malpractice insurance for RN's? Help!

  1. Hi all--I am a student nurse graduating two weeks from yesterday (finally!).
    All thru nursing school, every one of my instructors has told us to purchase malpractice insurance. They say that even though you may be covered by the hospital you work in, that hospital may not have your best interest at heart should a couple of employees be sued. For example, say three nurses are involved and you saw another nurse "do something," and that information could clear your own name. Well, if the hospital's attorney is representing all of you, that information would not be used since they have to protect ALL of you. So my teachers argue that your own insurance would give you an attorney looking out for YOU, and no one else.
    The flip side of this--ALL the nurses I work with say NO WAY! DON"T EVER GET MALPRACTICE INSURANCE! People only sue nurses if they have their own malpractice insurance! You will definitely get sued if you have it!And not one nurse I know has any of his/her own insurance.

    My dilemma--which is true? I am so confused, and I change my mind back & forth all the time. Being a new grad, and especially with the shortage leading to what one may consider "unsafe" patient/nurse ratios (to say the very least) , I want to make sure I am protected. But who do I believe?
    I have been coming here for a while and could really use some advice from you veteran nurses out there. Tell the fledgling RN's your opinions and experiences. Has anyone been named in a lawsuit? Was it because you had insurance? Did you have no insurance and still get sued? Please help me make sense of it all.....................
    Thanks for your advice,


    [This message has been edited by RNinMay (edited April 24, 2001).]
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    About RNinMay

    Joined: Apr '01; Posts: 37


  3. by   lesliee
    I'm surprised your school didn't make you get malpractice insurance while you were a student...mine did! There are people out there who are convinced that buying life insurance means that they will die soon. I think that is the case with some of the nurses that you've spoken to. I recommend having the insurance. You never know what can happen and it is nice having the peace of mind that if you do get sued, that you have the insurance. Check out the company I do business with - maybe you can get some additional information or statistics that will help you make up your mind.
  4. by   Jenny P
    Rachel, would you drive a car without insurance? No; because you couldn't pay for the damage if there was an accident. So why practice nursing without malpractice insurance? I've had malpractice insurance for about 20 years-- ever since I first realized there was such a thing- because I can't afford to have someone sue me. People don't just sue nurses who have insurance; they sue whomever they feel harmed them in any situation. Malpractice insurance costs less than $100/ year, and I don't know anyone who thinks about it that couldn't afford around 25 cents a day (includung the stamp to mail your application in!) in order to safeguard your license and income.
    I've never had to use my malpractice insurance, but I do think it is one of my best investments. I think with the litigiuos society we live in and the nursing shortage we work in, it's wise to have it. I really don't think that the nurses you've talked with have thought this through completely.
    I do know that hospitals (in the past) have discouraged nurses from getting their own insurance because they told nurses that they were covered-- but they never mentioned that if the nurse was being sued separately from the hospital, the nurse had no legal leg to stand on. And the hospital could also sue the nurse.
  5. by   sharann
    Dear RNiMay,

    First, CONGRATS on your graduation!
    Second, get insurance.
    Simply stated, the hospital will be happy to name you responsible if heaven forbid some incident occured. Your only protection is your being responsible and protecting yourself. Don't put it on a billboard...just get insured.If you are lucky,you will never need to use it.I agree w/ JennyP, you wouldn't drive without insurance,why practice nursng without?
    Good luck!
  6. by   RHinesRN
    Congraduations and get some insurance. Just to let you know both my wife and I are RNs and we have a malpractice rider attached to our home owners policy. We hardly think about it but ..... it's there just in case.

    R, RN
  7. by   canoehead
    I've never figured out how the patient would find out that a particular nurse had personal malpractice insurance and THEN decide to sue.

    If I am ever involved in an incident I want to have someone looking out for my interests, and I know that most of the time my best interests and the hospital's are not exactly the same. The insurance is worth the money in peace of mind for me, let alone if I ever have to use it (knock wood). I would advise a new grad to get it and then decide after working for 5 years whether they trust their employer not to screw them.

    Bet you'll keep the insurance (just in case)
  8. by   Hooligan
    This was a really good post...thanks to RNinMay for posting it and to all those who responded! I was wondering about that myself...

  9. by   CEN35
    if you look hard enough through the archives and past threads, i'll bet you find at least 4 on this subject.

    bottom line?
    would i go without it?
    not in a heartbeat!! :d
    there are a lot of different theories on it, but i'll stick to keeping it.
    hey? for only $70 a year? :d

    why not?

    Last edit by CEN35 on Apr 24, '02
  10. by   P_RN
    Get it. Costs about 80-90 a year. Don't brag you have it, but it's nothing to be ashamed of.
    I've had the same company for 30 years.
    You'll feel better for having done it.
    PM me and I'll tell you who I have mine with.
  11. by   Totone656
    I cannot imagine anyone saying do not get insurance. I got hired and that afternoon I signed onto this site and clicked on the NSO icon! Best $80 bucks I could have spent!

    Congrats on Graduating!