Malpractice insurance?

  1. Hey everyone,

    I'm a new nurse (2months in) on a cardiac floor. I love it so far! I was talking with a nurse the other day who stated she has malpractice insurance. Of course I try my best to not make mistakes as a nurse but I cherish my license so much I would be devistated to lose it over a mistake. How many of you nurses out there have this? Do you think it is something all nurses should have? How do you go about getting insurance? Thanks!
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   FutureNurseInfo
    Speak to HR at your hospital about it.
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    This is a frequently asked question at allnurses with YES the overwhelming reply in our numerous threads...
    I've had a Malpractice policy for 40 years, just like I have auto drivers insurance...never needed to use it.



    Should I Carry Malpractice (Liability) Insurance?

    One healthcare risk manager's view of individual nursing malpractice insurance

    MALPRACTICE INSURANCE: FAQS

    Pros and cons of nursing insurance


  5. by   Double-Helix
    Many hospitals carry malpractice insurance that covers the nursing staff, but it will only benefit you to have your own in case there is ever a circumstance where you employer does not cover, or does not cover all of your expenses. It's inexpensive, and the peace of mind might be worth the cost.

    P.S. Carrying malpractice insurance won't prevent you from losing your license if you make an egregious error. Malpractice insurance will pay your legal expenses and/or damages if you are found liable.
    P.P.S. It's exceedingly rare that a nurse will lose their license for making a mistake. This is a misconception and losing one's license for an inadvertent error in practice is often an overblown fear. I suggest you visit your state's BON website and look at the reasons why licenses have been revoked.
  6. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from FutureNurseInfo
    Speak to HR at your hospital about it.
    You can talk to them but they won't be of much assistance, as they have nothing to do with it. A hospital's legal counsel is concerned with covering the interests of the hospital, not the employee. That means that they will protect the employee only insofar as it benefits them to do so, if they need the nurse to toe the line they will keep that nurse close and feeling safe. If they think or want to show that the nurse acted outside of their policies so that they cover their own butts they will toss that nurse to the wind. They will provide counsel for their own defense, and the nurse is covered only as that applies. If something is cited in the complaint that is specific to the nurse's actions that nurse better be prepared to hire his or her own attorney and bear that expense. That's where the insurance comes in.
  7. by   RiskManager
    Quote from Extra Pickles
    You can talk to them but they won't be of much assistance, as they have nothing to do with it. A hospital's legal counsel is concerned with covering the interests of the hospital, not the employee. That means that they will protect the employee only insofar as it benefits them to do so, if they need the nurse to toe the line they will keep that nurse close and feeling safe. If they think or want to show that the nurse acted outside of their policies so that they cover their own butts they will toss that nurse to the wind. They will provide counsel for their own defense, and the nurse is covered only as that applies. If something is cited in the complaint that is specific to the nurse's actions that nurse better be prepared to hire his or her own attorney and bear that expense. That's where the insurance comes in.
    You actually want to speak to risk management at the hospital about it. If they don't know about or administer the insurance, they can refer you to someone who does. The other comments above by Extra Pickles are largely incorrect, and I deal with that issue in the article I wrote linked in the first reply post. Search under my name for my other posts on the subject.
  8. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from RiskManager
    You actually want to speak to risk management at the hospital about it. If they don't know about or administer the insurance, they can refer you to someone who does. The other comments above by Extra Pickles are largely incorrect, and I deal with that issue in the article I wrote linked in the first reply post. Search under my name for my other posts on the subject.
    Which part is incorrect? The part about how the hospital will prioritize how it defends itself over the defense of the individual nurse? Or the part about how if the nurse is individually named he or she should expect to have to hire an attorney to defend his or her own position?

    Are you willing to say that under all circumstances a hospital-employed nurse can expect full defense coverage through his or her employer? As you can't, I'd suggest that it might benefit individuals to protect their own individual assets.
  9. by   traumaRUs
    Agree that having your own malpractice insurance is a must. The hospital or facility will always protect their interests first. If you are found negligent or accused and you are required to appear before the BON, your hospital or facility will NOT cover you.

