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Is License at Risk?

I am a RN who graduated in MS in 2012. I volunteered for a few months at a free clinic before moving to CA. I did finally get a job at a hospital in February, but I was still hoping to do some volunteer work.

My main question is can volunteering at a free clinic put my nursing license at risk? When I volunteered at the clinic in MS I took patient information, vitals, and counted pills to fill the prescritptions given. Also, if anyone knows of any free clinics in the Antelope Valley, CA...let me knoe! :)

Leader25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU.

You are working free doe not mean no risk, one can be sued being a good samaritan.What type of insurance does the clinic have and does it have a liability policy?

If you're a prudent nurse, your license shouldn't be at risk!

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses

imintrouble, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg.

Until somebody with more information than me posts, I'll contribute why I THINK a license might be at risk.

Just because you volunteer, or are not paid for your knowledge, doesn't mean your credentials aren't on the line.

If a person strokes after you take a B/P of 200/100, the family can look at you and say "You didn't tell me it was an emergency". The client told you he hadn't taken his meds for the day, B/P that high wasn't unusual before taking meds, and the pt's INR was > 5. That last thing nobody knew because the client was noncompliant with scheduled blood tests r/t Coumadin. He also failed to tell you he bumped his head that morning when he stumbled out of bed because he was dizzy.

Should you have known all of that when dispensing advice over a free B/P check as a volunteer? We'd both think why would we. We're just checking a B/P.

Arguably, as an RN with your credentials, you could be held accountable for that CVA.

Kind of far fetched, maybe not completely accurate, but I would think twice before I volunteered at a place I wasn't very familiar with.

Leader25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU.

And a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down ,Mary.

What does being prudent have to do with crazy patients and hungry lawyers ?!!!

Rbeck911, BSN, RN

Specializes in Occupational Health / EMS.

You're expected to operate as a nurse, regardless of reimbursement. Accepting money changes nothing. However, from a liability standpoint, I would make sure that the clinic has a medical director. Silly question, but it has happened before. As long as there is medical direction and you perform within your scope, then don't worry about it. If it is a bunch of free lancers with bright eyes and bushy tails trying to save the world one flower at a time with no malpractice insurance, run for the hills. I volunteer as a nurse quite often. When people ask me medical questions, I give them a nickle's worth of free advice: "Maybe you should go see your Doctor".

Thanks, I will remember to ask if they have malpractice/liability insurance.

Remember that YOU should also carry your OWN malpractice/liability insurance. For around $100 per year you can sleep better knowing you are covered if someone tries to come after your license.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

think of your job and your license as separate entities. Your BON does not control your salary, where you work or working conditions. Your employer does not determine what qualifies you to get and keep a license. So---if you violate the BON's rules you are subject to discipline same as any other nurse. The fact that you did it while working pro bono does not factor in.


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