By Lynne French, IMS People PossibleOnshore Advisor – Healthcare compliance
Life as a compliance manager is an extremely rewarding role, but one that’s not without its challenges. In this blog, my goal is to give current and aspiring compliance managers an insight into what a typical day in my life as a compliance manager looks like. I hope you will take away some valuable information that you can use to help build and improve your compliance management career.
For those new to the world of compliance, medical credentialing is the process of establishing, maintaining and assessing the competency and qualifications of individuals who are applying for jobs in a healthcare environment. Each step in the credentialing process must comply with establishedregulatory frameworksto maintain high standards in clinical and healthcare environments, includingthe General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council,Health and Care Professions Council,as well as individual hospital frameworks.
It’s a fast-paced job, which can be both exhausting and exhilarating – in equal measure. It involves working closely with a large number of people, resolving problems, chasing up queries, performing investigations and generally making sure the wheels keep on turning smoothly.
In my role as compliance manager for a busy healthcare recruitment business, it can sometimes be really tough and pressurised. The weight of responsibility is huge and not keeping up to speed with changes to hospital Frameworks, for instance, can have severe consequences for patient safety, stop candidates from starting a role and expose the business to enormous risk.
So, what does a typical day look like for me?
Generally, it’s split into preparing for changes and the management of ongoing credentialling compliance processes and issues.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest parts of my day involves dealing with people. Whether it’s compliance officers, recruitment consultants, the sales director, the accounts team, the Head of Compliance, or candidates, managing multiple relationships successfully is crucial for me to run a smooth, effective and happy credentialing department.
Let me give you an idea of what I mean.
Have you ever watched a Western movie? This may seem like a strange question to ask, but life as a compliance manager can sometimes feel a bit like being the sheriff in a Wild West film. You must keep the peace and make sure everyone is sticking to the rules, whilst keeping a level head – and having an excellent sense of humour!
I typically start my day early, ensuring all systems are operational, checking my emails, reviewing system queries, dealing with document and information queries, and making sure compliance officers are set for the day ahead. This helps flag any potential issues, so I can resolve them as soon as possible and avoid unhelpful disruptions later in the day. Of course, there will always be things that crop up in the day that are unavoidable – that’s life! But this continuous flow of knowledge helps me to work more efficiently and effectively and spot issues before they become a real problem.
One of my key tasks is to ensure candidates are being signed off accurately and in a timely manner – allocating, moving and archiving them. I work closely with the Head of Compliance to review files, offer updates on their status and identify blocks that may prevent a candidate from being placed, or could mean a candidate needs to stop working because of a non-compliance issue that has arisen.
This can lead to some pretty tough conversations with candidates during the day. So being available to help compliance officers manage difficult phone calls is very important to me – especially when it’s news that the candidate may not want to hear. I encourage compliance officers to be confident and extra careful with the tone of voice and language they use to deliver the message. My top tip is always to have a solution ready, so there’s a positive outcome at the end of the call. In my experience, being sincere and compassionate with the candidate is the key to a happy ending.
One of my core responsibilities is training compliance officers and recruitment consultants to enable them to carry out their roles safely and legally. Not only do I help them make sure they know what they’re meant to do, but also try to ensure they have relevant information about it in order for them to make the right decisions. I spend much of my time explaining the process so that people understand what is happening and why, which enables them to take action and feel confident in their role.
Along with tasks such as checking and signing-off files and being ‘on call’ to support compliance officers with pressing issues, I need to prepare regular management reports detailing new registrations; compliant candidates; candidates with availability; and working candidates to keep all stakeholders up to date with progress.
Life as a compliance manager is very busy, and it sometimes feels like there are not enough hours in the day. As well as making time to liaise with other recruitment agencies, who subcontract candidates, I also spend time talking to outsourced compliance services and 3rd party service providers, such as training companies and occupational health providers.
Although it’s not always easy to step away, I make sure I take time to grab a coffee and catch up on reading the latest regulatory bulletins and updates. This helps me to keep my industry knowledge current and allows me to prepare compliance officers, recruiters and candidates effectively for future changes to regulations.
Providing credentialing leadership, enforcing regulations, and maintaining high ethical standards at all levels of the business is an instrumental part of my day. Protecting the integrity and reputation of the business is an important part of my role, and knowing when to say ‘no’, even if the decision is unpopular with recruitment consultants, relies heavily on my experience and being able to draw on my credentialing knowledge and ability.
Part of my day involves making sure my compliance officers are following all relevant policies, guidelines, and laws – this has several benefits. As well as making it clear to my team what they need to be on the ball with, it also helps me push for continual improvement with credentialing compliance within the business.
What skills and attributes do good compliance managers need?
I would say it’s not a role for the fainthearted! You need to deal with stress, unique personalities and many regulations while keeping an eye on the clock and ensuring deadlines are met. It’s a bit of a juggling act, but there’s a lot of job satisfaction when a candidate is approved and can start their new role.
Rigorous planning, the ability to remain calm under pressure, an analytical mind, providing ongoing training to the compliance team, and excellent communication skills will help you stay ahead of the game and keep the business compliant.
I’ll finish up by saying how much I love my job as a compliance manager, it’s such an immensely rewarding and satisfying role and I get to work with and meet some wonderful people along the way. Whether you’re an experienced compliance manager like me, or just starting out on the credentialing career ladder, always remember what an important role you play. You’re helping people to start their dream role in the medical or healthcare professional, as well as playing an integral part in safeguarding patient safety – and I think that’s pretty special!