Most people, when thinking about the healthcare system, put their focus on the doctors and nurses who are the frontline staff when it comes to treating their medical issues. But how do you actually get to see a doctor or a nurse when you need an examination and possible treatment?
When you make an appointment with a clinic to see a physician, it’s not the doctor who makes that appointment, it’s an administrator. It’s easy to forget that often the first point of contact is a receptionist who takes your call, checks the appointments diary and allocates you a slot. That person is an administrator, helping to ensure the smooth running of the clinic so doctors and nurses can get on with the business of looking after your health.
Receptionists have a vital role to play in clinics, and will be managed by a more senior administrator. Small clinics are part of an enormous network of healthcare provision, and their administrators may well move on to larger organizations, such as hospitals, large healthcare systems or hospital networks.
The job of any hospital and healthcare administrator is ensuring that all patients get the best possible care. You need to be dedicated to your profession and have a deep-seated desire to help other people. Anyone who works in healthcare has a vocation to support and care for people who are ill and need help.
These professionals are in the business of administering, leading and managing healthcare systems as well as administering programs that help prevent disease and illness, teach healthy lifestyle habits and try to promote a healthier community overall.
How to get the right experience
If hospital administration is what you want to do, then you need to have training and experience to enter the professional healthcare workplace. As a hospital administrator, you will need a wide range of skills so you make the right contribution to your organization. Accelerated nursing programs can be beneficial to administrators as it is good to have a background in both the clinical and business side of things.
There are many different areas of work in the field, n which you have to be competent, though you can specialize in administrative areas that suit your strengths and what you want to do.
Essential areas for hospital administrators include finance and human resources, as well as the ability to communicate well with colleagues, and perhaps most importantly, the doctors and nurses on that frontline of care. The medical staff are expected to be empathetic with their patients and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t work to share that empathy in your administrative environment.
There will be times when budgets and juggling human resources that don’t just involve frontline staff but include all the essential support staff, such as cleaners and porters and each hospital department’s admin staff, can be challenging, but that’s what a good administrator deals with.
Top quality training
Some administrators start at the bottom in small organizations, where their knowledge and experience in other fields can be useful. Receptionists have to be personable and get to know how the organization operates, and then want to move on to new healthcare horizons.
Working towards an online business administration degree is a route valued by many people who don’t necessarily have the time – they may have another job – or financial means to attend a college. You don’t always have to go away to get a degree because online learning programs have improved immensely over the last number of years. You have the option to learn more about Maryland’s online MBA in finance to equip you with the knowledge you need to forge a career in hospital administration.
Understanding the financial operations of hospitals, and how senior and home care works, is the key to being a successful and well-remunerated administrator. Hospitals, in particular, have complex financial needs that require administrators at the top of their game. And if you choose to go into administering larger networks, you need to build your career over a number of years to gain that financial experience to enable you to take on many higher-powered jobs.
Education unlocks the pathway to a career in hospital administration but you should also bear in mind that gaining valuable experience in the healthcare sector, especially if you are on the finance or human resources side, will give you skills that are transferable to other business sectors. However, the majority of those who choose hospital administration do it because they really want to make a difference to the lives of people who need high quality medical care that can only be delivered by high quality administration.