In an effort to minimize potential losses, healthcare facilities hire healthcare risk management professionals to monitor and manage risks and liabilities. Risk managers work to ensure patient and staff safety, respond to claims of clinical malpractice, address patient complaints, and comply with federal and state regulations. While their primary responsibility is to protect the hospital’s interests, risk managers’ efforts contribute significantly to the quality of patient care.
Risk managers coordinate the processes involved in managing general liability and risk exposures for a hospital or healthcare facility. They are usually responsible for the oversight and direction of an organization’s quality assurance programs, which involve medical staff peer reviews, patient care systems enhancements, quality improvement initiatives and regulatory compliance.
Among other duties, healthcare risk management professionals may be called on to:
Employers prefer to hire candidates with extensive medical knowledge and risk management experience, and often promote RNs to this critical role. Risk managers must also be familiar with all state and federal compliance regulations and standards. Other qualifications needed for this job include:
Employers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), when considering candidates for a healthcare risk manager position. Some prefer applicants to hold a graduate degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and demonstrate proven leadership skills. RNs seeking a promotion to risk manager can also benefit from legal training and seminars pertaining to healthcare risk management and regulatory compliance topics.
According to national salary data on Payscale.com, certified healthcare risk managers earned between $54,780 and $82,587 per year as of October 2010. Those who are promoted into executive-level roles can earn even more. PayScale.com findings from the same period revealed that risk management directors in healthcare earned between $72,760 and $103,657.
In the 2010-11 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment of healthcare services managers to grow faster than the average for all occupations. As healthcare facilities strive to identify and mitigate liabilities and maintain regulatory compliance, demand for qualified risk managers will remain high.
RNs who aspire to risk management roles can enhance their qualifications by earning a BSN or MSN online from Jacksonville University (JU), which is repeatedly ranked one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. With 24/7 access to lectures and course materials and a variety of interactive communication tools, JU’s online nursing degree programs are ideal for those who seek the flexibility and convenience of e-learning and the quality of a world-class, accredited university.