Healthcare is one of the largest industries in the country, and a variety of administration positions are opening up in this field. The high demand, large salary opportunities and overall positive job outlook make careers in healthcare administration attractive to many professionals seeking to advance their careers.
Healthcare administration is one of the largest sectors of healthcare management, and with an estimated 116 percent increase in healthcare-related jobs between now and 2018, there’s sure to be an even higher demand for smart, strategic, hardworking leaders in the field.
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The Role of Hospital Administrators
The main goal of a hospital administrator is to ensure that all departments within the facility are working toward the same goals, and that those goals are being met in the most efficient, effective ways possible. This can mean long hours and a great deal of critical thinking as administrators analyze complex issues such as:
- Facility services
- Physician and nursing staffing
- Relationships with other organizations
- Policy development
- Quality assurance measures
- Fundraising and much more
The role of a hospital administrator may be general management, or he or she can specialize in a particular area such as finance or human resources. However, most administrators do not start out in a leadership role. Most work their way up from other areas such as nursing administration or public affairs and complete additional educational requirements along the way.
To become a hospital administrator, a master’s degree in health administration, business administration or public health is preferred, and an advanced degree is quickly becoming a requirement for the job. MHA, MBA and MPA degrees with an emphasis on healthcare administration are all acceptable credentials for employment. The Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is the only Master of Health Administration (MHA) credentialing body in the country that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and MHA students should choose a CAHME accredited program when selecting a graduate school. Some professionals in hospital administration begin with a bachelor’s degree and earn additional certifications in healthcare administration in order to advance. They may start out with entry-level management positions and glean more experience on the job in order to move up the ranks.
Skills of an Effective Hospital Administrator
Administrators must wear many different hats as they work to keep employees happy and the facility operating smoothly and efficiently. Characteristics of a successful hospital administrator include:
- The ability to build strong relationships. Personal connections with staff, faculty and other administrators inside and outside the hospital are essential to running a facility well. Experts say that just reporting on numbers or keeping a business afloat is much harder when you do not care for the people who are handling the day-to-day matters.
- An efficient work ethic. As the leader, it’s important to make an effort to be the most responsive, attentive employee the company has. Effective hospital administrators never let contracts, emails and other important documents stack up on their desk delaying projects for many weeks. If necessary, they delegate tasks to managers in other areas of the facility to keep things running smoothly.
- A commitment to excellence. Hospital administrators must continue building their leadership skills and adapting to the needs of their organization. Administrators may benefit from surveys or peer reviews of their work and use that information to pinpoint areas of improvement.
A Dynamic, Rewarding Position
Even after they land a coveted executive position, hospital administrators must continually work to improve not just the facility’s operations but their own skills as well. Hospital administration requires strong management skills and long hours spent crunching numbers or preparing speeches. Hospital administrators must exercise sound judgment and critical analysis every day. Part public relations and part think tank worker, hospital administrators need flexibility and a solid sense of ingenuity as they help medical staff, employees and physicians work together for better patient care.