Patient Safety Officer: Job Description & Salary

Patient safety officers shape the philosophy of healthcare professionals so that they prioritize patient safety. This ensures that patients will receive the best possible care. Read on to learn more about the patient safety officer's role in healthcare.

Career Definition of a Patient Safety Officer

Patient safety officers work in healthcare facilities to ensure that patients receive quality healthcare. They help shape the way that healthcare services are provided so that mistakes can be avoided. One of their primary tasks involves ensuring their staff team prioritizes patient safety. They can implement ways for staff to report concerns or incidents. They may also address the staff involved with the issue and collaborate with other professionals to assess staff performance.

In order to ensure that patients receive quality treatment without unnecessary complications, patient safety officers help create policies and procedures that healthcare staff are trained to follow. They continue to evaluate their policies and determine if there are new practices that they can implement that will produce better results. They assess their facility's patient care record and use that data to determine if there are specific areas where mistakes are common or if other factors, such as fatigue, contributed to mistakes. Once they've identified factors contributing to errors they work to produce strategies to address those issues, create policies and ensure training programs are developed and implemented.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Communication skills, leadership skills, analytical skills, problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, computer skills, attention to detail, leadership skills, organizational skills
Mean Salary (2017)* $40,270
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 20% (medical and health services managers)

Sources: *Glassdoor; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

The minimum postsecondary education requirement to become a patient safety officer is a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Some employers may prefer to hire individuals who have studied nursing. Other fields of study that can help prepare individuals for a career as a patient safety officer include public health administration or health information management. Earning qualifications as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM) may be preferred. Completing National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) training may also be an asset or may be required by some employers.

Required Skills

Patient safety officers need analytical skills so that they can effectively evaluate information about the healthcare practices in their facility to identify areas for improvement. They must have computer skills to run analytical software, gather data and produce reports. They also need to have strong communication and leadership skills to play a key role in establishing a workplace atmosphere that prioritizes patient safety. They also need decision-making and problem-solving skills to come up with ways to correct mistakes and improve healthcare services.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides job growth data for medical and health services managers. Since patient safety officers can play a key role in establishing healthcare goals and shaping the delivery of healthcare to patients they are included in this occupational category. From 2016 to 2026 the BLS expects medical and health services managers to see a 20% increase in jobs in their field. Glassdoor reported that the average annual income for patient safety officers was $40,270 in 2017.

Related Careers

Aspiring patient safety officers may be interested in using the links provided here to explore some similar careers in healthcare administration. Those considering a career as a patient safety officer may also be interested in using their skills to oversee healthcare services in nursing homes, doctors' offices, hospitals or medical centers.

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