The healthcare industry is one of the most rapidly growing industries in many parts of the world. It is a field that has also witnessed a lot of changes due to technological innovations within all sectors of health care including, methods of diagnosis, treatment, billing and general management and maintenance of the hospital facilities and human resource .
Managing all these changes in the healthcare industry may not be possible without a clear system of administration in place. This is where the element of administration comes to play. Actually no healthcare facility can run smoothly without the assistance of a hospital administrator.
Healthcare administrators act as the central point of control within a hospital or a healthcare facility. Their role is to administer, lead and coordinate health care systems and services in healthcare centers, hospitals and clinics. These administrations are responsible for making sure that hospitals operate professionally and patients are getting proper treatments and whatever they need.
Most healthcare administrators are people who may have been previously serving within the same healthcare system as doctors, clinicians or nurses and therefore have a general background experience on how health care system operate . They work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure that patients receive the best healthcare services possible.
History of Healthcare Administrators
The need for having healthcare administrators started in the early 18th century. During that time, healthcare administrators were referred to as patient directors or superintendents. Because most healthcare facilities were owned by religious organizations, most healthcare administrators or superintendents were appointed from members of clergy who had medical background .
The Role of Healthcare Administrators
Hospital administrators can be said to be the CEOs in healthcare facilities, they are in charge of all the day to day running of the facility. They are responsible for the planning , directing and supervising the delivery of healthcare within the healthcare facilities .
Other responsibilities include recruiting, hiring, training and appraisal of healthcare staff. They also chair meeting, mobilize resources and are the official spokespersons of the facility.
General Outlook of HealthCare Administration Career
According to the bureau of labor statistics, health care administration jobs are booming, healthcare administrator jobs are projected to experience a job growth of 17% by 2024. However, this growth may vary depending with locations. Nevertheless, this growth is much higher than the average for all the other healthcare occupations.
It is anticipated that much of these growth will arise due to an increase in emerging diseases and in the aging population which will put demand on the health care system and as a result, more hospitals and clinics are expected to come up and that means, more health administrators will be called upon to take charge of them.
There may also be more opportunities for health administrators in areas other than in hospitals or healthcare organizations. This may include finding jobs as social and community service managers or health insurance specialist. Social and community managers work closely with other healthcare professionals and social workers to create and coordinate programs for uplifting families and communities around. Health insurance specialist work with insurance companies to ensure proper compensation for patients who seek treatment in hospitals.
Healthcare Administration Career Path
Healthcare administrator is a senior position in any healthcare facility. A bachelor’s degree may be the minimum entry level especially in smaller facilities. However, managing a complex facility would require a master’s degree in healthcare administration or management as a standard credential for this position.
Climbing to these position is a process that may take time, fresh undergraduates with bachelors usually begin as junior officer in a department before climbing through the ranks into more responsible and higher positions such as head of department, administrative assistants and finally to these position.
The following are some of the basic skills required to work efficiently as a hospital administrator
- Must have excellent planning, coordination and implementation skills
- A deep understanding of healthcare policies and laws
- Must be able to communicate well with staff , patients and other stakeholders
- Must be able to work efficiently in a team and as a team leader
- Must always be able to pay attention to details
- Must be able to manage operational budget and staffing issues
Because health administrator is a management position, holders of this office are looked upon to oversee the normal running of all daily activities. Most hospital open on twenty-four hour basis, this means that hospital administrators must brave themselves to work for long hours compared to other members of staff.
Supervising staff and controlling resources within the facility may not be an easy task, especially for a single hospital administrator. But by delegating some of the responsibilities to junior staffs, the burden becomes easier for the administrator. Also by adopting and utilizing computer automated systems, execution of tasks is made even easier.
Healthcare Administrator Salaries
According to statistics by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Outlook Handbook (2015) health administrators earned a median pay of $ 96,540 per year or an average of $46.41 per hour. Another survey by modern health care magazine showed that a medium annual salary for hospital administrators ranged between $76,800- 113,200 depending with the level health facilities and geographical area
Pros and Cons of Being a Healthcare Administrator
Health administrator job, just like any other occupation is a job that has its own pros and cons. Some of them cut across other occupations while others are unique for healthcare administrators. Here are some of the pros and cons of the jobs.
1. Abundant opportunities
Health care administration is an occupation that offers hundreds of opportunities to job seekers. These jobs are not only confined to the hospital facilities but also in other cooperate world.
Administrators may choose to move into private practice where they can be entrusted with managing other departments in government, Non -Governmental and International organizations Among these jobs are hospital health administrators, human resource managers , social and community service manager , training and development managers , administrative service manager , health insurance manager and many more .
Healthcare administrators are among medical professionals who are paid high salaries. According to the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Outlook Handbook (2015) health administrators earned a median pay of $ 96,540 per year or an average of $46.41 per hour
3. Good job outlook
Health administration jobs are projected to rise at of 17% in the next 10years from now. This is in according to the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Outlook Handbook (2015). It is a job that has attracted many people within and outside the medical field.
Healthcare administrators have diverse opportunities for specialization. In this career line, one can choose to specialize and become a healthcare administrator for different medical setting, government or in a non-governmental organization.
5. High job satisfaction
Healthcare administrators have been said to be the most satisfied professionals in the medical field. According to a research done by Pascale Human capital, health administrators were given five out of five stars showing that they are extremely satisfied in their jobs.
6. Gender friendly
Health administration is one of the fields in medical that have high numbers of females. This is an indication of how gender friendly the job is.
1. Long working hours
Because of the nature of their work, healthcare administrators have been known to work extremely long hours in the medical field. Their supervisory role requires them to be on job even for 24 hours a day.
2. Demanding responsibilities
Managing a health facility is not an easy task; it is an exhausting responsibility that demands a lot of decision making and problem solving skills. These are because it entails managing people, resources and ensuring that patients are given proper medical care.
Sometime it require making tough decisions and taking charge of difficult responsibilities involving finances and human resource not forgetting presenting a positive hospital image to the public
3. High academic requirements
Finding job as a healthcare administrator, especially in a complex healthcare facility is not easy. The academic standard requirement set for this job is usually very high for fresh graduates. In most of these institutions, a master’s degree is usually considered as minimum qualifications. Besides, it also requires somebody to acquired experience that may run up to many years down the line.
4. Variance in salaries
Salaries for healthcare administrators are never uniform; they keep on varying depending with the experience, location and the complexity of the facility. Some hospital pay very high salaries while others pay very little that may not sustain a comfortable living standard.