Our CLNC® Pros deliver their top techniques to boost the efficiency and thoroughness of your medical research.
1. Use only authoritative websites for medical research. Accessing research studies may require a fee which is billable to the attorney.
2. As a member of the NACLNC® Association, Certified Legal Nurse Consultants have free access to the Internet's preeminent legal nurse consulting resources including CLNC® resource links, a peer-reviewed collection of hundreds of the best Internet links on medical, nursing and scientific research.
3. Simplify your medical research with the National Library of Medicine. From this site you can enter MedlinePlus®, a comprehensive database of article summaries from international medical literature and also search biomedical journal literature from MEDLINE/PubMed.
4. Subscribe to MD Consult and conduct a minimal search for general and specific information. The site contains many authoritative and up-to-date text and journal references. As you review individual journal publications, you can search for more articles on specific topics, instead of starting a new search. This time-saver allows you to cross-reference pertinent literature and identify key search words during your original search. You can even identify literature that is critical of the researchers or their methods, sometimes with notes citing conflicting results from other studies.
5. Screen the case to analyze and prepare a brief overview of the essence of the case. This helps you focus on the relevant injuries, treatment protocols and causation issues when researching.
6. Always review the standards of any pertinent professional organization. You can identify the relevant associations through the Healthcare Standards Directory (HCS) Online. This ensures that you include these standards in your research so you don't miss professional standards that aren't found in your online search. For example, for an emergency room case, contact the American Board of Emergency Medicine. For an obstetrical case, contact the National Association of Neonatal Nurses and The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. These sites offer a wealth of information. Request the information these associations publish for consumers as well. The references cited in the bibliography of any standards are also useful.
7. Decide whether you want to conduct broadly defined research or narrowly defined research. This will shape the words that you use for your research. For example "GI bleed" is more broad than "stress-related mucosal bleeding manual ventilation."
8. Keep your beginning search simple, then do a more complex search. Sometimes the simple things are the most pertinent to the case. Don't make it harder than it has to be. Ask yourself what you really need to find, verify or compare. Recognize when enough is enough. Gain a sense of when you've got enough material and move on to applying the research to the case.
9. When searching for a primary subject, such as diabetes, remember to search at the same time for related issues relevant to the case, such as decubitus. This helps you avoid duplicating your efforts later.
10. Always check the bibliography of any journal article for additional research sources. While searching for general information in texts and Internet sources, make a list of the authors who are most widely published or referenced. This list could provide additional literature sources or potential testifying experts.
11. Make note of the medications and medical products used. Then search for any drug interactions or medical device incidents that could have contributed to the case in any way. Systematically reviewing this information keeps you from overlooking any potential product liability issues resulting from defective products. If you need to research a particular drug, or medical device, don't overlook company sponsored websites.
12. Provide copies of the research articles to the attorney and highlight relevant information in the article to emphasize what is significant and to expedite the attorney's review.
(Thanks to Suzanne Arragg, RN, BSN, CDONA/LTC, CLNC; Laura M. Averette, RN, MSN, CPHRM, CLNC; Dale Barnes, RN, MSN, PhN, CLNC; Nikki J. Chuml, RNC, CCE, FMC, CLNC; Larry Frace, RN, CLNC; Margaret Gallagher, RN, BSN, MSN, CLNC; Dorene Goldstein, RNC, CLNC; Sandra Higelin, RN, MSN, CS, CWCN, CLNC; Jane Hurst, RN, CLNC; Camille Joyner, RN, CCM, CLNC and Mildred Mannion, RN, BSN, CNOR, CLNC for sharing their strategies for researching medical-related cases.)