Health Care Grants Administration
In this Salary Story, we hear from a trained nurse who was promoted into a grants administration position. She shares a detailed job description, some of the rewards and challenges of this job, and her personal reasons for entering the health care field to begin with.This job may seem like a behind-the-scenes role in health care, but you’ll find out how it can have a direct – and positive – impact on patients.
PayScale: What is your grant administrator job description?
Oversee and establish infrastructure for grant, and research, compliance. Write polices and internal controls, create annual budgets for six divisions (total of over $1 million), track all research finances to ensure compliance, build budgets for all research activities to ensure compliance and cost coverage, establish indirect rate with federal agency; HHS, conduct all fiscal reports and federal reporting, collaborate with the grant writing team to create grant applications, conduct contract negotiations with sponsors, conduct audits for accuracy and compliance, serve on network corporate compliance committee, serve on divisional leadership team to assist in the establishment of the research vision.
PayScale: How did you get started doing this type of work?
My daughter was born with a crippling birth defect and had multiple surgeries while a baby (11 by her second birthday), and my husband had a mental illness that placed him in the hospital three times. I had to learn many medical things, and experienced both the good and the bad of health care. I went into nursing to make a difference for those suffering from such occurrences. I still try and make that difference, only now I have migrated to the research side to see if I can be a part of enabling researchers to discover cures.
PayScale: What do you love about your job as manager of grants administration?
I love that I work with a variety of people in the health care environment – patients, nurses, physicians, administration, pharmaceutical companies. In one of our grants, we teach motivational interviewing as the care delivery approach (versus directive: do it because I say you need to do this). A patient was struggling with her escalating diabetes – if things did not change for her, she was going to have to start insulin injections. The doctor had been warning her of this danger, telling her to be compliant with her diet … very directive. Then the physician went through our training (funded by grant money) and decided to use this motivational interviewing idea with this patient. She engaged the patient with MI techniques, the patient responded very well, worked with the physician on her own plan to manage her DM, and after a year the patient is caring better for herself than ever before, and has not needed to advance to insulin treatment. That is making a difference in someone’s life. Those experiences continue to motivate me every day to do what I do.
PayScale: What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
Compliance. So many researchers and physicians are so eager to do their work, that they forget they need to do things in certain order – institutional review boards, consents, cost principles for spending – so you have to establish very good relationships with them. Then they are comfortable that you are there to help them and not to be a Gestapo obstruction to their research goal.
PayScale: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a grant manager?
There are classes to take on research coordinator activities, as well as workshops for grant compliance. It would have great to have had that prior to being promoted into the role. I spent many evenings, weekends, and holidays learning the regulations!
PayScale: What are the most interesting things that have happened while doing this type of work?
I get to travel, and I love that.