MHS interviewed Arielle Schultz, Compliance and Risk Manager at Mennonite Village in Albany, Oregon to give our readers a first-hand look at the experiences of a risk manager.
Share how you came to the role of Risk Manager at Mennonite Village.
I worked at the Mennonite Home as a CNA/Team Leader in the rehab unit for roughly 4.5 years as I was going through school. During these years I received my Associate of Arts degree from the local community college then changed my major from nursing to communications and enrolled at a university about 40 minutes away. I spent two years driving back and forth from work to class working extremely modified shifts to make my educational dreams happen. After I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in communication with a minor in Spanish, I continued working as a CNA for another 2 months when the position as Compliance and Risk Manager became available. At the time, my staffing coordinator, called me and urged me to apply. It was a quick turn around from that conversation and within a few weeks I had two interviews, both while still wearing my scrubs, and was offered the position.
What have been the greatest challenges in your role and work that you’ve had to overcome?
The greatest challenge for my role has been advancing this role from a nursing-based risk management position to a campus wide risk management and compliance one. I do not think the rest of campus knew what to think of this new role stepping into their territory, and unfortunately it was met with some resistance at first. It took time to relay to all the departments that my role was here to be a support and not a replacement to any of their existing staff. I was able to find my way into these groups to where they saw me as an asset and not a hinderance. Once this position truly became a campus wide role, I was able to bridge the gap between the departments since I attended such a variety of meetings and was part of most departmental committees. This change also brought the ability to increase consistency across departments, in minutes, trainings, and processes. These were hurdles at the time, but well worth the time and energy to get there.
Share a positive highlight, achievement or something you are proud to have accomplished in your role.
I am very proud of the educational components of my role that have been streamlined. There are more campus wide trainings on our campus than ever before. We now have a campus wide compliance, risk management, HIPAA, setting realistic expectations, and fair housing trainings that are given to all staff. The formatting is consistent, all staff receive the same information, and all the requirements are streamlined for effectiveness. I feel that we are able to now show accountability for these trainings, and that staff truly learn something throughout the process. I make sure to update each training annually with new examples and statistics, which I feel makes for a strong level of engagement.
The Risk Manager role comes with great responsibility, share how you are able to work within the team at Mennonite Village to ensure there is a culture of safety.
This has been a difficult challenge over the years, but slowly has gotten easier with each year that has gone by. I think that the best way to try and ensure a culture of safety is to be open and transparent about the issues and concerns on your campus, and then offer suggestions and training that can be easily relayed to all staff. I think when staff feel they can see a clear view of the concerns then they are more apt to be engaged in the process of trying to correct them. Finding a way to increase consistency across campus only helps the process. It is great to see staff from across our campus have the same understanding of key risk management processes and that reporting concerns ultimately leads to less work for them and a safer environment for the residents.
Understanding that you work with the Peace Church program, share how their resources and services support you in your role.
It has been great having the resources from the Peace Church available, especially ECRI. Knowing that there are resources available so that you do not always have to start from scratch is a nice comfort. Also, the continued number of pertinent webinars cannot go unnoticed either. It is great to use such a vast variety of resources to educate our campus and stay up to date on current trends in risk management.
Anything else that you would like to share with MHS members about the risk management role at Mennonite Village?
With every role, consistency is key and sometimes that results in some uneasiness when departments have been doing the same thing for years. Getting buy in from multiple departments and developing one plan that works best to satisfy the needs of all departments is a difficult road, but the best one to go down. Being a risk manager is a tough role, but if you are diligent, focus on doing the right thing, and remain approachable, it will only align to make your job easier to navigate and better for the community overall.