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Career Opportunities in Patient Safety

4 Min Read

Improving patient safety and standardizing safety practices are two hugely important but often under-appreciated elements of health care administration. Good patient safety practices can impact the quality of a patient’s experience at a particular facility, staff satisfaction and the financial well-being of the facility. While these roles may not get public recognition for their service, the earning potential, career stability, and outlook for careers in patient safety make them a must-consider for individuals who are pursuing a Master of Health care Administration program.

The Impact of Patient Safety Roles

Patient safety positions influence myriad aspects of patient and staff experience. In addition to improving patient experience, safety management in health care administration is vital to maintaining fiscal solvency. In high-safety risk facilities, such as acute care and nursing homes, focusing on safety management can reduce potentially substantial costs related to slips, falls, incorrect medication or dosage, disaster management, and patient transportation.

Individuals who fill these roles are charged with a range of responsibilities, including safety and quality assurance program development, policies and standard compliance, and safety and quality assessment and reporting – all core management practices.

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Patient Safety and Quality Assurance Program Development

Individuals who work within patient safety are often required to identify, develop, and implement programming initiatives that address safety and quality assurance. These patient safety programs may target patients and include everything from new physical or operational protocols to awareness campaigns. Other programs target staff members to promote adherence to procedures and protocols related to patient safety.

Policies and Standards Compliance

Individuals who work with patient safety may also be involved in analyzing, editing where appropriate, and ensuring facility adherence to policies and standards related to patient safety. The national patient safety policies are typically regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services; however, many facilities also follow guidelines from the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Safety, Quality Assessment and Reporting

Individuals who work with patient safety are usually required to lead or assist facility assessments related to patient safety and policy adherence. The goal of these patient safety assessments is to ensure readiness in times of policy activation and ensure consistent application of policies and standards throughout the facility. Reporting on the findings of these assessments may include presentations and the development of written reports to facility leadership or lead medical personnel.

Types of Careers in Patient Safety

An individual who wishes to forge a career path in patient safety has a considerable number of choices. Some popular roles include patient safety manager, specialist, or consultant.

What Is A Patient Safety Manager?

Patient safety managers are full-time facility employees who lead teams of individuals focused on various elements of patient safety and quality assurance. While patient safety managers need to be knowledgeable and proficient in all aspects of patient safety, including policies, reporting, and assessments, the patient safety manager serves as a project facilitator and patient safety coordinator––working to support and manage the safety specialists within these areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, patient safety managers have a faster than average 32 percent job outlook through the year 2030.

Patient Safety Specialist

Patient safety specialists focus on a particular aspect of safety and quality assurance, such as program development, compliance, or analysis. These professionals assist in developing and implementing patient safety programs, collecting information, and pointing out patient-related errors while recommending changes to policies, or programs, that could prevent future miscalculations. For patient safety specialists, the ability to communicate and build rapport with staff throughout the facility is essential to perform well. Individuals interested in becoming a certified professional in patient safety can become one by applying today.

Patient Safety Consultant

Patient safety consultants are independent professionals who work with different facilities on a temporary or contract basis to help them improve, develop, implement or train on safety-related concepts. These individuals typically work within extensive facilities to open new departments, onboard new employees, or work with struggling facilities that need to upgrade their safety practices. Some may specialize in a particular aspect of safety or quality assurance or the management of patient safety teams. Depending on their level of experience, branding, and ability to negotiate, consultants may be able to command significant fees.

Entering the Patient Safety Workforce

A career in patient safety is a vital aspect of health care administration that needs vigilant, intelligent, and committed professionals. Earning an MHA online is a significant first step to contributing to the policies, procedures, and training that keep our medical facilities safe, healthy, and fun for patients and staff alike.

Utica University offers an online Master of Health care Administration (MHA) program designed to provide working professionals with a flexible, affordable, and comprehensive education. Our distinctive curriculum prepares students to enter the world of health care administration, ready to handle the unique challenges of some of the most in-demand roles and types of facilities in our modern medical world.



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