Why Nursing Students Need their Own Professional Liability Policy
For people interested in a career in healthcare, nursing offers many advantages. Registered nurses get the opportunity to directly help people and improve their lives while earning competitive salaries. Nurses are also in high demand, with the job outlook expected to grow by 7% in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To become a registered nurse, you need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree — an educational endeavor that typically takes two to four years. During that time, would-be-nurses are nursing students who, in addition to taking classes, also receive essential medical training, which often involves working directly with patients.
Does that mean nursing students need professional liability insurance? The simple answer is yes. Read on to find out why such a policy is a must-have for nurses in training.
Nursing students can get sued by patients
Medical malpractice lawsuits affect not only doctors and registered nurses, but nursing students too. When a patient sues, any person who had any involvement in the patient’s care can be named as a defendant.
This means that even nursing students can be sued for poor standard of care. When that happens, “the jury is instructed to compare the student nurse’s conduct with the overall standard of care for a nursing student,” according to Nancy J. Brent, a nurse attorney.
To prevent an unexpected lawsuit from halting a nursing career before it even begins, nursing students must make sure they are covered by adequate professional liability insurance, even while still in school.
Employer or institutional coverage doesn’t always protect nursing students
A large number of nursing students and registered nurses alike mistakenly believe that their employer or school’s insurance protects them fully. However, not all institutions offer adequate insurance coverage for their healthcare workers. And, many nursing schools now require proof of coverage from students prior to allowing you to start clinicals.
If your institution does provide you with coverage, make sure to get the full details of what the policy includes. What exactly does the policy cover, and under which circumstances? And how much does it cover, should lawyer’s bills, settlements, or judgements run high? These are important details to find out well before engaging with patients or clinical work.
Should your institution’s insurance policy not provide adequate coverage, purchasing a personal liability policy can fill in the gap so you’re prepared for worst case scenarios.
Some facilities require individual professional liability coverage
Depending on where they train or work, nursing students may be required to obtain their own professional liability coverage. In such scenarios, you’ll want to make sure to invest in a thorough policy that meets all the needs of your particular situation.
Nursing is a profession that often requires changing employers
Many registered nurses move from job to job, are employed at more than one facility, work through temporary agencies, or hold multiple jobs, for a wide variety of reasons. As a nursing student, you too may need to undergo training in a number of different locations, transfer between schools, or change programs — situations that are easiest to manage through a professional liability policy that covers you wherever you may go.
Nursing students need coverage outside of school and work
Nursing students often choose to volunteer at free clinics and other healthcare-related establishments, employing their skills outside of their official school or institutional setting for the betterment of their communities. Because patients can still sue in these situations, even while you are acting as a good samaritan, nursing students are best protected by personal professional liability policies that cover lawyer’s fees or other expenses that may come up in the process.
Even excellent nursing students can get sued
Lawsuits can hit anyone, whether they’re honest or dishonest, careful or careless, hardworking or lackadaisical. This goes for nursing students too. Nursing students who excel in their studies and are conscientious about their work may be under the impression that they could never be sued by a patient, but they too can fall victim to frivolous lawsuits from patients or an accidental human error of their own.
This is, in fact, the real reason why professional liability insurance exists — not to give a free pass to the incompetent or willfully negligent, but to protect good healthcare workers who unwittingly make a mistake or experience an unfortunate patient outcome.
Nursing is a rewarding and financially remunerative career. The costs of a medical malpractice lawsuit, however, can run incredibly high. Professional liability policies can protect nursing students by paying for a defense attorney, as well as any settlements or judgments made against them. Nursing students should make sure they are protected by insurance while still in training to protect their education and future careers.
At NOW Insurance, we offer simple, fast, and affordable professional liability insurance for student nurses. Find out more about insurance for nurses and nurse practitioners, and get started with an instant quote from our online app.