Nurses can be sued over malpractice claims, and they can have their professional licenses suspended or revoked depending on the circumstances. Nurses can be called to give a deposition for a lawsuit, too. Nurses are required to analyze the facts and circumstances around a person’s illness or medical needs on a case-by-case basis.
When a nurse makes poor judgement, a patient can become injured, leading to a malpractice claim.
Protecting a professional license should take center stage at this point. Nurses can protect their licenses in several ways:
Personal Medical Malpractice Insurance
Hospitals and doctors have medical malpractice insurance, but nurses should obtain their own insurance policies. The hospital’s or employer’s insurance will act in the best interest of the policyholder, not the nurse named in a lawsuit.
Obtaining your own private insurance means that you can have a nursing license attorney cover your best interests.
Policies can have:
Professional liability coverage
Abuse or misconduct coverage
Personal liability coverage
Defense expense benefits and coverage
Nurses work in a fast-paced environment and often in a workplace that is understaffed. When a personal insurance policy is taken out, it’s possible to have additional coverage to protect your license and any liability that you may face.
Follow Standards of Care
You must follow standards of care as a nurse, and this means that you must take care to:
Lawsuits revolve around proving that a standard of care was breached. If nurses follow the standard of care, they will reduce the risk of a malpractice lawsuit.
Avoid Common Mistakes Leading to Malpractice Claims
Knowing which mistakes lead to the most claims can help nurses better protect their licenses. A few of the most common claims against nurses are:
Failure to follow standards of care which was outlined in the previous section.
Failure to communicate. Good communication must exist between the nurse, physician and other healthcare providers to ensure that all parties know the most recent facts. A nurse must relay all pertinent information to the physician, provide all of the correct discharge information and also communicate an assessment of the person’s condition.
Failure to document. All procedures must be documented, or there is no proof that the procedure was conducted. The documentation that a nurse makes allows physicians and other medical practitioners to have a greater insight into the patient’s health. If a key medical condition was overlooked because of failure to be documented, the nurse can be held liable in a malpractice claim.
Failure to assess and monitor. Nurses have a duty to follow all procedures, monitor and assess a patient’s condition and take action to prevent further issues from occurring.
Nurses who follow procedures and the tips above will be able to lower their risk of having their licenses suspended or being named in a malpractice lawsuit. If a nurse follows all of the tips above, there is a lower risk of being named in a lawsuit and loss of license.
The health care regulatory environment seems gets more complicated every year with new ways licensees can get in trouble. For example, California just enacted the Patient’s Right to Know Act on July 1, 2019. This first in the nation law puts the reputation and practice at risk if a healing arts licensee has been disciplined for misconduct. They must have all patients sign a misconduct disclosure form explaining the doctor’s probation, practice restrictions and where to go for more information.