Hospital managers plan, coordinate, and supervise the delivery of healthcare. Within a large hospital, there are usually a number of specific clinical department heads, who are organized by the hospital manager. In addition to these, there are usually a number of assistant administrators who take care of specific clinical areas such as medical records, health information, nursing, surgery, and so on.
Hospital management is one of many business careers that require a great amount of diplomatic skill. Tact, flexibility, leadership, and motivational skills are necessary. Hospital managers use these on a daily basis to ensure the efficiency of the health care facility. In addition to these soft skills, health services managers also need to be effective at filtering information from a number of sources and in understanding and integrating contradictory information; they must also possess expertise in decision-making. All of these things come together in a successful hospital manager to ensure the proper responses are made to department needs, without sacrificing the needs of other departments.
In order to become a hospital manager, you must be familiar with how hospitals are run, and how health care facilities are run in general. As a result, you need to complete a certain amount of education and experience, and to cultivate a number of skills. One common prerequisite of hospitals is a master’s degree in health services administration, health sciences, public health, public administration, or business administration.
An alternative to this route would be receiving a bachelor’s degree, and then gaining work experience. The bachelor’s degree is sufficient for some entry-level positions; however, this is usually true only for smaller facilities. Some business professionals work their way up from these entry-level positions to become head health care managers for smaller enterprises, such as smaller private practices; once they gain the experience necessary, they then transfer to assistant hospital administrator positions at a hospital. It should be noted that even with an adequate amount of work experience in the field, a master’s may still be necessary, and is, in most cases.
In order to enter a master’s program for health administration, candidates should know that a distinct advantage is granted to those with prior work experience in health care. So while an undergraduate degree in business or health administration may be sufficient, even with superior grades, entry into a program may require some work experience in the industry first. Master’s programs take between two and three years to complete, some of which include one year of supervised practice in an administrative position, along with coursework in management, marketing, accounting, human resources, budgeting, law and ethics of hospital administration, biostatistics or epidemiology, health information systems, and health economics.
In the general area of medical and health services management, there is a significant amount of projected growth. It is expected that there will be 16% of these positions available in 2018 than there were in 2008. However, it is important to note that the majority of these positions will not be opening in hospitals, but rather in offices of health practitioners. Due to developing technologies, experts believe that many services that are currently offered in hospitals will shift (as many have already shifted) from hospitals to private settings.
Additionally, it is thought that the field will become more demanding, as hospital managers will be required to improve the quality and efficiency of health care while reducing costs. This responsibility comes as a result of the political limelight that Medicare and insurance companies are currently in.
- In 2008:
- On average, outpatient care center and physicians’ office managers make: $74,000/year.
- Hospital managers make $87,000/year, on average.