Healthcare workers are some of the biggest unsung heroes in our society. The pandemic gave everyone a whole new perspective on just how crucial the individuals in the health space truly are to our wellbeing. Patricia Cardillo is a Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse and Legal Nurse Consultant with over 30 years of experience. As both a healthcare and legal professional, Miss Cardillo has seen firsthand the importance of this industry and maintaining a high standard of care.
The individuals in our healthcare industry are integral for the maintenance of a healthy and happy society. Without nurses and doctors, we’d all be at a loss, and the Covid-19 pandemic showed all of us just how crucial these figures truly are in our day-to-day lives.
Patricia Cardillo is a Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse and Legal Nurse Consultant with over 30 years of experience. As a Legal Nurse Consultant, she’s been heavily involved in many medical-related trials, continuing her role as a patient advocate beyond the operating room.
Miss Cardillo is the epitome of healthcare as an industry, as she’s always been interested in surgery, and the art of medicine. Not only does she love being able to help people, but she’s constantly fascinated by the reasoning behind the health problems presented to her. Having that understanding is a crucial part of working in healthcare, and being able to help others.
“In a clinical setting, as a patient advocate for more than 30 years, I have applied my expertise as a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, and legal nurse consultant. I’ve always wanted to become a nurse specializing in surgery, even back in grammar school. I’m passionate about being an advocate for patients who require surgical intervention, and that passion laid the foundation for my journey into surgical nursing.”
To lay the foundation into her journey in nursing, Miss Cardillo earned degrees in nursing and psychology to establish herself as a multifaceted nurse achieving her goal as an LPN, RN and LNC.
Miss Cardillo’s journey as a healthcare professional began as a Certified Nursing Assistant before entering into a nursing pool, and becoming a nursing office manager in an OB-GYN office setting, telemetry, oncology, medical-surgical department, operating room nurse and operating room charge nurse, she also has worked within psychiatric units. This multitude of professional titles has given her the chance to see the healthcare industry through multiple lens’, giving her a slew of knowledge and expertise which not only strengthened her in the healthcare field, but the legal field as well.
As a Legal Nurse Consultant, Miss Cardillo is especially equipped to advocate for the industry, her fellow healthcare professionals, and most importantly, the patient.
“Nurses have long been recognized as consultants to attorneys, and compensated for their expertise and contribution as an expert witness in medical malpractice cases. Nurses are also engaged and educated on legal issues involving healthcare more than one would assume.
As a consultant, nurses assist attorneys understand medical records, literature, policy and procedures surrounding a specific case. Medical testimonies are very important in personal injury and criminal cases.
My primary role is to evaluate, analyze, and render informed opinions on healthcare and resulting outcomes.
The Legal Nurse Consultant is a licensed registered nurse who provides critical analysis of healthcare facts and issues. As a consultant, I’m qualified to assess the standards of healthcare practice as it applies to the nurse and physician profession,” Miss Cardillo explained.
Legal Nurse Consultant Liaisons act as a mediator between the legal and healthcare communities, and provide consultation and education services to the professionals involved in a given case regarding malpractice, mistreatment, work compensation, etc. So overall, the profession melds the worlds of law and healthcare, which often overlap, to ensure that every party involved is educated on the matter at hand to come to a clear understanding.
Miss Cardillo explained that the role of a Legal Nurse Consultant requires one to facilitate communications and strategize with legal professionals for successful resolution between all parties involved. The consultant also acts as an educator to the attorneys and vice versa, individuals like Miss Cardillo must inform the legal parties on specific medical policies, procedures, standards, and tasks. In order to accomplish this, a Legal Nurse Consultant must understand the intricacies of their role, and the crucial part they play in a given trial:
- The consultant researches and integrates healthcare literature as it relates to the healthcare facts and issues of a given case and/or claim. As well as reviewing, analyzing, and summarizing medical records along with pertinent healthcare and legal documents, while comparing and correlating them to the allegations.
- Assessing issues, damages, and conversations related to liability within the legal process.
- Identifying, locating, evaluating, and conferring with expert witnesses.
- Interviewing witnesses and parties pertinent to the healthcare issues at hand, and collaborating with legal professionals.
- Drafting legal documents in medical cases under the supervision of an attorney, and developing collaborative case strategies with the legal system.
- Providing support during discoveries and depositions made throughout a trial, along with other legal proceedings while also supporting the process of education and litigation of legal claims.
The special practice of a Legal Nurse Consultant entails utilizing their expertise as a healthcare professional to assist them with the challenges of civil and criminal litigation. Nursing knowledge, strong work performance, and dependability are all strong attributes to ensure a quality performance within this position.
A Legal Nurse Consultant must have autonomy, the ability to take initiative, organizational skills, inspiration, ingenuity, and support. They must have the ability to collect and synthesize data in an effort to reconstruct a series of events on what should have been done for a patient, depending on the specific trial.
“Reliability is everything in this position as well, I’m relied on for my knowledge of the healthcare system in relation to legal proceedings. Having a strong attention to detail along with adaptable communication skills and self-awareness is what has led me to achieve so much success within this field.”
“The skills and knowledge needed to be a nurse overlap with that of a consultant. There’s a strong need to evaluate and understand certain information as it pertains to a particular patient; the same way one would need to analyze and implement information within a trial.
