The June Healthcare Risk Managers’ Forum (HRMF) Educational and Networking Meeting made a presentation to Ms. Maria McInerney, who was a founding member and the second chairperson of the organisation.
The outgoing Chairperson, Ms. Cora McCaughan said Maria achieved excellence in her career practising and teaching nursing and midwifery. In 2000, she was also one of the first people to be appointed into the area, which was then called “Clinical Risk Management”, where she led a project on Clinical Risk Management in the Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick. In this capacity, she was one of the first people to become involved in incident reporting, investigation and management while healthcare risk management was in its infancy in this country.
Following the success of the project in the Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick, Maria became the Regional Healthcare Risk Manager in the former Mid-Western Health Board, where she made the business case for additional resources enabling further risk advisors to be recruited and the work expanded across the larger MWHB area. She led the development and implementation of the healthcare risk management policy there, which included the policy for risk assessment, incident reporting and investigation, and notably one of the clearest policies of the time on good practice in “disclosing” information in relation to incidents to service users and others.
In 2006, Maria joined the Office of Quality and Risk in the Office of the CEO where she played a lead role in the formulation of a number of quality and risk management policies including the report of the Risk Taxonomy Governance Group and the incident management policy and procedure and incident management toolkit. She led the OQR systems analysis training here also, before retiring in December 2009.
Maria was also one of the earliest members of the Healthcare Risk Managers’ Forum, then known as the “Clinical Risk Managers Forum.” In 2002 she became the second Chairperson of the Forum, and was deputy chairperson for three years up to 2007. Maria contributed to the work of a number of HRMF sub-groups most notably the work of the Risk Taxonomy and Matrix Working Group. She was Chairperson when the Forum mounted its first successful conference and deputy Chairperson when the next two successful conferences were mounted.
Cora said it could not have been easy for Maria to move from her success as a teacher of nurses and midwives to the embryonic area of “clinical risk management” in the Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick some ten years ago. It highlighted the courageous traits of the “pioneer” in Maria. Cora also commented that it must have been lonely before there were others with whom she could compare notes and get support.
“Today the Forum is exploring the area of professional registration and regulation for Healthcare Risk Managers, including the need for competence development and assurance of our profession. The Forum is pushing the boundaries of healthcare risk management knowledge and experience in the country and it is gaining profile and recognition as it collaborates with others such as the Health Management Institute. None of this would be possible if it was not for people like Maria, who took the first steps from the comfort of their careers into the great unknown space that was clinical risk management in Ireland almost a decade ago” said Cora.
“The Forum is glad Maria was brave enough to take these steps; and it acknowledges their significance in the development of healthcare risk management and the Healthcare Risk Managers’ Forum in Ireland.
“The Forum acknowledges and thanks Maria for the important contribution she made to the work of the Forum, for her professionalism and her friendship. The Forum wishes Maria all the best and well deserved happiness during her retirement. “