Although the question asked was specific to malpractice insurance for dermatology nurses, the advice of health care attorney Carolyn Buppert is sound for most any specialty. When considering how much malpractice coverage to obtain, you want “as much as you can get and afford.”
This legal expert points out that that there are too few cases against dermatology nurses to form an opinion that is specific to that specialty. Ms. Buppert noted threee suits against nurse practitioners, taking into account the general circumstances, the amount that a jury awarded the plaintiff, and what the settlement amounts were. Of course, these three cases weren’t her only basis. Rather, they gave her a focal point upon which to apply her education and experience as a medical field attorney.
As is always the case, it was suggested that the following questions be addressed:
What does the policy cover?
What exclusions are written into the policy?
Is the policy “Claims Made” or “Occurrence”?
What is your company’s tenure? How long have you been writing policies for nurses?
Just as is the case with medicine itself, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ms. Buppert recommended not providing services or advice outside of the scope of their practice or outside of the works setting, and that they stick to standard guidelines and commonly accepted practices within that specialty. She also recommends that complete and careful documentation be made. That way, if a circumstance is reviewed, the nurse’s actions may more easily be justified.
Source: Dermatology Nursing; October 2008