Monday, September 15, 2008

Defend and Protect Your Nursing License

There are still too many uninsured nurses and no insurance means that the nurses are financially responsible and that can costs thousands. I have posted blogs on all three of my blogs relating to the importance of nurses purchasing malpractice insurance with a regulatory coverage rider, but I continue to speak with nurses that have not purchased insurance. [See "Good Nurses Don't Need Insurance", "My Employer will Pay", "My employer has insurance", "Malpractice Insurance will get you sued", and more (see my blog entries).

All nurses providing patient care should carry their own malpractice insurance. Not only does the insurance provide legal representation for a lawsuit, but also for an investigation before the Board of Nursing. Nurses that have insurance that receive notice of a complaint before the BON are so relieved to know that they do not have to find the monetary resources to pay for an attorney to represent them before the Board.

The pros of malpractice insurance far outweigh the cons (having to pay for the insurance and that having insurance can keep you in a lawsuit). I have addressed these misconceptions previously (see my previous blog entries on all three of my blogs). When deciding on a malpractice policy, be sure that they pay enough to cover the hourly rate of an attorney (usually over $200 an hour, the more liberal the better for you), that there is a high ceiling (at least $15,000 per occurrence) and that allows you to pick the attorney you want.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Waiting for Licensure

If you have an issue, such as a criminal history or a mental illness diagnosis, do not wait to find out if the Texas Nursing Board will license you. You should not wait until graduation or almost graduation time to find out what action the Board is going to take, because occasionally the Board’s decision can delay a graduate nurse or keep him/her from working permanently.

You are able to petition the Board even before entering nursing school to discover what actions, if any; they propose to resolve your issue. Under Board rule, section 213.30(a), “A person enrolled or planning to enroll in an educational nursing program that prepares a person for an initial license as a registered or vocational nurse or an applicant who seeks licensure by endorsement pursuant to §217.5 of this title (relating to Temporary License and Endorsement) who has reason to believe that he or she may be ineligible for licensure, may petition the Board for a declaratory order or apply for a license by endorsement as to his or her eligibility.” Please note that there is a charge for Petitioning the Board for a Declaratory Order, but it is best to know if you are eligible for licensure before spending all the money on nursing school.

Also note that since this is the first opportunity the Board has to “see” a potential nurse, it is important that the nurse seek experienced help in preparing the documents to the Board. An attorney that regularly represents nurses before the Board can assist in this. Do not rely upon friends, family or instructors because they are not familiar with the Board’s policies and rules.