As a nurse, you spend long hours each day working in an office or a hospital caring for your patients and providing them the best treatment that you can.
You are a caretaker and have a genuine interest in making sure that they get the greatest level of care you can provide.
But what happens if you make a mistake? Or you give advice that turns out to be the wrong advice, either to a patient or maybe even a family member or friend?
Think about it. How often do people ask you for your medical opinion on something?
If someone decides to file a claim against you, you may think that you will be completely protected and covered if you are employed at a hospital or large practice.
The truth is though, that you may not necessarily be covered. Or, even if you are covered under your employer’s malpractice insurance, it may not be enough coverage or your employer may not have your best interest in mind.
Do nurses need liability insurance?
In short, yes. Just as doctors and hospitals are at risk for a lawsuit, nurses are also in a situation where a patient can and may file a malpractice lawsuit.
This is especially true if you are a nurse practitioner since you are able to make diagnoses and treat patient’s illnesses. The level of risk for a nurse practitioner is substantially elevated. If a patient makes a claim against you, it could have serious financial consequences.
While your employer will have a malpractice insurance, but it is generally recommended that you get your own professional liability insurance policy as a nurse. There are several reasons for this, as outlined below.
Your Employer’s Policy is Designed to Protect Your Employer
While you may be covered under your employer’s liability insurance policy, it’s important to remember that the policy is paid for by your employer and ultimately designed to protect your employer.
If a situation arises where the interest of your employer and your own interest do not align, then that policy may not protect you like you want or hope it will.
It is important to note that many times your employer’s policy can and will protect you. We just want to point out that it is not your sole interest that the insurance company will have in mind.
If you have your own liability insurance policy, then you are guaranteed to be represented the way you need to be in order to protect you from any claims made by a patient. That’s why having individual coverage for professional liability insurance makes sense.
You May Be Considered an Independent Contractor
Sometimes nurses are considered independent contractors in their job. This can be an issue when it comes to liability insurance because, as an independent contractor, you will not be included on the coverage the physician in the office purchased.
If you operate as an independent contractor, it’s important to review the plan to see if you are excluded from coverage or not. If you need to, you can always contact the insurer to find out for certain.
The insurance company will be able to answer any questions you may have and let you know if you are a named employee on the policy.
Employer Plans Don’t Cover Complaints
This one is less about the liability coverage you will need resulting from a claim, and more about a complaint that could be filed.
If a patient makes a complaint to the board of nursing, it is usually not covered by an employer or hospital plan.
So what does this mean?
Well, even though you may have professional liability insurance, if a lawsuit were to arise, and a complaint is filed with the board of nursing, you may not be covered.
That means you could lose your license. This also means that all of time and the money you spent in nursing school as a nursing student will have been for nothing.
If you are a nurse practitioner, you’ve spent even more time in school to earn that advanced designation. And because your level of care you can provide to a patient is more involved as a nurse practitioner, you are at a higher risk.
With your own professional liability insurance policy, you should be protected not just with a lawsuit, but also if a complaint to the board of nursing is filed.
What is the best professional liability insurance for nurses?
When it comes to the type of insurance you need, you will have to consider a few things, such as place of work, services offered, length of time at your place of work, and employer liability coverage amount.
The overall goal of professional liability insurance is to protect yourself.
So, you want to be sure that you choose liability coverage from an insurance company that you can afford. You also want to make sure that the insurance company handles coverage specifically for nurses. This is why so many nurses turn to Nurse Service Organization (NSO) when they are looking for affordable liability insurance.
It’s important to review your coverage options and make sure that you select the appropriate amount of coverage for your situation. A solid amount of coverage is usually $1 million per incident. This will make sure that there isn’t a gap between your employer coverage and your own insurance coverage.
Is NSO a good medical malpractice insurance?
Nurses Service Organization (NSO) provides nurse malpractice insurance to more than 500,000 nurses.
In fact, they are the largest provider of nursing malpractice insurance in the country. To say that nurses are a fan of NSO as a provider of quality coverage would be an understatement.
What we think makes NSO so unique and appealing to a nurse and nurse practitioner is that the organization was actually created to specifically provide malpractice insurance for nurses.
They also have a Nurses Advisory Board that routinely refines the services offered based on feedback from nurses. Lastly, they have a pretty good record when it comes to claims filed. Their carrier, CNA, has won 90% of cases that go to trial. We think that’s a pretty big deal!
What kind of insurance do nurses get?
Nurses usually get a professional liability insurance policy to protect themselves from malpractice claims filed by a patient.
As a nurse, if you provide care or treatment for a patient, and the result is the patient filing a claim, you are at risk of having to pay defense costs and legal fees to protect yourself.
Even if you win, if you don’t have malpractice coverage, you will still have to spend money out of pocket, and sometimes the damages awarded can be pretty significant.
Often times, the money spent on professional liability insurance is a mere fraction of the amount of money you would spend on legal fees and damages.
Also, the money you spend on coverage is spent over time through your premiums, rather than one large lump sum fee that you would have to pay out from a lawsuit.
In order to protect your career and your wallet, having malpractice insurance is a good idea. Even if you have professional liability insurance through your employer, the policy may not be adequate and provide the personal risk management that you need.
This is why so many nurses decide to purchase nursing malpractice insurance as part of their overall risk management strategy.