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Patient Safety and Risk Management Certification: An Important Investment in Quality Care

by Kimi

Patient safety and risk management have become increasingly important focuses in the healthcare field. Preventable medical errors persist as a leading cause of death and injury across the world.

It is estimated that preventable adverse events cause over 250,000 deaths each year in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Up to 80% of serious medical errors are due to miscommunications, uncoordinated care, and lack of quality control measures.

This demonstrates a strong need for healthcare professionals specifically trained in patient safety practices and risk management principles. Certification has emerged as a way for healthcare workers to demonstrate competence and expertise in these critical areas of quality care.

This article explores the value of certification in patient safety and risk management, overviews available credential options, explains certification requirements, and provides steps for the certification process. For healthcare professionals seeking to advance their careers and contribute to safety improvements, certification in patient safety and risk management is a wise investment.

Why Get Certified in Patient Safety and Risk Management?

First, certification demonstrates expertise in evidence-based safety practices and risk management principles. It validates comprehension of a rigorous body of knowledge through examination testing. Credentialed professionals showcase commitment and qualifications to lead quality improvement initiatives.

Additionally, certification coursework provides comprehensive grounding in vital competencies. Subject areas include infection control, medication safety, root cause analysis, communication, crisis management, and acquiring a BLS provider card by learning Basic Life Support skills such as CPR and automated external defibrillator usage. Having broad-based capabilities equips professionals to strengthen a culture of safety.

Certification also enhances career advancement and salary potential. Employers actively recruit and reward credentialed candidates with preferential hiring and pay incentives. It displays dedication to professional development and specialty skills acquisition. Certified individuals often qualify for leadership roles over peers without credentials.

In summary, patient safety and risk management certifications enable healthcare professionals to better prevent errors, reduce liability, improve outcomes, demonstrate preparedness, and showcase expertise. It is a worthwhile endeavor for those passionate about advancing patient safety through education and training.

Overview of Available Certifications

There are several respected certifications available in the patient safety and risk management field. Some of the most prominent credentials include:

  • CPHRM – Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management: This gold-standard certification offered by ASHRM demonstrates proficiency in important risk areas like patient safety, insurance, legal compliance, claims, and mitigation strategies.
  • CPPS – Certified Professional in Patient Safety: Offered by the Certification Board for Professionals in Patient Safety, this credential establishes expertise in safety science, standards, and improving outcomes.
  • CHRM – Certified in Healthcare Risk Management: This certification focuses on core risk management knowledge including incident investigations, finance, communication, and quality assurance.
  • ASHRM – American Society for Healthcare Risk Management: ASHRM offers various certificate programs that can be completed individually or used to pursue higher-level certifications.
  • IHI – Institute for Healthcare Improvement: IHI is known for its quality improvement training and offers patient safety certificates.

Other recognized options are available as well, both general and specialty-focused. It is important to research which certification best fits your professional background and goals.

Certification Requirements

The requirements for obtaining patient safety and risk management certifications vary depending on the specific credential. However, there are some common eligibility criteria.

For the CPHRM designation, candidates must meet prerequisites like possessing a bachelor’s degree, reaching a minimum level of professional experience, and accruing continuing education credits.

Applicants are then required to pass a comprehensive multiple-choice exam testing knowledge of important risk management topics.

The CPPS certification has similar eligibility prerequisites, including healthcare experience and pre-approved coursework. Passing a rigorous CPPS exam that covers the spectrum of patient safety science and best practices is mandatory.

Other credentials have their own set of eligibility criteria, application components, and examinations. It is critical to review the specific requirements for your certification of interest. Factors like education, training, work experience, and regulatory standards often determine qualification.

Meeting recertification requirements is also essential for maintaining active certification status. This usually entails earning continuing education credits, demonstrating ongoing professional development, and paying recertification fees on a set schedule.

Certification Process Steps

The process of obtaining certification in patient safety or risk management involves several key steps:

Research – First, extensively research the available certifications and decide which one best matches your experience, interests, and career goals. Compare eligibility criteria, exam content, costs, and other factors.

Determine eligibility – Once you have selected a certification, thoroughly review the requirements to confirm you meet prerequisites for education, training, and experience.

Register and schedule exam – Submit your application and documentation for approval and registration. Then schedule an exam date, time, and testing location.

Prepare – Allow sufficient time to comprehensively review provided exam content outlines and study reference materials. Take practice tests to identify knowledge gaps.

Take exam – On exam day, arrive early with required identification. Certification exams often involve multiple hours of intense concentration.

Pass – Check your exam results. If you pass, you will receive official certification documentation. If not, you may retest after an allotted time period.

Maintain – Once certified, fulfill ongoing requirements like earning continuing education credits and paying renewal fees to maintain active status.


Patient safety and risk management certification provides healthcare professionals with knowledge, skills, and credentials to improve quality care delivery. As preventable medical errors continue claiming far too many lives, certification enables practitioners to be part of the solution.

Key reasons to obtain certification include demonstrating expertise, gaining competencies through rigorous curriculum, enhancing career advancement opportunities, and validating commitment to safety principles. Leading certifications like the CPHRM, CPPS, and CHRM offer multi-faceted exam preparation, testing, and maintenance programs.By researching options, meeting eligibility criteria, studying extensively, and renewing credentials, healthcare workers can become certified patient safety or risk management experts.

For clinicians, administrators, executives, or anyone dedicated to protecting patients from harm, certification is a wise investment. Credentialed professionals contribute vitally to building cultures of safety. They earn respect while propelling improvements through evidence-based practices. As demands grow for safer care delivery, certified patient safety and risk management leaders will be at the forefront of change.

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