5 Proofreading Tips for Legal Nurse Consultants

Copyediting a medical analysis work product for a legal matter differs from copyediting a blog post or white paper.  Aside from grammatical editing, proofreading a work product requires verifying that the information in the work product matches the information that is in the medical records. Accurate documentation is critical for client success.

Legal Nurse Consultants (LNCs) do not always have access to a copy editor to proofread their work products. Attention to detail and concise communication are fundamental skills for LNCs.

Here are five tips to keep in mind while self-proofing your work:

1.) Focus on the details most important to the client

Each client will have a specific set of items and details that are most important to their particular matter. The accuracy of these items is vital. Common items include:

  • Dates
  • Bates references
  • Patient and provider names
  • Product identification and lot numbers
  • Specimen numbers
  • Laboratory results
  • Medication dosages and quantities
  • Times, heights, weights, ages, and other miscellaneous numbers

2.) Self-proof in small batches

Some matters will include large quantities of medical records. Try to proof in small batches, such as per packet of records, or split up large packets. This will help to identify issues such as hyperlink failures or report formatting issues early in the process.

3.) Utilize spelling/grammar check

It is important to run a spelling/grammar check on your work product. Tips for using the spellcheck function include:

  • Quickly access the tool by pressing the F7 key on your keyboard.
  • Ensure the “check grammar” box is checked.
  • The tool may bring up proper nouns or medical terms that it does not recognize that is not misspelled, and it will not always catch words outs of context (Ex: “lumber” vs. “lumbar”).
  • Be sure to use “Ignore All,” “Change All,” and “Add to Dictionary” cautiously.

4.) Date verification

Accurate date representation is imperative in medical analysis. Try approaching date proofing as a separate objective than the spelling and grammar. Tips include:

  • Ensure dates are in chronological order.
  • Look for dates that have extra or missing digits, missing slashes, or are formatted incorrectly/inconsistently.
  • Double-check dates that represent the current year. Sometimes we type the current year out of habit.

5.) Be attuned to your error tendencies

Attune to the errors you tend to make. For example, maybe you tend to misspell “ibuprofen” or to leave the last page off of a bates range. If you find an error, make sure to correct all instances of that error. By pressing Ctrl + F on your keyboard you can search the entire document for all instances of a particular word or name. 

Though proofreading your work product is the final step of the medical analysis process, it is also the most important. It not only guarantees a quality product for your client, but it also creates and maintains a credible reputation for yourself as an LNC professional.   

9 Must Know Legal Terms for LNC’s: Part II (INFOGRAPHIC)

The foundation of  your work as Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) is based on an understanding of legal terms and concepts. The challenge at times is reaching a shared understanding of those terms and concepts.

Let’s go back to basics as we familiarize ourselves with common legal terminology. As a continuation to our original post 7 Must Know Legal Terms for LNC’s: Part I, we would like to expand the list to 9 additional terms: 

  1. Plaintiff: A plaintiff is the person or party who filed a lawsuit in a court of law. For deceased subjects, the plaintiff is usually the spouse or an adult child of the decedent, acting as the personal representative of the estate of the decedent.

  2. Decedent: The person who has died. In some cases, the lawsuit is brought by the personal representative or next-of-kin of the decedent.

  3. Defendant: The party sued by the plaintiff. There can be more than one defendant. 

  4. Complaint: Typically, once a demand is denied, the claimant files a complaint in a court. This claimant now becomes a plaintiff. A complaint is a pleading document filed by a plaintiff in a court of law that states the facts of the case, the legal basis for the lawsuit (or cause of action), the alleged wrongdoing of the defendant, the injury that resulted from the wrongdoing, and the damages sought by the plaintiff. 

  5. Injury: Injury is the harm suffered by the person, including (1) physical harm, such as disfigurement, additional surgery, (2) pain and suffering such as mental anguish, depression, anxiety; (3) loss of past and future income, (4) loss of enjoyment of life, (5) loss of consortium, (6) death, etc. In lawsuits, injuries are allegations and must be proved to a judge and/or jury.

  6. Products Liability: A products liability lawsuit refers to a lawsuit filed by a consumer typically against the manufacturer of the product based on design defects, manufacturing defects, or failure to warn against a product’s latent danger.

  7. Adverse Event (AE): An adverse event is an undesirable condition caused by the use of the product. 

  8. Verdict: A decision made by a judge or jury in a court of law about a disputed issue. In criminal cases, it’s guilty or not guilty. In medical malpractice, it’s negligent or not negligent. In Products liability, it’s whether the product was defective or whether the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of the dangerous side effects, etc. 

  9. Work Product: Confidential materials prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial. 

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7 Must Know Legal Terms for LNC’s: Part I (Infographic)

Legal nurse consults (LNC’s) are registered nurses who use their education, experience, and specialized training to consult on medical issues in legal cases. A strong background in nursing allows them to bridge the gap between law and science.

Whether you’re new to the legal industry or a seasoned veteran, there are common terms that will frequent your vocabulary. Below is a list of the seven common legal terms. Use this infographic as a tool for yourself or for your clients and co-workers.

7 Legal Terms