11 October 2017
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a frequently asked question to younger children. A common answer among many would be a firefighter, policeman or even an astronaut. Odds are, not a single answer would be a healthcare administrator. However, healthcare administrators have a projected job growth rate of seventeen percent, much higher than a firefighter or astronaut. A healthcare administrator, often called a healthcare manager, directs operations of hospitals, clinics, or nursing homes. The field of healthcare management has many career options and competitive salary ranges with reasonable amounts of schooling.
A day in the life of a healthcare manager all depends on the facility or level of expertise in which they work. Not all graduates of healthcare management programs work in a hospital setting, although thirty-seven percent of healthcare managers do, other locations of work settings may include physician offices, nursing or residential care facilities, home healthcare services or even government facilities. There are four major types of medical and health service managers; however, all healthcare managers generally have around the same duties of work such as: working to improve efficiency and quality when delivering services to patients, creating work schedules, ensuring the facility they are responsible for is up to date on all new and fast changing medical laws and insurance services, and to represent their facility at investor meetings or monthly objective meetings. Nursing home administrators typically do all of those listed job responsibilities; however, they, unlike any other healthcare administrator, are responsible for care of the residents in nursing homes. Clinical managers oversee a specific department, such as a pediatric unit, surgical unit, or a physical therapy facility. The main focus of a clinical manger is to set goals for their department such as new patient percentages or lower labor costs. Health information managers are a different type of healthcare manager because their primary focus is keeping all patient records along with data entry. They are the ones responsible for staying up to date on all changing insurance policies as well as updating and communicating with doctors about new medical procedures and policies. The most common type of healthcare manager is an assistant administrator who works under the main administrator in larger facilities such as a hospital. An assistant administrator, unlike the other types of administrators, are responsible for communicating to staff to ensure that their specific department has the necessary and up to date equipment for operational excellence.
There are several steps towards progressing an education one must take before becoming a healthcare manager. First, one must obtain his or her high school diploma and then graduate with a bachelor’s degree to become a professional in the healthcare administration field. However, a master’s degree is the most common degree and is often times required by an employer. Along with a degree, some work experience in an administrative or clinical role in a healthcare facility is expected. Not only is a degree and work experience needed to get a job as a healthcare manager but there are significant skills that one must devise to become successful in the line of work. A few crucial skills required of a healthcare manager are: technical, leadership, must be detail oriented, analytical, and have a strong skill of communication. What degree a graduate has and experience in the line of work determines his or her annual salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for medical and health services managers for those having some type of degree was $96,540 in May of 2016.