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Should a school RN, who is employed by the local board of education in a non-public high school, carry malpractice insurance?

Monday June 16, 2014
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I am a school nurse with RN, BSN, CPN credentials who is employed by the local board of education in a non-public high school. Should I carry
malpractice insurance?

Marilyn



Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Marilyn,

It has always been my position that nurses should carry their own professional liability insurance. Doing so is important as you are a professional and should not be relying on an employer to purchase such an important item for you. If you decide to do so, however, be certain you know what the policy covers (e.g., amount of coverage for one incident and in the aggregate, what your responsibilities are under the policy and what the policy does not cover).

You are employed by the board of education but have been placed in a non-public school. In your state, non-public schools must be regulated by the state school code. Even if this is correct, this raises the question of whether or not you would have any protection under the state's tort immunity act and/or the school code that might provide immunity from suit for you under certain circumstances. Although immunity from suit is an important issue, you should never practice nursing with the idea that if sued, you would enjoy immunity. There are many circumstances when it does not apply, depending on state law.

You might do well to contact the National Association of School Nurses' website at (www.nasn.org) to review some of their positions on liability and malpractice insurance. You can search their website by typing liability insurance in the search bar. In addition, since your position is unique in terms of your placement in a non-public school, your situation is such that a consultation with a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state might be helpful to you in arriving at a decision about
liability protection.

Cordially,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.