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A solid risk management plan can help nurses facing malpractice

Nursing can be a very stressful and hazardous profession. Every day, you might have to make a decision that could mean life or death to a patient. The "what ifs" that exist in the nursing profession are limitless and even a simple mistake could have dire consequences, which, in turn, could lead to the possible loss of your nursing license. This is where risk management comes in.

As a nurse in Minnesota or Wisconsin, you have an obligation to your patients to practice your profession in a safe manner. In general, you are legally responsible for all of your actions as a professional which means that you should have a plan in place in case you find yourself having to fight back against a malpractice claim. The following tips can help you develop a risk management plan in case you find yourself in such a position.

Professional insurance

While you more than likely have coverage through your employer, consider purchasing professional insurance on your own as well. This is because there are some situations that your employer's insurance will not cover. For example, if a court finds you liable in a malpractice claim, your employer's insurance may not cover the full cost. Your professional insurance should cover the difference or least provide enough relief that you will not have to pay the entire amount out of pocket.

Your professional insurance may also provide licensure protection. This means that your insurance may provide coverage for attorney fees in case you have to defend yourself against disciplinary action.

Safe and effective practices

A large part of being a nurse is having strong communication skills. You should always take the time to engage in clear and consistent communication with patients, doctors and other medical staff. In addition, you must also have proper documentation and always stay within the realm of your scope of duties. This might mean you take an extra continuing education course, to brush up on such skills.

Reflection

If you find yourself in a situation where you made the wrong call, the unexpected happened or someone issued a complaint against you for another reason, take the time to reflect on the situation. Revisit the moment and look at it from an objective standpoint. Was there something that you could have done differently under the circumstances? Could you have done better? By examining past instances, it will better prepare you to handle similar situations that might arise in the future.

If you are facing a disciplinary hearing due to a malpractice complaint, it is important to remember that you have rights and options. The above tips can help you prepare for handling such a situation.

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