Suppose you had an item that you really wanted but was very expensive. Suppose this item cost you $80,000. Perhaps you took out a loan in order to pay for the item.
Suppose in addition to paying $80,000 you also had to work for four years and contribute four years of your labor to help pay for the item. For this example, let’s assume your four years of labor is equivalent to an additional $80,000. Once you can afford the item, you will have invested the equivalent of $160,000 for it.
In order to protect this expensive item, would you insure it? If this item produced additional income for you, would you insure it? After considering the price tag of the item, and knowing you have achieved something few others ever do, would you insure it for its full value?
I think almost everyone would answer yes to the questions above. I certainly would, and I expect you would too.
Yet, I am constantly contacted by nurses who have worked hard for many years, have paid tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, fees, books, and who have sacrificed in order to obtain a nursing degree and nursing license. Yet, they have not purchased insurance to protect their hard earned licenses.
I am baffled at the number of nurses who come to us in serious trouble because a complaint has been filed against them by a former employer, vengeful co-worker, unhappy patient (or patient’s family), or disgruntled former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. Often the issues are complex. The legal procedures surrounding administrative complaints and administrative hearings are certainly complicated and confusing. Yet they do not have the savings to hire an experienced attorney to defend them, and they do not have insurance to cover their defense.
I’m not speaking of professional liability insurance when I am writing this. I am speaking of insurance to cover your legal defense expenses in the event a complaint is filed against you, jeopardizing your nursing license. A nursing license with discipline on it is like an old antique painting with a big hole in it; its value is greatly diminished. A nursing license with disciplinary action is worth a lot less than one that is unblemished. It is not as marketable as one with no damage on it.
In my experience, nurses are far more likely to have a complaint filed against them resulting in an investigation for possible discipline against their licenses than they are to have a professional liability suit filed against them. That is why I say that you should purchase nursing liability insurance because of the professional licensure defense coverage it provides; not because it pays in the event of a law suit.
Furthermore, given that most popular nursing liability insurance (e.g., Nurses Service Organization (NSO) Insurance, CPH & Associates Insurance) is very inexpensive (as little as $10 a month), it is foolish not to be insured. You have an extremely valuable asset that could easily produce $2 million in income during your lifetime. Don’t you think a hundred dollars a year is worth paying to help protect it?
This is why I stress buying nursing liability insurance. Buy it now! Be sure you are covered for at least $25,000 in professional license defense expense coverage and preferably more, if you can get it. Buy two policies if necessary. But buy it! If you don’t, when you really need it, it will be too late. You may lose that valuable asset you worked so hard to get.
Have you dragged your feet in purchasing professional liability insurance? If so, why? Did reading this blog change your mind? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
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The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent registered nurses, nurse practitioners, advanced practice registered nurses, certified registered nurse anesthetists, midwives and licensed practical nurses in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, in appearances before the Board of Nursing in licensing matters and in many other legal matters. We represent nurses across the U.S., and throughout Florida.
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About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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