What is Healthcare Administration?
April 16, 2012
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If you assume that healthcare administration involves running hospitals, clinics, or other facilities, then you are correct. However, “healthcare administration” describes a huge range of positions that vary dramatically according to specialty, management level, and pay scale. Read more to learn what it’s like to work in the growing field of healthcare administration.
Many of the positions available in healthcare administration relate to management, business, or finance. Most jobs are non-clinical, which means that you won’t care or treat patients, although you might assist patients on the business end of the clinic or office. Medical assistant, health information manager, and hospital administrator are just a few examples of job titles in the healthcare administration field. If you start with an entry level job, you might be an assistant, representative, or consultant. With hard work and the right educational background, your title could someday change to administrator, manager, or executive.
Healthcare administration is a diverse field due in part to the variety of workplaces it covers. Although hospitals and physician offices usually come to mind first, healthcare administrators can work anywhere that conducts certified patient care, such as immediate care clinics, long-term care residences, and rehabilitation centers. Keep in mind that your duties may be specialized at larger institutions, while facilities that employ fewer workers will assign you a wide range of responsibilities. Also, within each institution you may work in a specific department, such as accounting, human resources, and information technology. In other positions, you might work with multiple areas of the institution. For example, you might coordinate medical staff relations or oversee a medical department such as nursing.
In healthcare administration, your duties will vary depending on your position and department, but here are some general responsibilities you could have. Some administrators monitor procedures and file paperwork. Others make business decisions relating to policies and finances, ensuring that all practices are compliant with company and government regulation. Many employees, especially in middle to upper management, supervise personnel and hire new staff. Coordinating communications between the board of directors and the staff is another important task.
Many people are drawn to healthcare administration because they are passionate about caring for their community, but their strengths lie in business rather than in medical assistance. To be successful in healthcare administration, you have to be a leader with great communication and organization skills. You must also be analytical and open-minded to the industry’s constant changes—the strongest employees discover and implement innovative practices. Finally, it’s important to be versatile, meticulous, and multi-tasking. These traits make you a more marketable employee because they will help your experience transfer to other positions and work environments.
The level of education required to enter the healthcare field depends on the type of position you’re interested in. You can usually find an entry-level position in the field with a bachelor’s degree in health administration, business, or a similar field. Plan on supplementing your experience with a master’s or doctorate degree if you want to pursue a job in middle to upper levels of management.
This article is presented by Briarcliffe College. Contact us today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with our healthcare program.