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Quality Improvement Nurse – Education and Job Overview

Higher Education Articles October 16, 2013

A quality improvement nurse is a critical part of any healthcare practice. This professional uses his or her nursing education to earn a higher salary in a job that works to ensure optimal patient care. Any registered nurse looking for a career advancement that directly affects healthcare standards might consider moving into risk management.


Quality improvement nurses work with the facility administrators to develop ways to improve the healthcare standards. This might include:

•Creating standardized job definitions
•Developing training platforms
•Compliance testing
•Case by case risk management assessment

The goal is to improve both the precision and efficiency of every healthcare department. Nurse managers works to reduce situations of neglect that may lead to litigation.

Work Environment and Job Duties

A quality control improvement coordinator, or risk management nurse, is most likely to find employment in larger facilities, such as a hospital, urgent care center or rehabilitation home. The exact methodology of care assessment depends greatly on the nurse and the administration. Generally, a QA nurse would:

•Assess current trends in healthcare and apply them to the facility practices
•Examine patient care reports, both in the industry and practice, looking for ways to improve
•Monitor state and federal standards to ensure compliance
•Educate staff on healthcare laws
•Create policies and procedures to improve nursing practices

Requirements and Education

A nurse looking to make a career in this healthcare field must complete a two-year or four-year nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN. There are no set certification standards for this job, however, the higher the education, the better the opportunities.

The quality improvement nurse is an administrative position. Many employers will look for candidates that have an advanced degree in nursing science, as well as years of practical experience with an administrative focus on public health or nursing management.

Salary and Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that the expansion of the nursing profession is extremely high. BLS states that nursing opportunities will increase by as much as 26 percent over the next few years. With litigation on the rise, risk management is becoming a higher priority in the healthcare industry. Nurses opting to specialize in areas such as quality improvement will have better opportunities for both employment and pay. The ever-aging population also indicates an increase in the need for quality management nurses.

Payscale lists the median salary for a QA RN at 66,507 dollars per year. This salary will vary considerably by facility and job location. A risk management nurse working in areas where the cost of living is high, such as New York City, will make more than someone working in the Midwest. In addition, facilities may pay more for higher degrees and practical experience.

Risk management is a key part of providing the most effective patient care. Nurses looking for an administrative positive that makes a difference in healthcare will find a role in quality improvement rewarding.

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