From the hospital gift shop to Swiss Re: One manager’s journey to healthcare risk

From the hospital gift shop to Swiss Re: One manager’s journey to healthcare risk | Corporate Risk & Insurance

From the hospital gift shop to Swiss Re: One manager’s journey to healthcare risk
Mike Midgley didn’t start his career in risk management the way that most people do. Instead, his path into the profession started when he was a teenager participating in an after-school volunteer program at a local hospital. It was that first experience which ultimately led Midgley to his position as vice president of healthcare risk engineering at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

Midgley knew he wanted to pursue a career in hospital administration ever since the nursing administrators at his hospital noticed his potential and tasked him with leading a team of volunteers. Through the experience, Midgley developed leadership skills and exposure to many different facets of the healthcare industry. He spent shifts manning the patient information desk, transporting patients around the facilities, and even working in the hospital gift shop. Over the course of about five years as a volunteer, Midgley had already gained deep exposure to healthcare and knew in his mind that he wanted to become some sort of healthcare administrator.

When college application time came around, the nursing administrators encouraged Midgley to attend nursing school with the goal of pursuing a career in healthcare administration. The hospital arranged to pay for full tuition reimbursement, and even gave him his first nursing job out of university.

Midgley began to make the transition into risk management when he accepted a job at a captive insurance company as a medical malpractice investigator after going back to get his Master’s degree in public health with a specialisation in healthcare administration. “It was a tremendous opportunity,” says Midgley. “Over the course of a couple of years, I was one of the people dedicated to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.” The position lent him an appreciation for the basics of risk management and mitigation strategies used in healthcare. From there, Midgley transitioned to the position of risk manager at several hospitals before becoming a consultant in healthcare risk at insurance companies.

“My path is unique in that I have the clinical experience,” says Midgley.  “I worked as a nurse, but then I also have that experience as an administrator in an organisation that was focused in on risk management and patient safety.” He’s a big believer in industry experience being an important factor in the success of any risk manager. “You have to be able to provide your perspective based upon practical examples of what you’ve seen and what you’ve done,” says Midgley.

When considering a career in risk management, pursuing a degree in nursing may not be the first path that comes to mind. For Midgley, though, a combination of passion for the industry and proactivity in gaining the relevant skills and qualifications led him to his position today. “It wasn’t all planned,” says Midgley, “but the stars aligned perfectly.”