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Does an RN need to carry liability coverage for occasional volunteer activities or responding to inquiries for healthcare advice?

Question:

Dear Nancy,

In one of your previous responses, you answered an excellent question about nurses carrying liability coverage after retirement. I have an additional question on that note. Do I need to consider carrying liability coverage for occasional volunteer activities, such as working at blood drives where I observe donors and take blood pressures and the recurrent activity of responding to inquiries for
healthcare advice?

Justine

Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Justine,

Generally speaking, most states have laws providing immunity from suit for volunteers who work in the settings you describe. The protection may be part of the state nurse practice act or it may be a general statute applying to all healthcare providers who volunteer their services. The immunity protects the healthcare volunteer from suit for “ordinary negligence.” If a nurse or other healthcare provider were “willfully and/or wantonly” negligent, the immunity would not apply.

You would need to determine if your state has such protection for volunteers and what the requirements are for the protection to apply. As a common example, many statutes state you cannot be compensated for your volunteer services.

Insofar as the ever-present questions by friends and neighbors about healthcare advice, the better approach for these inquiries is not to provide specific advice. Rather, the better approach is to encourage them to seek out specific advice from a doctor or APN who can assess the entire situation and provide specific direction to the individual.

It is doubtful that any professional liability policy would cover such advice but you might want to speak with your insurance agent about this or the carrier for the professional liability insurance policy you had while actively practicing nursing.

Sincerely,
Nancy

By | 2014-09-17T00:00:00-04:00 September 17th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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