Healthcare has become one of the major industries in the United States. And that means, like any other big business, healthcare administrator leaders must have the skills and knowledge to guide large and often complex operations to success.
Needless to say, that is not an easy task.
On a day-to-day basis, the healthcare administrator professional encounters many rewards and plenty of challenges. That holds true whether you work in a hospital, residential care facility, private medical practice or public health center.
But before we get to that, first a quick look at the education and job requirements.
Getting Into A Healthcare Administrator Career
Almost every job in healthcare administration requires, at the least, a bachelor’s degree in healthcare or some related field. For the top jobs, most employers require a master’s degree. Most possess either a masters in healthcare administration (MHA) or masters of business (MBA) with a focus on healthcare.
From there, the career choices prove plentiful. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects healthcare to grow faster than any other industry in the country. They also project 17 percent job growth in healthcare administration alone between 2014 and 2024.
Almost every type of medical operation needs an administrator. Some, like large hospitals, require administrators just to run single departments or oversee complex areas such as medical records or budgets.
Simply put, now is a great time to enter into a career as a healthcare administrator. Are you now wondering what the daily responsibilities are of a healthcare administrator?
To put it mildly, the federal government has thrown very complicated, highly intricate regulations on healthcare. That includes, but is not limited to, provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 that added millions to the roles of the insured.
While politicians might have good intentions, the resulting web of regulations can prove a source of frustration for those who entered healthcare to help others, not spend time sorting through page after page of government documents. Healthcare administrators must take this on, leaving medical personnel to focus on actually practicing medicine.
Administrators deal with money issues, plain and simple. This includes capital expenditures, operating budgets for staff and equipment including outside contracts with consultants and medical service providers. Expect to work in this area on a daily basis, with the obvious focus on ensuring the operation runs profitably through either higher revenues or cuts in the budget.
Working with Medical Personnel
Most administrators can expect push back from medical staff on an almost day-to-day basis. Because they must set guidelines on, for example, spending for medical equipment and staffing, administrators often hear complaints about budget constraints from medical staff. That makes communication and an ability to listen very important skills for administrators to bring to the table. An ability to understand the needs of staff – and yet make them aware of the limitations of the budget – can make an administrator’s job far less stressful.
As part of the above, healthcare administrators must also have skills in written communication. If the executive board decides to approve a new protocol or set a new financial goal, the healthcare administrator must communicate those plans. That typically involves emails or some other form of written communication. These types of communication are typically distributed to large groups of staff, making proper writing skills a must.
Board Room Presence
Administrators typically represent a medical operation in front of the board that runs it, as well as with government regulators. This means administrators must have the ability to shine in important meetings with very powerful people who often control the overall direction of a medical operation. This is not the position for a shy person.
Keeping an Eye on Big Picture
In the day-to-day operation, most people work and react within whatever events occur at that time. Administrators do not have that luxury. They must consider events every day in the context of how they fit into overall plans and goals for a medical operation. They have a responsibility to senior leadership and/or board members to handle situations within appropriate policies and procedures.
The Rewards Are Many
Seems complicated and hard? That’s because it is, which is why healthcare administrators often make six-figure salaries. That represents one form of reward, but there are many others. They include the satisfaction of providing the best healthcare possible to patients and making sure a healthcare operation stays profitable, meaning employment for hundreds of medical workers.