A member of the American Society of Hospital Risk Management for more than a decade, Rebecca F. Cady exemplifies the healthcare professional who follows a career path of caring. As each position revealed opportunities to improve patient care, Cady sought out the solutions and credentials to meet the challenge.
Currently, Cady, Esq., BSN, CPHRM, DFASHRM, FACHE, is vice president, chief risk officer of the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. This past spring, the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. named her their 2018 RIMS Risk Manager of the Year.
Cady said she was always interested in a healthcare career. In high school she considered being a physician but decided that as a registered nurse with an obstetrics specialty she could work more independently, have the flexibility to enjoy a variety of specialty roles and build a solid foundation for career growth.
Path of Compassion
Her pathway to law school began from her experience as a nurse on a high-risk OB unit. Cady said nurses who were dealing with professional legal matters or had been deposed were often distraught and overwhelmed by the experience. She believed that if attorneys had actual nursing experience, they could interact with the nurses with more understanding and compassion.
Cady said major challenges exist for the risk management professionals. She shared that some hospital executives still think of risk management as a claims management profession and don’t appreciate the reach of enterprise risk management capabilities. Another obstacle faced by patient safety professionals is when risk management positions and titles don’t have high enough visibility within the organization to effectively lead change.
Each risk manager arrives at his or her career from different directions. Although there are educational avenues and university degree programs available, Cady stressed there is still room for creating a more defined career track. She asserts that professional development is always a worthy path to take. Since she achieved ASHRM CPHRM and DFASHRM credentials, she has gone on to become a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. She strongly advised if there is a certification within your professional, go for it.
Networking and Keeping Current
In addition to educational opportunities, Cady said some of the things she values most about ASHRM membership include the professional networking opportunities and benchmarking within the profession. She asserted that ASHRM keeps her current as the organization is constantly taking the pulse of the healthcare industry, monitoring laws in progress, advocating for the patient, supporting ERM principles and keeping members informed.
Cady added that risk management as a profession has come a long way in a short time. Previous experiences with risk management have been along the lines of the “Department of No.” She urged risk managers to change that to the “Department of Yes, If.” She reminded patient risk managers that their reputation is everything. Be an honest broker. Don’t deceive. Don’t hoard information. No “Gotchas.” Be transparent. Be true and lead by example.
Also, make time for family and friends. Cady just ran her first marathon, ever, in Paris with her 20-year-old daughter who is studying abroad.
Joan M. Porcaro, RN, BSN, MM, CPHRM, is a senior risk management consultant at the Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona.