Whereas only doctors and lawyers were seen as professionals originally, that description has broadened over the past few decades to include many other professions, including nursing. As a nurse, you provide a professional service to a third party and therefore stand a high risk of a claim being made against you for damages or injury. Professional indemnity insurance for nurses will cover you in this eventuality.

Why do I Need Professional Indemnity Insurance for Nurses?

According to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), all Nurses and Midwives in Australia are obliged to carry Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) as of 1 July 2010. The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW), which came into force on 1 July, 2012, provides that a registered nurse cannot practice their profession unless “appropriate professional indemnity insurance arrangements” are in place.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia defines “professional indemnity insurance arrangements” as insurance that protects the practitioner from claims arising from the negligence of the practitioner.

The risks for claims against nurses are very high and include:

  • Being accused of unprofessional conduct in either an administrative and/or a clinical role
  • Giving the incorrect medication or treatment to a patient or making an incorrect diagnosis
  • Damage arising from negligence in applying or removing dressings
  • Failure to accurately carry out instructions for care
  • Negligence in taking care of a patient that results in injury, damages or even death
  • An error in judgement resulting in damage to a patient’s property or injury to their person
  • Malpractice

As a professional nurse you may be covered by your employer’s PI insurance, but should still take out your own policy as your employer may have differing interests, or their policy may not protect you completely.

Another reason to ensure that you carry your own personal professional indemnity insurance for nurses is that if you perform part-time independent or contract work, you know that you are covered. This also goes for any type of voluntary work that you may do such as assisting at sporting events or offering your services to a charity or not-for-profit concern.