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Protect Your License, Protect Yourself!

Should nurses and nursing students carry their own personal liability insurance policy? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Unfortunately, a contrary opinion is apparently being voiced by employers, faculty and nurses themselves. You carry insurance to protect your home, your car and your health. Why not your career? Here are the reasons:

  • First, a common assumption is that my employer will cover any incident. Technically, an employer is responsible for the acts of its staff. However, the employer’s interest is not necessarily consistent with protecting you individually. Should there be a lawsuit or threatened suit, your best protection is to have your own personal legal representation. Your own attorney can prepare you for a deposition, represent you in a deposition and, most importantly, represent you in any settlement and determination of fault.
  • Second, your employer’s policy does not represent you in an Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) investigation. In fact, it could be your employer who makes the complaint to the OSBN about an alleged violation of law. The OSBN must investigate each complaint it receives and, even if the complaint is dismissed, there are costs to you. The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) recommends that all nurses obtain legal representation before responding to a letter from the OSBN related to a complaint. Most of the time, you are much more likely to receive a complaint from the OSBN than to be named in a lawsuit.
  • Third, you are always a nurse. You may render first aid or advise a family member or friend about a health problem. Should any incident arise about these acts, the only protection you have is your own personal insurance.

ONA urges you to obtain coverage from the Nurses Service Organization (NSO). For about $100 you can protect yourself. For example, should you be the subject of an OSBN investigation, you have up to $25,000 in coverage for attorney fees, travel etc.

For more information please go to http://www.nso.com/. If you would like to discuss professional practice issues you may also call Carl Brown at the ONA office 503-293-0011.

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Oregon Nurses Association
18765 SW Boones Ferry Rd. Suite 200, Tualatin, OR 97062
(503) 293-0011 or 800-634-3552 (Oregon Only) E-mail:ONA@OregonRN.org