Given the increasing health risks of providing patient care, the School of Nursing urges all
students to have their own insurance coverage. If you do not currently have insurance, please
to explore available plans. You are advised to confirm that your policy covers prophylactic
treatment (e.g. for needlestick) until results of testing are known.
If you are a graduate student who has a TA or RA appointment, you should visit
Appointee Insurance Program website or e-mail benefits at uw dot edu
for more information about insurance coverage for graduate appointees.
The following statements explain the extent and circumstances of professional liability coverage.
They were prepared after consultation with representatives of University administration, the
Assistant Attorney General's office, the insurance brokers, the Washington State Nurses Association,
the Division of Professional Licensing, representatives of the School of Medicine, and numerous
informal discussions with concerned faculty and students of the School of Nursing. It is hoped this
information will help clarify the status of liability for professional nursing activities:
- Faculty and/or students of the School of Nursing are covered for professional liability by the
University of Washington as long as the activity in question is definitely University-connected,
and therefore, sanctioned. School of Nursing coverage is in effect when the faculty member or
- working in a program formally approved by the School of Nursing
- working in a program not formally approved by the School of Nursing, but is a
program for which the University will extend individual professional liability coverage
- participating as an individual, with written authorization of the Dean, in a specified
activity to which liability coverage is extended
- When a faculty member is performing her/his expected faculty activities, she/he is acting
on behalf of the University of Washington and is covered by University of Washington liability
insurance. Student liability coverage however, is extended only when acting "at the direction
or request of or on behalf of the University." This means that in order for students to be
protected, their student activities must occur under supervision of a faculty member. Clinical
practice must occur in agencies where a legal contractual agreement has been established between
the School of Nursing and the Agency.
- All faculty and students who are already registered professional nurses should consider that
in addition to their faculty and student status they are also licensed as individual practitioners
of nursing; as such, they conceivably could be held liable for their acts as autonomous professional
individuals in addition to, or rather than, as faculty or students. For this reason, it is
recommended that all faculty and registered professional nursing students protect themselves by
carrying their own professional liability insurance. One type of this insurance can be obtained
for a minimal annual premium through membership in the American Nurses Association; availability
of liability protection is one of the benefits of membership in ANA. (Insurance is also available
for members of some nursing specialty organizations.)
- It should be noted that professional liability insurance provided by the University of
Washington does not cover nursing practice in any voluntary health clinic where the registered
nurse acts as an individual volunteer and not at the direction of or on the behalf of the University.
No student should attempt nursing services beyond her/his present level of educational preparation.
Undergraduate, non-registered nursing students should make certain that any agency for which they
perform volunteer services has a policymaking board which provides liability insurance for its
volunteers and/or has a physician or nurse who will assume supervisory responsibility for such