Understanding the Varied Responsibilities of a Healthcare Administrator


Although many people may have heard about careers in healthcare administration in passing, there is still a common uncertainty about what these professionals do on a daily basis. Generally, they'll be in a healthcare setting, but not just restricted to hospitals or health clinics. Also, their role might be very flexible depending on the requirements of their workplace. They'll never tell nurses or doctors how to practice medicine, and usually don't have direct contact with patients, although they might handle compliance issues related to someone's treatment. Keep in mind that generalists manage an entire healthcare system, and specialists focus on specific departments.


Hospital Settings

While working at a hospital, a healthcare administrator views the facility as a business environment. To keep costs low and maximize efficiency, everything must be kept running smoothly. They'll likely handle staffing and make sure that each employee is fully aware of the scope of their duties while also complying with healthcare standards.

Also, they might be in charge of a particular unit in the hospital and need to order supplies to ensure that necessities are stocked. In some cases, they'll oversee budgeting and accounting to gauge whether or not a hospital is profitable.

Clinics

In a clinical setting, the duties are similar, but everything is done on a smaller scale. Whereas each unit of a hospital might have one healthcare administrator, clinics might only have one or two overseeing the entire facility. These professionals may also be responsible for targeted efforts geared toward improving the public's image of a clinic, such as marketing campaigns or open house events. Sometimes, they'll look at ways to streamline processes, and plan schedules for staff members, too.

An Influence on Patient Care

Although healthcare administrators rarely interact with patients, they are working behind the scenes to give them access to excellent care that meets or exceeds standards. Because these experts interact with employees and vendors during every work day, they must be superb communicators. They must also have a firm, yet accessible approach, so that they're able to enforce the proper rules throughout a healthcare facility while still being open and friendly. As you can see, if you want to make an impact on the lives of patients, it's not always necessary to have direct contact with them.

A Constantly Changing Industry

Keeping an open mind is an important ability for any healthcare administrator. New ways of doing things are constantly becoming available, and its often up to them to evaluate whether emerging  practices are appropriate for their chosen healthcare setting, or if they should continue tried-and-true methods. Also, since things such as the health practices within a community, or large scale events such as an erratic economy can help or hurt a healthcare facility, administrators will be heavily involved in watching for trends and adjusting to them as needed.

Continuing Education

Post-graduate work is a necessity for most healthcare administrators, and they often attend conferences or take short-term training courses to further their studies after they've received a degree. Now that you know more about what healthcare administrators do and how they impact the public, you can make an educated decision about whether to pursue the career path further.

Wendy Hacker writes for education blogs where you can learn more about getting a masters in healthcare administration.

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