Get to Know Legal Nurse Consultant: Tory Palivoda
Name, title, city you are based in:
I’ve lived in The Villages, Florida (9 years) and before that Ohio.
What is your role at Med Law Advisory Partners?
I’ve worked with Med Law as a Legal Nurse Consultant for approximately 2 years.
What did you do before working for Med Law Advisory Partners?
I have been a nurse for 35 years with most of that time spent in the long term care setting. I was a director of nursing for 10 years and still work clinically as needed.
Why do you do this type of work? Do you have a specific area of expertise that you are the most fond of?
I first became interested in legal nurse consulting when I was asked by our corporate legal department to do chart reviews on some of my resident charts. I found that process very interesting because you were looking at a record from an “aerial” view and were able to see the facility’s strengths and weaknesses in their documentation. This allowed me to provide education to the nurses and help them understand the importance of their charting (or lack of charting) in a potential lawsuit. This eventually led me to pursue LNC work and a new career path. My area of expertise is long term care because of my years of working in the field.
In your opinion, what is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
There are many aspects of my job as an LNC that are rewarding and that I cherish. First has to be the ability to have more control of my time and schedule. I enjoy working from home, but still enjoy my time working PRN in the clinical setting with patients. I also find great satisfaction in reading through my final work product and having the feeling that I have created a document that will assist my client with understanding what really happened to the patient.
Tell us about a time you had to overcome a challenge or obstacle within being a legal nurse consultant – how did you overcome this/what did you learn?
By far the biggest hurdle I have had transitioning from clinical nursing to consulting has been the writing aspect of the LNC role. I’ve had great mentors in the past few years while pursuing the LNC career path and they’ve all helped me sharpen my writing and grammar skills. As nurses, we become accustomed to writing in a “charting style” format which is not what would be expected in a report you would produce for a client. There are many programs to assist with enhancing grammar and spelling which have been very helpful with editing my own work. I want my work product to be exceptional when it is delivered to the client.
What is something in the healthcare industry that comes to mind that you would like to see improved or changed?
Due to my many years in the nursing home setting, I feel that overall our elderly receive great care from dedicated caregivers. The challenges caregivers face with mandated documentation (paperwork) and voluminous regulations takes away from the time they have at the bedside to care for this vulnerable population. Current staffing shortages have been very difficult for the LTC industry.
What are you most likely up to when you are off-the-clock?
We live in sunny Florida so if I am not working, I am frequently outside enjoying an activity. I also enjoy being an LNC because it gives me the opportunity to travel more and to visit my family out of state as often as I can.
What is some advice you would give to nurses looking to pursue a career in legal nurse consulting?
LNC work can be very challenging and it does take time to switch gears from a clinical setting to a “desk job.” There are many resources out there and I would suggest reading everything you can find. Most importantly, I would suggest reaching out to a seasoned LNC for guidance. Also, looking into joining the national AALNC and/or finding a local chapter…they are great resources. I give all the credit to my success to the local chapter I joined.
Interesting fact about yourself:
Love taking long car rides and seeing our beautiful country!