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The job title “hospital safety officer” is used for a number of positions in a hospital, all of which apply to monitoring some aspect of safety, from physical safety to environmental safety. The specifics of the job vary, depending on precisely what position a safety officer occupies. People interested in becoming hospital safety officers usually need to complete training and certification programs and may need some special skills in order to occupy certain positions.
One type of safety officer is a security officer. Security officers in a hospital are responsible for ensuring that the premises remain physically safe for patients, staff, and visitors. A safety officer who handles security can be involved in controlling dangerous patients, removing unnecessary people from treatment rooms, and other security tasks. In the event that a hospital cares for someone who needs extra safety precautions, security officers will work to develop a plan to keep that person safe and secure for the duration of the visit.
Other hospital safety officers are concerned with workplace safety. These individuals are responsible for preventing workplace accidents through education, policy making, and adherence to guidelines set forth by regulatory agencies. An officer who keeps the workplace safe from occupational hazards may have a specialty, such as radiation safety, or may work generally to inspect working conditions, educate employees, and take other steps to keep hospitals safe and healthy places to work.
Another form of hospital safety officer is a person in charge of patient safety. These personnel set protocol that are designed to minimize the risk of medical errors. They work with staff to create systems for preventing issues such as administering medication improperly. Hospital safety officers are also part of the response team when an error occurs, working to identify the origins of the error with the goal of preventing similar mistakes from happening in the future.
A good hospital safety officer is comfortable with members of the public, and is highly familiar with health care settings. Attendance at an occupational health and safety program may be required, and for patient safety officers, a nursing degree may be recommended so the safety officer has a familiarity with medical care. Rates of pay for people in these positions vary, depending on where they are employed and their level of experience. Benefits may include reduced fees for health care in the hospital and eligibility for health care plans.