Q&A with Bell Law Firm’s Aimee Stevens
Why hire a dedicated nursing consultant? When Bell Law Firm hired Aimee L. Stevens as the firm’s dedicated nursing consultant (CLNC), we did so with the intention of bringing a distinct clinical skill set and perspective to our clients in the often-complex world of medical malpractice.
With 26 years of nursing experience, and 15 years of legal nurse consulting experience, involving medical malpractice and products liability litigation, Aimee brings extensive knowledge of the intersection of medical care and legal responsibility.
Aimee attended the Medical University of South Carolina, and in 1993 received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her professional nursing career began in the clinical hospital setting of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she cared for the most vulnerable babies often weighing barely a few pounds. She also worked in Labor & Delivery and the Recovery Room. In 2003, Aimee received her certification as a Legal Nurse Consultant along with her Registered Nurse (RN) certification.
Before joining Bell Law Firm, Aimee worked as a nurse consultant at several prominent defense firms in Atlanta, Alston & Bird, Copeland Stair Kingma & Lovell (formerly Carlock Copeland), and Troutman Sanders, LLP.
Aimee is excited to be on the “patient side” with Bell Law Firm, a firm devoted to helping victims of medical malpractice and catastrophic injury. With her extensive background and knowledge of medical issues, Aimee is a valuable addition to the team.
Aimee, welcome to the Bell Law Firm.
Thank you! I was hired as a certified legal nurse consultant to meet a growing need as Bell Law Firm continues to expand its practice. Mr. Bell recognized the benefit of having full-time nurse on board as the firm continues to grow, and with my background and experience, we knew it was a good fit once we met.
Why do law firms need a legal nurse consultant?
It’s all about the details. My job is to look closely at medical records for our cases. I’ve been reviewing medical records for more than 25 years, so it’s easy for me to go in and identify the information that is most relevant. Throughout my career as an LNC, I’ve handled everything from organizing to analyzing to picking up anything that’s out of the scope of the case.
How do you support clients who may not know if they are a victim of medical malpractice?
When we receive a call from someone who may be a victim of malpractice the first thing that happens is our attorneys begin the conversation to see if there may be a case. If we do see that potential, I step in to prepare medical research. This might involve checking if the circumstances are common, or if there’s any scientific reason to suspect malpractice. The process includes looking through the significant documents, most importantly medical records, to substantiate the claim. While reviewing it, I do so with a clinical viewpoint to see where there may be a case of negligence and ultimately damages sustained by the patient. We’re in the business of finding facts within the records themselves and going beyond just what the plaintiff may be able to tell us about their case.
What do you look for when reviewing records?
I think my experience perfectly marries the legal with the medical, allowing me to see where in the factual documentation of a case a plaintiff is stretching a claim, or where a defendant is subtly responsible.
What made you switch from nursing to the law?
In 2003, I was doing strictly in-house, fulltime bedside nursing care when an opportunity that blossomed into an idea came to me. A friend of mine, an attorney, asked me to review some fetal monitor strips. I was happy to do so.
Afterward, I said, “Is there a need for this type of review regularly?” I was surprised at her response. “You have no idea,” she said.
I took that bit of information and looked into the concept of how nurses often review cases for lawyers and learned there was an actual board certification for this type of work. So, I became certified. I had no idea it would become something I would thoroughly enjoy, but it’s been great.
What’s most exciting/different about your role at Bell?
In the past, my focus was solely on malpractice and product liability defense. I’m excited about the chance to do plaintiff-based work at Bell Law Firm. Specifically, I know I will enjoy the chance to be part of a new case and seeing it through from the initial phone call/intake all the way through to the end where we find a resolution. I’m already looking forward to a more personal connection with clients and the reward of helping them versus class action suits. There are just thousands and thousands of mass tort lawsuits going on, whereas, with this, I feel like I can use my nursing skills a little bit more.
What is something you’re most proud of professionally?
I have worked and learned in several very prestigious law firms and learned a lot from trial experience. It’s a rewarding feeling helping an attorney develop their case with discovery. Now, working on the plaintiff’s side, I’m proud of the personal impact my efforts will bring. I’ll have the chance to speak with our clients regularly, get to know them, learn about their circumstances and what they’ve been through. I’m eager to play a role in helping them find answers and hopefully justice.
Any challenges you anticipate now working on the plaintiff side?
While there is an adjustment to learning the litigation process from a plaintiff’s perspective, it’s definitely more exciting and I feel like I will gain personal gratification helping these clients. When you represent the catastrophically injured, you are representing so much more than a number. These are real people with real tragic life-changing events that have happened to them, and I get to walk along beside them in support. I’m so excited about the personal growth this new opportunity will bring.