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Nurse Risk Manager: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nurse risk manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

A nurse risk manager's primary duty involves conferring with physicians and health care facilities regarding the potential risks of medical treatments. This job typically requires a bachelor's degree in nursing, though some employers prefer candidates to also hold a master's degree. Nurse risk managers must also be licensed as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner through the state. This job might appeal to individuals with interests in nursing, healthcare management and communication.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in nursing
Additional Requirements State license as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 19% (registered nurses)
Median Salary (2013)* $66,220 annually (registered nurses)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nurse Risk Managers Job Description

A nurse risk manager has several responsibilities in addition to providing nursing care to patients. They must forge trusting relationships with patients and their families. Advanced knowledge of medical practices and procedures is necessary to educate and communicate with patients regarding treatments and possible complications. Nurse risk managers track and evaluate patient care to ensure they are among the first to be aware of any problems. Often a management position, nurse risk managers may also be responsible for supervising, scheduling and mentoring nursing staff.

When a patient's treatment has not gone according to plan, the nurse risk manager must attempt to assess and control the financial and physical issues related to to both the patient and medical institution. Nurse risk managers constantly keep patients and their families informed about any adverse outcomes to evaluate possible courses of action, without jeopardizing the medical team or hospital. They monitor patient medical records, advocating for and reporting on patient matters and concerns.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses, including nurse risk managers, are expected to see a 19% increase in employment from 2012-2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is mostly attributed to advances in healthcare technology, as well as an aging population. As of May 2013, registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $66,220.

Education Requirements

Most employers prefer nurse risk managers to have earned a bachelor's degree in nursing, though some may require a master's degree. Typically a managerial position, legal and management education may prove beneficial for certain responsibilities. Common nursing courses include microbiology, psychology, anatomy, pharmacology and behavioral science. Additional continuing education options may include health care risk management programs that provide specialized and interdisciplinary training in nursing, law and management.

Licensure Requirements

Health care facilities typically require nurse risk managers to become registered nurses or nurse practitioners. State licensure requirements for nurses vary, but typically include passing one or more comprehensive examinations. In some instances, the position may be classified as administrative and may require further state licensing. Continuing education is often required to maintain licensure.

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