The profession is extremely multifaceted, and integral to the legal space in regard to medical malpractice suits. Understanding, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting the specifics of a given case involves intense intricacies when it comes to what actually occurred that has led a patient to go to trial,” Miss Cardillo stated before discussing the current state of the healthcare industry in terms of nursing shortages, and recovery from the initial years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Most importantly, however, she discussed how the pandemic showed the world the crucial role that healthcare workers play in our everyday lives, and just how much we all truly depend on them to keep society safe, and functioning.
“The Nursing shortage entails a couple of issues. It’s a cumulation of individuals retiring, finding staff with the right amount of education and qualifications, and the pool of individuals available to work. The Covid-19 pandemic tested all of our limits, and the healthcare industry is no exception.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the crisis presented an opportunity to improve the circumstances within the nursing practice. For example, some positive changes included nurse’s professionalism in skills, communication, and cooperation.
More importantly, the pandemic revealed the strength, dedication, determination, and persistence among nurses and managers; impacting their work results, implementing policy changes, staff well-being, access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), staff retention, etc. An interpretation from this pandemic experience resulted in the perseverance and responsiveness to facilitate this crisis.
The existence and modifications made within physician and nurse collaboration showed us a level of equality and respect in the industry. In order to continue with the positive changes that came out of the pandemic, the nursing profession needs to augment its professional competence, voice, and social status.
The pandemic also had long term effects on the environment in which these professionals work in. Providing a safe and comfortable environment for patients as they recover has always been a major aspect of healthcare, however, throughout the pandemic when there was so much uncertainty in the beginning regarding how to protect oneself, safety and comfort became a major priority.
Nonetheless, this Covid-19 pandemic has revealed more demanding procedures and clinical competence expected in a healthcare setting.
Miss Cardillo is a pillar of the industry, so her advice for future generations of healthcare workers is highly valued. Beyond medical professionals, she’s also a big advocate for what it means to respect one another and the multiple roles we all play in our communities. Her outlook on life is realistic, but shows the optimism that we all should adopt in order to ease the tensions of our everyday lives.
“My outlook and advice for the future generations of healthcare professionals, as well as legal professionals, is to remember that failures are the stepping stones to success.”
“We need to have failures in order to learn, grow, and strategize with them to progress. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals: principal rules/laws, self awareness, self worth, self respect, self sufficiency, organization, determination, and perseverance. These are the critical elements that lead us to success.”
“My advice to future nurses and nursing students, specifically, is to remember that in order to achieve your goal, you have to set high personal and academic standards for yourself. Don’t make decisions based on second-hand information, make yourself a well-rounded person, and strive to educate yourself physically, spiritually, intellectually, socially, and do it responsibly, especially regarding one’s career choice.
Also, stick to the basics. The standards placed in our healthcare industry have been there since the dawn of modern medicine. These are the rules and principles that have led to the healing of millions of people, so always remember that there’s a reason why some ‘old school’ tools and techniques are still being used decades after they first appeared.
My personal mentor was my mother, who was a jewelry designer and interior decorator. I was the sole caregiver for my mother for many years until she passed away a few years ago. My mother had this immense level of trustworthiness combined with strong will, loyalty, love and independence, and those attributes were constantly embedded in my upbringing and made me the successful individual I am today.
Remember, you’re not just a nurse, you’re a patient advocate, and your patients are depending on you to be there for them in the most important possible way. Don’t take that for granted, and use it to be the best healthcare advocate that you can be,” Miss Cardillo emphasized.
“Without your health, you have nothing, you can’t progress in life. Beyond the physical, mental and spiritual health professionals help people be the best versions of themselves so they can carry out a happy healthy life, which is what we all want isn’t it?”
“I think people need to take a step back when it comes to respecting one another, especially in terms of the healthcare industry and the many professions that exist within it. What it really boils down to is that in the mainstream, people don’t view healthcare workers as ‘glamorous’ the way they do a movie star, for example. The materialism surrounding what we as a society view as a worthy role in life misconstrues our ideals of what’s really important in life; health and happiness.
The healthcare industry is the answer to life’s problems when it comes to us as human beings. I got into this profession because I’ve always been interested in the ‘why’ when it comes to certain health problems. It’s not just about health it’s what contributes to an individual’s personal experience with their health. While our doctors and nurses and medical professionals alike are praised for the amazing, innovative, life-saving processes they carry out every day, there’s still a lack of respect, legally speaking and personally speaking.
People need to look at healthcare and pay attention. We are nothing without our health. This industry deserves attention and respect when it comes to how available professionals are for citizens, the people they serve, and financially speaking, the world would rather focus on things being advertised to them from their favorite singer or athlete, but can’t afford healthcare due to the system that we’ve created. It’s not the individual’s fault, it’s the way society has progressed and turned into this world of celebrity praise while devaluing the real life industries that the average individual should be benefitting from daily.
Just remember to hold yourself and others with the same level of respect. The individual and what makes us, us, is our true reality, not what we see on screens. I’ve helped thousands of people as a healthcare and legal professional, and it truly all boils down to how much respect we grant ourselves, and others helping us, in times of crisis.
Hold the basics of life to a high standard, keep yourself accountable, and hold space for those in this life who want to help you, especially when it comes to healthcare workers. Maintaining the basics is the foundation of healthcare, and when you think about it, the foundation of our own realities.
Our realities are in our control, don’t let yourself fall victim to values that are presented to you through a screen, give yourself and others the grace to fail knowing that success is just round the corner. It’s easier said than done, but I think if we all can adopt that mentality to some degree, the world would be a happier, and most importantly, healthier place,” Miss Cardillo concluded.
To learn more about the amazing work Patricia Cardillo does on a daily basis, click here! (Links will be attached if so desired)
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.