The work of health care administrators is crucial to the futures of the facilities they manage, as well as the health care system overall. Today, an estimated 300,000 people serve in health administration; they are the heads of hospitals, nursing homes, physical group practices, and home heath agencies. Managing so many specialized groups within a hospital can be a daunting task, and as such diplomacy and strong social skills are keys to success in this field. Health care administrators must also provide careful budgeting, establish health care standards, and make strategic policy decisions and general staff decisions.
The working environment for those in this position can vary greatly depending on the particular facility. About 40% of health care administrators work in hospitals, but many work regularly in physicians' offices, home health care agencies, outpatient clinics, and nursing homes. Regular working business hours are common, unless the job is a 24-hour facility which requires on-call at night or on weekends.
Health care administrators must be good communicators above all else. They must readily adapt to changing clinic care environments and dynamics. Keeping in-the-know of specific departments is crucial, so the ability to communicate with workers at all professional levels is key. This goes hand-in-hand with good public speaking skills, as heath care administrators often serve as the face of their organization.
Education requirements vary depending on the size and scope of the position. Those in entry-level positions often have at least a 4-year Bachelor's degree. For upper management and CEO positions, MBA's or health care-related Master's degrees are common. Educational programs credited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education are highly recommended. Health care administrators can be specialists or generalists who head specific departments or services, or even manage entire facilities or systems.
Health Care Administrator Tasks
Lead clinical and business professionals, and liaise to explain needs, improve clinical quality, and increase growth.
Oversee staffing including hiring, training, evaluation, and reviews.
Market and conduct market analysis to understand growth and revenue drivers and motivations.
Manage all financial operations, such as daily and annual reporting.