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Career Story: Nurse Practitioner And Quality Assurance Expert

Nurse Practitioner And Quality Assurance Expert

Job Title: Registered Nurse

Type of Company: A 600+ bed Level 1 trauma hospital in western Massachusetts.

Education: AS, Nursing

Previous Experience: I worked as a critical care nurse for ten years in a 24-bed Level 1 trauma center, and for another ten years in an 18-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit. I spent the decade that followed in Human Resources as a nurse recruiter and I currently work in the division of Healthcare Quality for patient safety.

Job Tasks: I do patient chart reviews for federally-mandated reporting in the areas of pneumonia, pediatric asthma and out-patient surgical procedures. Each of these are have specific 'best practices' that their national organization endorses. I look to assure that these nationally approved practices are being followed within out hospital.

I do my reviews in the medical records department at the hospital on a pre-printed form, then I enter the information into a computer program that sends the information to a national clearing house. They then put the information on the world wide web for the public to review. This allows people anywhere to compare one hospital to another so people can make informed decisions about where to get healthcare in their area.

It is important to the hospital to provide the best care possible because we care about the people in our community and are committed to providing quality treatment. My work allows the hospital to identify areas for improvement on patient care; and the better the care we provide, the better the reimbursement we receive from Medicare and Medicaid. The information gathered is also disseminated to specific departments and patient care providers within the hospital and each quality improvement team within those areas can assess the data and take steps to improve outcomes.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is knowing that I effect change and I actually see changes for the better taking place.

The worst part of my job is that I have to be accurate in my reporting. There are random checks by the government where they request a chart be copied by medical records and mailed directly to them. They then do the same review looking for inaccuracies. We must be within a certain percentile or the hospital is fined.

Job Tips: In pursuing a job in nursing get at least a four-year degree. A Masters is even better.

There are multiple opportunities in the field of nursing for men and women.

Volunteer some time in a healthcare setting just helping people.

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