Malpractice Insurance While Traveling

malpractice

traveling nurse malpractice insuranceOver my traveling nurse years I have asked myself many times should I get malpractice insurance.  The majority of the time I have worked with agencies that covered me as long as I was not grossly negligent. I never felt the need to have it and I have never found myself in a position where I would have needed it.  However I have known someone who was sued and even though she was mostly covered by the agency, the amount would exceed the coverage supplied.

The question that comes up from time to time is as a traveler, do I need malpractice insurance? Most experts you talk with  believe that all travel nurses should carry their own malpractice insurance.

What Does Malpractice Insurance Cover?

Malpractice insurance defends you if your hospital or agency does not support you in a claim. If they feel you were grossly negligent or criminal in your actions the may not cover you. It also covers you if the claim is over the maximum allowed by the facility.

There are many insurance companies that will cover you if you were outside the hospital setting.  Most nurses think they are protected by the Good Samaritan Act but that may not be the case.  Wikipedia states Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or who they believe to be, injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated.

Malpractice insurance may also cover you if someone becomes injured in your home and you offer treatment within your scope of practice.

What is the Cost of Traveling Nurse Malpractice Insurance?

Medical malpractice usually cost about $100 dollars a month depending on your specialty. Most of the nursing associations work with insurance agencies that will give discount to their members.  Make sure to check with your accountant to see if it is tax deductible as a business expense.

Whether you carry insurance or not depends on your comfort level to be without it.  There are those who feel that if you have it you are more likely to be sued because they know the insurance generally settles out before a trial.  I have never carried it as long as I know the agency carries it.

Do Travel Agencies Carry Malpractice Insurance?

Travel nurse agencies should support you if you get into a legal battle, they carry malpractice insurance for that reason. You may find however if a claim came up a year later after you have moved to your next assignment with a different company you may not still be covered. Your individual malpractice would. Individual insurance usually covers you for up to 2 years after your insurance has been cancelled.

As a travel nurse you move around a lot working for different companies. This travel makes you independent which is the joy of travel nursing. Make sure you are covered legally. This is one of those things you  do not think about till you need it. Decide what you should do an then research your options. Once you stop traveling, you may keep your malpractice insurance as extra coverage in a high risk profession.

Happy Travels

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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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