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A Day in the Life of a Health Care Administrator: What to Expect
The job of a healthcare administrator is important – and often complex. If you seek out this career path, you will be making use of skills ranging from personnel management to an understanding of the financial workings of a medical organization. It’s good to have an idea of what a healthcare administrator ’s day-to-day working life looks like if you’re interested in pursuing a Master of Health Administration. Having an overview ensures that the types of activities involved will stimulate and engage you over time.
Healthcare administrators usually work in an office within a hospital, group medical practice, behavioral health, or nursing home. They also spend a lot of time outside of the office for an organization, speaking with people in a variety of environments and observing the activities going on daily in the health care setting. It’s important to enjoy talking with individuals and groups in order to help them achieve their full potential. Also, community meetings and meetings with other organizations are important for developing a network of contacts to make sure all the job functions progress smoothly.
The job of a healthcare administrator (also known as a “health care executive” or a “health care manager”) has similar responsibilities to those of leadership positions, social service managers, and human resource managers, among others. You’ve probably seen one or more of these professionals in the past when you’ve been in a health care setting – although their work often goes on behind the scenes, unnoticed by patients.
The size of the organization will determine the exact functions a healthcare administrator will personally take care of. At a small facility, for example, the healthcare administrator might directly influence financial, staffing, and operational decisions. At a large facility, these tasks might be distributed among several different managers, with the healthcare administrator directly guiding – and answering to – parts of a management hierarchy.
Coordination of Medical and Health Services
One of the healthcare administrator’s primary concerns is ensuring that patients and clients receive correct services in an optimal fashion. The position includes the directing of various activities involved in therapy, nursing, surgery, and recovery.
A healthcare administrator must also have an understanding of medical records, and make sure that patients’ medical records are properly maintained. Additionally, this role is responsible for expanding or contracting existing services depending on the current needs of the organization and the community.
Management of Facilities and Finances
Scope of management can range in size from overseeing a small practice, to managing a specific clinical area or department, to directing the operations of a large organization. Each environment and each level of responsibility requires additional skills.
The facility itself needs to be looked after. This includes cleaning, maintenance, and possible improvement in order to benefit efficiency and functionality.
It’s important to have an in-depth knowledge of the activities in the organization, in order to make sure that your time and resources are distributed accordingly. With regard to financial management, healthcare administrator s often form and approve budgets for the general running of the facility, including equipment purchases, maintenance, and operations. This requires a good knowledge of P&L to understand how income is generated, what everything costs, and how to balance the two so the organization stays solvent.
On a day-to-day basis, management of facilities and finances will involve seeking out data (in the form of personal knowledge, documents, and computer files), analyzing that data, and presenting findings to relevant individuals and groups.
Management of Staff
Healthcare administrators often take care of hiring; either organizing teams to help fill open positions, or directly hiring staff themselves. Staff schedules must also be created and maintained in order to make sure operations run smoothly. And when conflicts arise, the healthcare administrator may be called on to moderate.
The health care industry is regulated by vast rules and regulations. It’s the job of the healthcare administrator to assist with or manage the process of ensuring an organization remains compliant. This involves keeping up with the latest health care news relevant to the location and type of organization.
A career as a healthcare administrator is fascinating and rewarding - every day brings new and interesting tasks and challenges. Exploring an online Master of Science in Health Administration program is the first step towards turning your dream career into a reality.