Guide to Malpractice Insurance: 8 Do’s and Don’ts for Nurses.

Nursing is a fantastic career opportunity. Your job is fulfilling and rewarding. But medical malpractices are typical for a wide variety of reasons, and you run the risk of having a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against you. It is impossible to eliminate all the chances of a case. But you can protect yourself from a malpractice lawsuit with appropriate medical malpractice insurance. Here’s a quick guide to malpractice insurance – eight dos and don’ts for nurses.

The Do’s of Malpractice Nursing Insurance

1. Understand that nurses can be sued

Yes, there was a time when doctors got sued more than nurses. But that trend has changed over the past few years.

· You are partially responsible, even if the treating doctor made a mistake with the instructions given to you.

· If someone believed that you were responsible for a patient’s outcome, they could hold you accountable. Even if their assumption was incorrect and the lawsuit has no merit.

· A charge of negligence can arise from almost any act or failure to act, resulting in a patient’s injury or death.

· Even an unintentional failure to stick to the required standards of medical practice could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

2. Find out the details of your employer’s insurance policy – what it covers and how much protection you get.

Most often, nurses take it for granted that their employer’s medical malpractice insurance completely covers them. The HR department tells them, “Don’t worry. We have liability insurance, and you don’t need your medical malpractice insurance.” So they don’t think about asking questions about or taking a closer look at the policy.

But suppose you look closely at your employer’s malpractice policy for you. In that case, you might notice that the liability insurance that your employers assured you about is tailored to sufficiently protect them and not you.

Sadly, you will get to see this policy only when you get a malpractice lawsuit notice unless you ask. So, take a proactive approach and ask the HR department or the insurance agency for all the details.

3. Invest in your insurance policy

When you own medical malpractice insurance, you can choose your attorney and protect your career, reputation, and livelihood – regardless of whether your employer’s medical malpractice policy covers you.

Your policy will provide you with multiple benefits that an employer policy does not cover. For example, you could get aid expenses, assault, slander or libel, property damage, and even license protection benefits.

If individual and employer policies cover you, you can benefit from both approaches.

Understand and take into account what your employer’s medical practice insurance will cover for you. Then, purchase an individual policy that covers anything that your employer’s policy does not cover.

It’s critical that your policy also covers any additional voluntary work that you might provide outside your workplace.

4. Familiarize yourself with the risks of malpractice associated with your specialty

When you are aware of the risks associated with your career, you can better equip yourself to handle those risks and succeed in your job. Here are some dangers related to nursing practices that could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit:

·        You fail to follow standards of care. For example, you fail to institute a fall protocol, proper procedures for specific duties (like giving medications), or you fail to use equipment responsibly.

·        You fail to communicate: For example, you might not communicate critical information to the attending doctor or important discharge information to the patient.

·        You fail to document essential findings during a physical assessment. For example, you fail to report an allergy to a particular drug. The attending doctor prescribes that drug which leads to severe complications.

·        You fail to assess and monitor the patient. You fail to use your discretion to check, monitor, and evaluate an emergency.

·        You delegate tasks to the wrong people. You trust a job to someone who is not authorized to perform that task.

The don’ts of medical practice insurance

5. Don’t believe all the myths associated with medical malpractices

Some common myths that you might come across are as follows:

· You will be sued only if you make a mistake.

· You don’t need your Insurance if you work for a large hospital.

· If you carry your malpractice insurance, you are more likely to be sued.

· Very rarely do nurses get sued.

6. Don’t assume that your employer’s insurance plan automatically prioritizes your requirements.

There is a common misconception across industries that an employer’s insurance plan will cover all employees completely. That is an ideal solution. Unfortunately, most business owners invest in policies with multiple exclusions and gaps that could prompt them to refuse to help you. Here are some:

· If you make a mistake that leads to charges against the practice (or your boss believes you are responsible for the liability it faces), they could bring a counterclaim against you.

· If a claim was filed after your termination from employment (or your resignation), then your employer’s policy might not cover you any longer. 

· Whenever there is a conflict of interest between you and your employer, your employer’s interest will take priority.

· Your employer’s policy will not cover you if sued for nursing services you provided outside your workplace. For example, if sued when volunteering to take care of a neighbour.

7. Don’t ignore critical strategies that can prevent a lawsuit.

Are you wondering what to do in nursing to avoid medical malpractices? Here are a few proactive steps that you can take to ward off medical malpractices.

· Perform only those skills that you are allowed to perform within your practice scope.

· Don’t accept responsibilities you cannot perform.

· Refuse assignments you cannot perform safely.

· Never offer opinions regarding a patient’s health.

· Stay current in your field of specialization and attend professional development programs.

· Avoid making statements to patients or their families that they might wrongly construe as an admission of guilt/fault on your part.

· Document all patient care and communication accurately, ultimately, and promptly.

· Maintain open and honest communication with all your patients and their families.

· Provide a safe environment and follow all facility procedures and policies.

8. Don’t be caught off-guard

Experts say that both doctors and nurses must be mentally prepared for a lawsuit. Whether you are a trainee nurse or a seasoned nurse with several decades of experience under your belt, never lose sight of the possibility that you can be sued.

When you think ahead, you can make preparations, so you are prepared. For example, you can invest in a malpractice insurance policy well in advance, save up and keep aside money for a rainy day, and even take necessary steps to protect your assets.

Conclusion

As a registered nurse, you can never do enough to protect yourself from being sued. But you can take precautions against medical malpractices. Follow the above dos and don’ts, and you will be better equipped to prevent and handle any medical malpractices. Compare Insurance for nurses by visiting this website.