Published Mar 31, 2014
If you are not planning on volunteering outside your place of work or working in a private situation there seem to be two opinions about personal Liability Insurance for nurses. If you have insurance you may get your name on a lawsuit, however, it is true that the deeper pockets usually get picked (e.g. the institution you work for). Some say though that you should never assume that the hospital or institution will cover you. Do any of you close to graduation have any cautionary tales from RNs or have an opinion? Are you going to get personal liability insurance?
HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD
If you are working in a voluntary capacity as a clinician (performing duties that are limited to licensed professionals), that organization should have some umbrella liability coverage. You should find out the specifics before you make a commitment.
An employer's insurer is always focused on the best interests of that organization. They will defend and support any employees that were following established P&P / professional practices. However, if a situation arises in which your best interests are not congruent with those of the organization, a personal liability policy will ensure that you have your own legal representation. Attorneys can cost the earth - so it may be a good investment in your own peace of mind.
nurseprnRN, BSN, RN
Every working nurse should have malpractice insurance.
About coverage, this is one of the things you ask before you buy. Some will cover you for something that happened whenever so long as you are paying premium NOW. Some will cover you for something that happened whenever if you were paying premium THEN. Ask. Never, ever be afraid to ask.
Some folks will say that they have heard that only people with insurance get sued, under the "deep pockets" theory of litigation, or that the hospital's insurance will cover you for nursing malpractice. Neither is true. Problem is that if your hospital has a judgment against them for something you did, they don't pay it, their insurance carrier pays it. And then, no matter what the hospital promises you, the insurance carrier is entitled by law to recover their losses...from you, and don't think they won't. My dad wrote insurance on hospitals for years and told me never, never, never go "bare" (without my own insurance) unless I was perfectly comfortable living under a bridge, with no real estate, no money, and no car.
Yeah, I know, there are laws protecting some assets under bankruptcy. But they could garnish your wages more or less in perpetuity, and that wreaks hell with your credit rating. (Did you know that credit ratings are checked when you apply for jobs?) You wanna deal c that? Not I, since decent malpractice insurance is good for short money.
Make sure the policy you buy is clear to you: Does it cover you only while it's in force (while you're still paying for it), or does it cover you for things that happened while you were paying for it in the past, even if you aren't working now and don't think you need insurance? Be sure it pays for your own lawyer, too, or supplies one to defend you (never, never, NEVER rely on the hospital's lawyer to defend you-- conflict of interest there; they do not have your best interests at heart no matter what they say).
For more good info and comments, see these threads:
Thank you. I know it's not going to be easy reading "the small print" but it sounds like I'll need to take some time and do that. Very good to know about the "now" and "then" difference.
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