Do You Need Insurance To Work As A Nurse In Australia?
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For those who have a passion for helping others, a career in nursing may be the right fit for you. While getting the right education and experience are obvious requirements, there are other things that aspiring nurses need to consider. A common question is whether nurses need to have insurance coverage or not. In this article, we’ll cover what insurance is required and how to mitigate any potential risks when working as a nurse.
What Insurance Is Required For Nurses By Law?
In 2009 and 2010, each Australian state and territory adopted and enacted the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (also referred to as the National Law) which dictates requirements for registered health practitioners. The Nursing and Midwife Board of Australia (NMBA) is responsible for making sure that all registered nurses and midwives meet the requirements of the National Law.
When it comes to insurance, Section 129 of the law stipulates that registered health practitioners may not practice their professions without carrying professional indemnity insurance (or PII). This requirement is designed to help protect the public from errors, mistakes, or bad advice that is given by health care providers.
The law states that nurses must carry enough coverage to meet any liability in the event of a lawsuit or claim. There isn’t a single amount that works for all nurses since the type of medical services, geographic service area, prior history of insurance claims, and professional experience vary.
Another factor to consider is whether you work for a hospital (or another medical facility) or have a private practice. For nurses that work for a medical facility, all staff may be covered under the organisation's insurance policy. You should always check with your employer to be sure. For nurses who work as independent contractors, a private insurance policy will be needed.
Other Options to Protect Yourself When Working as a Nurse
Nurses will be grateful they have Professional Indemnity Insurance if they find themselves in a situation where they are facing a lawsuit. However, it’s best to try and avoid these situations altogether. Nurses have lots of best practices and tools of the trade at their disposal to avoid lawsuits or provide enhanced coverage. These include:
- Policies and Procedures - Nurses should always take the time to follow all policies, procedures, and best practices to reduce the chances of any malpractice or mistakes. This alone can greatly reduce your chances of you, or your employer being sued.
- Medical Paperwork - In most cases, patients are expected to provide consent and acknowledge any risks associated with the treatments they received. Diligence to make sure that this paperwork is in order and signed may help protect you.
- Get A Second Opinion - Nurses are often in situations where they need to make decisions or recommendations based on their experience or medical knowledge. If nurses are ever unsure whether or not they are making the right call, they should consult another nurse or doctor for a second opinion. This can help shine a light on any potential risks that you might have missed the first time.
- Additional Insurance Coverage - While Professional Indemnity Insurance is required by law and will protect you in most cases, there are other insurance options available to supplement or enhance your coverage. For example, Public Liability Insurance can provide additional protection against accidental injury to others or damage to personal property while performing your services. This type of insurance can be useful if you are a nurse doing at home visits, for example.
Helping Nurses Stay Compliant With Insurance Requirements
Here at upcover we know the importance of nurses selecting the right insurance policy to stay compliant with laws and regulations. That's why we've built our instant quote generator which will give you an estimate on your policy in seconds. Check it out today and get a quote on professional indemnity and public liability insurance for nurses.