A faith community nurse is a licensed, registered nurse in a position of an independent nature requiring specific professional expertise. As such, it is important to have malpractice insurance to protect the faith community in which he/she works. For some nurses and churches, finding insurance is a new task. Every insurance company/coverage is different so carefully discuss your parish nurse program with reputable insurance agents using the suggestions below.
- Outline the scope of practice, duties, and responsibilities of the parish nurse so the agent understands the work of the program and the faith community’s needs.
- Discuss options of coverage for malpractice and explore possible plans. Will a rider on a personal policy cover any FCN responsibilities?
- Check with the denomination for church, region, synod, diocese, or national level liability coverage that may apply to parish nursing. If a policy does not exist, a rider for parish nursing may be an option.
Online resources for malpractice insurance:
- NP Central – links to important insurance information
- Nurses Service Organization – personal malpractice insurance from Nurses Service Organization
- American Nurses Association – liability insurance information
To decrease the risk of professional liability issues:
- Create and maintain a strong line of communication between the parish nurse and the church, staff, client, client’s family, and any other stakeholder.
- Have a well-defined job description for the position in the faith community.
- Comply with boundaries/functions of the Faith Community: Scope and Standards of Practice.
- Maintain a documentation system that supports the actions of a faith community nurse.
Automobile Coverage: If transporting clients, be sure the proper auto coverage is in place before using personal vehicles for faith community nurse tasks. For recommendations of appropriate liability protection, discuss the following issues with insurance agents.
- Explain who is being transported and why.
- Describe the organization and its relationship to those being transported. Is the FCN part of a non-profit organization, transporting people according to the dictates of the organization, a volunteer or paid person with the organization, being reimbursed for the service (gas mileage, salary, etc.).
If additional coverage is required, the church should be responsible for the cost as a job-related expense. Options for auto coverage include:
- Personal coverage that includes transportation for “non-profit” or “religious” organizations.
- Additional coverage called ‘transport for hire’ in the form of a rider or an additional policy—purchased by either the church or the parish nurse.
- Blanket church coverage for anyone transporting members of the faith community.