This April, I had the opportunity to attend ASHRM Academy 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. I registered to attend the Enterprise Risk Management Certification Course because I keep hearing ASHRM advocating that Everyone is a Risk Manager and that Enterprise Risk Management is the next level of Risk Management for healthcare organizations. However, I felt I really didn’t understand what ERM is and I certainly didn’t have an understanding of how I could go about implementing it in my organization. Also, I just really needed a spring break and looking at details about the La Cantera Resort where the Academy was being held, I thought this retreat fit the bill.
While I have attended two ASHRM Annual Conferences, I have not had the opportunity to attend an Academy. One of the things I appreciate most at any ASHRM event is the opportunity to meet new colleagues and network. It is refreshing to know my organization is not the only one experiencing what I do. Other Risk Managers are having many of the same issues with their respective patient populations and it is valuable to hear how they are addressing these challenges within their organizations. It is always inspiring to see how innovative my RM colleagues are across the nation.
Regarding the Enterprise Risk Management Certification, I really can’t say enough about the course. It was led by Sheila Hagg-Rickert and Faye Sheppard, along with our current ASHRM President Ann Gaffey. At the annual conference, I always have takebacks to my organization that I believe continue to elevate our department to the next level. At Academy, not only did I have takebacks, I had a whole ERM Playbook to take back and implement. While some of my classmates were in the same position as I, wondering what this “ERM thing” was about, others had the go ahead from their C-suite to start an ERM program, but needed to know how to begin. Other classmates had an ERM in place but were trying to move it to the next level, while other classmates had been deeply involved in the ERM process but wanted to gain a better understanding of the lingo and the tools.
Sheila and Faye often pointed out — If you have seen one Enterprise Risk Management program, you have seen one Enterprise Risk Management program. There is a lot of variation in ERM, so no matter your skill level, I believe this ERM program will be instructive There was coursework before and after, but it was very manageable and should not prevent anyone from considering this course in the future. It was two days of jam-packed information and when I walked away, I felt like I had concrete ideas on how to start baby stepping my organization toward ERM. We worked through an ERM problem so we could see how the concepts interplayed. For me, the application of the concepts was key for transitioning my educational experience back to my work experience.
As to the location, San Antonio offered a lot of great opportunities from touring Riverwalk to the Alamo. There was a hotel shuttle from La Cantera to a great outdoor shopping mall just a couple of minutes away. They had a yoga class available for the Monday and Tuesday as well as the Wednesday and Thursday sessions. The weather eventually cleared up and I had two great evenings sitting by a fire with a glass of wine, ignoring the emails that were filling my inbox back at work.
In a day where it is really difficult to get conferences and travel approved in a lot of our organizations, I think ASHRM Academy is worth the time and funds spent. Whether you are just starting out and need a great foundation, or you have been doing this many years and want to hear the latest trends and best practices (all while looking forward to that glass of wine and the fire on the patio), it is a great event. I came back to work revitalized and reenergized. At least until I opened my emails and started thinking about that glass of wine.