Leaving time to review and go over the records numerous times, review new incoming records as the case proceeds is important, and this time has to be considered.
Your clients will have deadlines and possibly mandated by the court, and the deadlines must be met. You must have a clear understanding of your client’s expectations of what your review will cover, and the time frame, your nursing opinions will be presented to your client.
A telephone appointment may be made when you accept the case to review. This is the time to mark your calendar and put in alerts to keep you on target.
At the time of the review, an oral opinion and telephone conversation may be made. At other times, the client will need a written opinion or affidavit of your nursing opinion and deviations in the nursing standard of care after your oral opinion. Last-minute work, at the deadline time frame, often leads to mistakes and unsatisfactory reviews.
Your clients depend on you to be self-disciplined, and they count on you to work within the time frame presented when you accept the case. All of your work may be necessary for the case to move forward.
If you are unable to meet the deadline, hopefully, you will know before you accept the case review. Delays can be costly and reflect unethical behavior on your part. Failure to meet a deadline may cause you never to be asked to review again. Many of your case reviews will be from word of mouth amongst your clients, and you need to develop a responsible and timely reputation.