In the health care industry this is a must have for all nurses. This is actually your safeguard for yourself against any and all unforeseen situations that you cannot avoid while on your work. This insurance will protect you from costs of legal and board action which can be unavoidable in some instances. You have to face the undeniable fact that legal actions, although unwanted, can be a part of every health care professional’s career. It is something looming all the time due to sensitivity of what you are handling: human life. There might be errors that you’ll commit (unintentionally) and this is the thing that Professional Liability Insurance is trying to protect.
Even though some employers provide insurance to staff, it’s a wise idea to carry one on your own. It is a small price to pay to secure you from legal aspects of your career. There are cases when employers never pay the premiums although they guarantee their nurses that they have covered their professional insurance. Or sometimes when the liability or the cost of legal action is too big, insurance firms refuse to pay the amount like what went down in a legal battle in Massachusetts. Although this is a unique case still we saw that this can actually happen.
What could really happen the instances when you are performing your duties? Even simple everyday routine can be a cause of legal action. That’s the reason health care professionals including doctors are very careful in terms of performing their jobs.
You could be sued if you make a mistake while observing a patient or if some other person suppose that you did. This might be quite simple once you look at it but the process could be huge and expensive. You might be innocent nonetheless you will be taken to court proving that you are innocent of the charges.
Someone reported (the employer or another party) that you made a mistake in the patient’s records.
A doctor will claim that you made an error or misunderstood his directions.
A patient or a relative of a patient may claim that you have provided inadequate patient care or performed a differently the instructions given to you by doctors or superiors.
You are already off duty however you still helped someone with an injury or any health situation (even though you mean well)
Having that said, it’s important to equip yourself with the right knowledge regarding Professional Liability Insurance. First, be sure that your employer is actually providing you with this insurance and that it stays active all the time. You could have them provide you with written verification which they do purchase malpractice insurance and provide you with the limits or what are included in that coverage. Next is you must also purchase your own insurance. You should get this based on where you work or where you live and what your specialization is. Several insurance firms are of service to health care professionals. Be sure you go searching first before settling to one.
Another important consideration is the difference between the occurrence and the claims made. Briefly, occurrence refers to the actual time the alleged malpractice happened while claims made refer to the actual time the claim is communicated to you including retroactive coverage for prior activities. Make sure that what is covered in your policy are the ones that you truly need.
These are just some of the things you should keep in mind while you are actively performing your job. What you must also remember is even if you happen to be already retired from your job, law suits can still haunt you due to the mistake you made or allegedly committed when you were still on active duty. That is why making sure you are properly covered with Professional Liability Insurance is important in the performance of your job as a nurse.