Working in the healthcare industry doesn’t always mean dealing with medicine or helping patients overcome their ailments and injuries. If you’re already in the industry, have a knack for organization, and think you’re ready to take on more responsibilities, a career in healthcare administration could be right for you.
While experience in healthcare is helpful, it’s not necessary to get started in an administrative career. Healthcare administrators are so important to the industry, which is why the job growth for this particular career is moving much faster than average. You might not be working in an operating room, but every day you’ll help patients with the non-clinical functions involved in operating a medical facility. That includes scheduling, billing, efficiency, and much more.
If you’ve been thinking about a career in healthcare administration but you’re still on the fence, let this article serve as your guide. We’ll cover some of the basics, so you can determine whether this career is a good fit for your needs and wants.
What Can You Expect From a Career in Healthcare Administration?
Healthcare administrators work behind the scenes. Essentially, you’ll end up wearing many hats, and potentially not getting a lot of the “credit,” but that’s not the point for administrators who enjoy their work. Unlike many other jobs in the medical field, most healthcare administrators work about 40 hours a week, typically during the day. If you decide to work for a hospital or 24-hour clinic, however, that might require different shifts.
Your duties might change on a daily basis, which is why so many people enjoy the work — it never gets old or boring. Some of the typical tasks you’ll have to regularly take care of include:
- Developing daily work schedules
- Training new staff members
- Managing billing
- Managing facility finances
- Improving efficiency
Healthcare administrators also need to regularly communicate with physicians and nurses. They often serve as a “go-between” for patients and professionals, so those treating the patients can have as much information as possible before they start a treatment plan.
What Are the Skills Needed?
There are a few requirements in place for becoming a healthcare administrator, as well as a few important skills that will make the job easier for you.
The educational requirements to become a healthcare administrator can vary slightly from state to state. In most cases, however, a Bachelor’s degree in Health Administration is needed. Many states also require at least a few years of experience with physician practice management. Some facilities might even require you to have a master’s degree. The required experience is a big reason why many people choose to go into administration after they’ve already been in the healthcare field for a while.
In addition to meeting the educational requirements, there are a few skills that are necessary to succeed as an administrator.
First, you should consider the position to be a management role. Not only will you have to take charge and train new employees, but you have the opportunity to inspire them and build positive relationships that can make a big difference in the environment and culture of your workplace. Leadership skills like resilience, self-awareness, and effective communication are some of the top skills that managers should cultivate.
Along the same lines, it’s essential to have strong organizational skills. Not only will you be “in charge” of training certain individuals, but you have to keep track of patient information, supplies, billing information, and much more. Using an organizational chart can help to give you a visual layout of different departments and how to connect with employees in each of those departments, but it’s useful to have other tools and systems in place to keep yourself organized within every task.
Managing Your Well-Being
Between all of the duties you’ll have to take care of and the long list of skills needed to succeed, there’s no denying that a healthcare administration career can be somewhat stressful. While it’s equally rewarding, it’s important to make sure you know how to prioritize your well-being in a high-stress job. That includes striking a healthy work-life balance and practicing self-care in and out of the office. Some of the best ways to manage stress include:
- Prioritizing sleep
- Practicing mindfulness and meditation
- Whether you already work in the healthcare industry and want to try something different or you have a passion for helping people but don’t want to take on the role of becoming a doctor or nurse, a career in healthcare administration could be for you.
Keep these things in mind as you decide on the next steps in your career. You might be working behind the scenes, and some days will feel more stressful than others. However, you can take comfort in knowing you’re taking care of the needs of patients, physicians, and the rest of your staff each day. That’s often its own reward.
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, activism-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.