Professional Liability Insurance for Nurses?

Healthcare Training Resource
June 27, 2014 — 4,113 views  
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Professional Liability Insurance for Nurses?

For several decades, the frequency of malpractice lawsuits has been on the rise across the country. This has caused a ripple effect across the broader healthcare sector, most notoriously in the requirement of all physicians to carry liability insurance. Also known more commonly as malpractice insurance, this coverage is designed to protect doctors from disastrous financial harm at the hands of such a lawsuit and protect their career from irreversible damage as the result of a single patient lawsuit. Nurses often get overlooked in the discussion of malpractice insurance, but they certainly shouldn't be. In fact, it's often just as necessary for nurses to carry liability coverage as it is for the average physician.

The States: Why is Nursing Malpractice Insurance a Good Idea?

Though doctors might be more common when in-depth medical treatments and procedures are required, nurses are often on the front lines when it comes to delivering patient care in general practice or family care clinics. In fact, nurse practitioners often perform the same exact services as doctors in this setting. That means they're responsible not only for determining a patient's condition, but also for prescribing them the treatment they require to improve their health.

If anything goes wrong, however, the nurse will end up the target of a malpractice suit. Without health insurance, they could find themselves fully liable for any financial or other damages awarded to the patient as a result of this incident. Liability coverage protects nurses from this reality just as it does physicians.

Employer Coverage vs. Individual Coverage: Which One is Better?

Those nurses shopping for liability coverage typically have two distinct options. The first is an employer-provided coverage option that is automatically deducted out of each paycheck. The second is private coverage through an independent company, payable on a monthly or annual basis. Both of these options make sense in different settings.

The most common way to ensure protection from malpractice suits is with an employer's liability plan and automatic paycheck deductions. The reason for this is primarily budgetary: Because large clinics and hospitals get a group rate on malpractice insurance, those they cover receive a significant discount on the cost of their policy. That means more take-home pay and less up-front expenses for coverage. In some cases, however, the employer does not provide this coverage. Nurses will then have to pursue private liability insurance instead. In other cases, the coverage may require supplementation.

Individual coverage through an outside corporation is most commonly sought when the employer does not offer their own malpractice insurance option. Nurses opt for this coverage purely to protect themselves, whether or not their employer deems it a requirement. In other cases, the employer's insurance plan may be too minimal to provide significant financial and career protection after a lawsuit is filed. Nurses may buy supplementary insurance coverage from an outside company in this case, so that they're fully protected no matter what.

A Great Idea for Nurses in Every Setting

Whether it's basic patient care or more involved work, nurses would do themselves a service to secure liability insurance and protection from lawsuits. This is the only significant, consequential way to protect assets and career prospects from long-term harm or permanent damage if a dissatisfied patient ever files a lawsuit.

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