    You need a lawyer who will be in YOUR corner.
  10. by   RiskManager
    I suggest you read my article and note in particular the parts about vicarious liability, the agency responsibility of the employer and how an individual liability policy coverage would be triggered. And if I may ask, are you one of my healthcare risk, claims or legal colleagues?
  11. by   Mockingjay
    Thank you everyone, super helpful!
  12. by   RiskManager
    ^^^I generally recommend the CNA policy most commonly sold by NSO. The Liberty Mutual policy sold by ProLiability is also an option, but CNA has the largest market share by far. Just make an informed decision on what you are buying, and realize that the policy is written such that it will only very rarely cover you for malpractice, if you are a nurse employed by a hospital or other facility. If your state has an aggressive BON that files many complaints, this is an argument for buying a policy. Bear in mind that the policy provides up to $ 25,000 legal reimbursement for BON complaints filed against your license. There is no coverage nor legal reimbursement for BON investigations; it has to be an actual complaint filed against your license for the licensure defense coverage to apply.

    Many people buy the policy because they think that if they are involved in a malpractice claim or licensure action, the insurance company will automatically provide them with an attorney or legal defense, and this simply is not true. Coverage is triggered only in very specific circumstances. I have spoken at length about this, so you can search on my posts for details. Be wary of risk management advice from someone with no actual training or experience in the profession.
  13. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from RiskManager
    I suggest you read my article and note in particular the parts about vicarious liability, the agency responsibility of the employer and how an individual liability policy coverage would be triggered. And if I may ask, are you one of my healthcare risk, claims or legal colleagues?
    I am going to take a guess that you are asking this question of me and not the others. If so, I think you already safely know that I am not one of your colleagues. Otherwise, I would be saying essentially what you are, rather than advocating for taking take an extra layer of personal and professional protection rather than hoping the hospital will do so for them.

    Your profession exists to protect large entities from financial harm. You exist in a hospital to protect the hospital. On the very first, most obvious level it does not allow for a warm trusting relationship between nursing and risk management. Risk management worries about the risk to the hospital. I have learned to trust only what benefits me, have learn this by seeing my own colleagues bending over backwards for risk management when there are legal questions raised, and in the end it is up to them to protect themselves. I would agree with you that malpractice policies are triggered only under certain circumstances, certain situations. Nurses in general are a very low-risk group which is why the policy premiums are super crazy cheap. You could argue there's almost no reason to have one since there is so little risk of being sued or the policy being triggered. I would say that a hundred bucks a year is absolutely no financial hardship to me and gives me just a wee bit more peach of mind---and power. A nurse with no other means of liability coverage is a nurse who will bend over backwards assisting the risk management and legal team in the defense of the hospital, believing that they will be protected under that umbrella too. This may or may not be true in the end, but a nurse who has a liability coverage of her own, this is a nurse who only needs to cooperate insofar as it benefits her. A hospital I work for is named in a lawsuit, I will be cooperative because I want to, not because the Suits in Legal or Risk Management made it seem like this is the only way I can be protected from harm. We both know that isn't true.
  14. by   RiskManager
    Extra Pickles, with all due respect, I think you do not understand an essential issue: your own liability coverage is not going to do anything for you for a case involving you for which you are covered by the hospital's insurance as a hospital employee. It is excess coverage only over and above the coverage from the hospital. Unless you are excluded from coverage, which very rarely happens, or the hospital runs out of insurance, which even more rarely happens, your own coverage is not going to do a darn thing for you because it will not be triggered.

    Now, if you are stating that the hospital's malpractice insurance will not cover you for a licensure defense action arising out of a malpractice claim involving you, that is absolutely correct. Your own policy may be triggered in that instance and you can take advantage of the licensure defense coverage. If you accidentally give a patient a bolus of potassium chloride, the hospital is liable for your actions as an employee, and the hospital's insurance will be covering you for your actions of malpractice. The subsequent complaint against your license by the BON is not covered by the hospital's insurance. Many nurses say that the hospital did not cover them for a malpractice claim, and when I question them more closely, they were indeed covered for the malpractice, but not the subsequent BON complaint. The hospital's malpractice insurance is not designed to cover staff licensure complaints, and the staff erroneously thinks it does.

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