1. Alexander, Mary MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN

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The specialty of infusion nursing is fraught with risk because of the invasive nature of the care we provide-from placing infusion devices; administering high-risk medications; working to prevent complications, especially among patients whose vascular access device is their lifeline; and staying abreast of and maintaining professional competency with regard to new and ever-evolving technologies.

Mary Alexander, MA, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary Alexander, MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN INS Chief Executive Officer Editor:

As nurses, we always put our patients' best interests first. At the same time, we need to protect ourselves and our professional careers.


INS takes seriously its responsibility to provide programs and services that will enhance clinical practice and lead to positive patient outcomes. These range from a wide selection of educational programming to an array of publications, which include the Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice. INS also supports certification for infusion nurses through INCC. We acknowledge the risks and believe knowledgeable, competent nurses are in a position to practice safely.


We also recognize the importance of informing nurses about additional protection in the form of professional liability insurance. Employer coverage has limitations. Health care facilities and agencies usually carry insurance for negligent acts of employees during the course of their employment and performed within the scope of their job responsibilities. However, outside the workplace, nurses may need to defend themselves against allegations that arise, such as providing care to a neighbor or against professional licensure charges, none of which are covered by employer policies. Many policies don't cover costs of defense in a disciplinary action involving a state board of nursing. Therefore, many nurses also carry their own individual professional liability insurance.


Legal action against a nurse can be career-ending.


Since 1999, INS has been an association partner of Nurses Service Organization (NSO), and we value this longstanding relationship. In conjunction with CNA, NSO has published Nurse Professional Liability Exposures: 2015 Claim Report Update,1 which identifies liability patterns and trends to help nurses understand their areas of greatest vulnerability. This allows them to take appropriate action to protect patients from harm and reduce risk of potential litigation.


Part 1 of the report, "Nurse Professional Liability Exposures," provides a high-level, 5-year analysis of issues related to patient care and self-assessment for nurses. The executive summary provides a brief glimpse of closed claims analysis regarding: nurse specialties, health care delivery settings, allegations against the nurse, patients' injuries associated with the claim, and more.


"Analysis of License Protection Paid Claims," part 2, provides an array of data, including an analysis of claims by licensure type, allegation class, licensing board actions, and a comparison of 2011 and 2015 nurse licensing board actions.


I encourage you to review the "Risk Control Self-assessment Checklist for Nurses." This helpful tool identifies areas that may need attention to reduce risk. It focuses on 3: scope of practice, falls, and medication administration.


INS and NSO are committed to support your clinical practice and minimize the associated risks. Be proactive-protect yourself and your career!


Mary Alexander




1. Nurses Service Organization, CNA Financial Corporation, Nurse Professional Liability Exposures: 2015 Claim Report Executive Summary, October 13, 2015: 1-16. http:// Published October 2015. Accessed March 30, 2017. [Context Link]