A day in the life of a CHKS accreditation client manager – Geraldine ReynoldsI’m currently living and working in Ireland. I have over thirty years nursing and senior executive experience in the Irish healthcare sector and have worked as a registered clinical nurse specialist, directorate nurse and business manager; more recently taking on governance, quality and safety management responsibilities. Having both a clinical and management background gives me an insight into the challenges faced by our clients and has the advantage that I can see things from their point of view.
 
The Assurance and Accreditation service is made up of more than 120 health and quality professionals. The team of client managers provide support to clients to achieve CHKS accreditation and ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) certification. Our healthcare clients are located across Europe. The majority of our clients are in the UK, Ireland and Portugal but we also have some in Italy, Slovenia, and the Channel Isles, as well as looking after medical centres for a number of cruise ship organisations.
 
It’s important for our role as an accrediting organisation that we have skills and experience in a range of areas from clinical to budgetary, human resources and risk and quality management. My work as a governance, quality and risk manager has been invaluable in my current role supporting clients through the accreditation process. Having been responsible for the introduction and integration of corporate, quality and clinical governance systems, I appreciate the challenges my clients face implementing quality systems.
 
A typical work day can vary. Around half of my time is spent away from the office delivering on-site client support, delivering project management training, attending pre-survey visits or managing surveys and surveillance visits. Client survey days can start at 6.00am when I take time before the team meet up to ensure the online accreditation system is up-to-date and collate an overview of issues to discuss with the team or the client.
 
I spend a lot of time preparing our Accreditation Online system, working with organisations that are working towards accreditation to agree standards that are applicable to them as they undertake their gap analysis and self-assessment in preparation for their survey.   

During survey days, as the lead auditor, I will work closely with the survey team, undertaking assessments for each member of the team, reviewing further evidence, assembling the surveyor findings and ensuring the team is fully informed on our findings. After a full day on survey I meet with the survey team for debrief where we identify any specific issues to be addressed the following day.
 
When I’m not working with clients, I work with both the CHKS quality and standards development teams, who produce healthcare quality standards across a range of aspects from care quality to patient safety and leadership. Our job is to make sure that the CHKS standards reflect the latest international professional and clinical standards and support healthcare providers in delivering outstanding care.
 
On survey I’m responsible for our team of surveyors. CHKS surveyors are all volunteer senior healthcare professionals from the NHS or private healthcare organisations. They conduct surveys of clients going through the accreditation process to assess the organisation against the agreed quality standards. I provide all the necessary information needed to support their preparation for survey and I am one of three surveyor trainers. When the next surveyor training or update days are imminent the preparatory work must be done to ensure we meet with quality requirements since our accreditation training is monitored and accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
 
Working with clients to help them prepare for accreditation and then seeing everyone within their organisation embrace the challenge is one of the most rewarding aspects of the role. Once staff are bought into the accreditation journey, we know that ideas will start to come from the frontline and this is an important step on the improvement journey.
I’m currently living and working in Ireland. I have over thirty years nursing and senior executive experience in the Irish healthcare sector and have worked as a registered clinical nurse specialist, directorate nurse and business manager; more recently taking on governance, quality and safety management responsibilities. Having both a clinical and management background gives me an insight into the challenges faced by our clients and has the advantage that I can see things from their point of view.
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