A strong local hospital is one of the most important assets of a community. Hospital administrators manage a complex variety of functions and provide overall leadership for the organization.
The people who work in hospitals tend to be specialists. Doctors, nurses, technologists, and other professionals are supported by the work of secretaries, accountants, custodians, and others. In such a complex environment, someone must coordinate all these functions and provide overall leadership for the organization. That is the role of the hospital administrator.
Hospital administrators oversee the various activities conducted in hospitals. This includes hiring staff and coordinating the hospital’s business and support functions. In a small hospital, the administrator may directly coordinate most functions. In a larger organization, a chief administrator may supervise several assistants or other managers who in turn administer various specific departments or functions.
Other health-service managers may hold similar positions but work in other agencies such as clinics, nursing homes, or health-maintenance organizations. Some managers also supervise offices of individual physicians or the combined practices of several doctors.
Responsibilities of hospital administrators and related managers are varied and may include:
- Implementing policies developed by a board or governing body
- Developing policies and procedures and seeing that they are observed
- Developing short-range and long-range plans for hospital growth and development
- Managing budgets and overseeing financial operations
- Recruiting, hiring, and evaluating hospital staff
- Overseeing day-to-day operations of the organization by supervising other managers or performing some functions themselves
- Coordinating training and professional development opportunities
- Supervising marketing and fund-raising functions
- Identifying areas for possible expansion or reduction
- Representing the hospital to the external community.
Most administrators in this field have at least a master’s degree in health administration, public administration, business, or a related area. Some have degrees in medicine or a health field, having switched to administration after starting out as a health professional. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education necessary to get started in this field.
Earnings vary widely, depending on the level of responsibility and other considerations. Salaries average $40,000-$60,000 for entry-level managers, and $55,000-$85,000 for mid-level managers, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives. Top-level administrators may earn significantly more. In facilities where large numbers of physicians are employed, salaries may be well above $200,000.
The need for qualified administrators is expected to grow in the immediate future. Job demand will be particularly strong in healthcare organizations such as those providing managed care and home health services.
Success in this career area requires a combination of skills. Managers must have good analytical capabilities, solid organizational skills, and the ability to write and speak clearly. A high energy level is also a must because administrative jobs can be highly demanding. They can also be extremely rewarding for those who are motivated to provide leadership in healthcare settings.
For more information about a career in health administration, contact the American College of Healthcare Executives, One North Franklin Street, Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60606-3424, www.ache.org.
Article courtesy of www.careersandcolleges.com