You’re probably thinking a stethoscope or a pen, but it’s something much more boring and important than that: professional liability insurance.

Disclaimer: In keeping with the theme of this post, I am not providing legal advice.

In an age where people will sue if you look at them the wrong way, insurance is more important than ever. Professional liability insurance adds a layer of protection that could save your career and financial well-being. For the same price as an evening out at the bar or dinner with friends, you can have professional liability insurance for the year. This can potentially protect you from hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal action, court and lawyer fees, and save your license from carrying blemishes.

My employer says that they carry a professional liability insurance policy. Aren’t I covered?

Yes, but let’s take a look deeper. Many health systems have their own liability insurance policies that cover everyone who works at the facility, but it’s definitely beneficial to have a personal policy as well. The incentive for hospitals is to settle if a case is ever brought against them. This usually keeps their name out of the news, the problem goes away, and they often don’t have to admit fault. However, if ever a case were to be brought up in which would require something to be reported to the nursing board, you run the risk of having your license reported as well because you are included in the case that was settled. If you have your own policy, you will have more individualized protection, the incentive of which aimed at protecting you and your integrity.

Travelers, nursing students, and new hires are often the first to be thrown under the bus if something goes wrong. You definitely want to have that extra bit of security, knowing that your interests are being safeguarded in the unfortunate case that you’re involved in a legal matter.

It’s alarming when I find that some of my colleagues do not have professional liability insurance – many of which because they don’t know it exists. The reason being, I have seen the benefits of the protection, having encountered a number of nurses who have had cases brought against them, whether that be individually or as part of a group, where their licenses remain unblemished and they endured no financial hardships as a result of the proceedings.

For me, the goal is to never have use the service, but it’s comforting to know that they’ll have my back if push comes to shove. That sense of comfort is well worth the price (my annual premium is a little over $150). If you are a contractor or self-employed, your rates may be higher. There are other factors that play into determining your risk-factor and your premiums, but ultimately that’s up to their underwriters.

For those interested in acquiring professional liability insurance (and I hope you are after reading this), it’ll only take a quick phone call. The company I use is Nurses Service Organization, or NSO. Check out them out NSO.com.

I am not receiving any kick backs or referral fees for this recommendation. This is simply the company I use. Feel free to shop around, but I’ve had good experiences with them.

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