Education is a major part of any civilized society and helps us to not only learn about the world but also teaches us key skills to navigate life. As we get older, it also enables us to pick up the knowledge we need to carve out a career in our chosen field. While there are many paths you could take, healthcare is enduringly popular, and, within this, healthcare administration crucial. But what is healthcare admin exactly?
In simple terms, healthcare administration focuses on making sure healthcare facilities run smoothly behind the scenes. It is also important to note that healthcare administration is non-clinical and does not see those within it giving direct medical treatment to patients.
How do you break into healthcare administration?
Before we look at the specific reasons why good administration in healthcare is so important, it is worth looking at how to get into it. This will give you a roadmap to do so if you are thinking about moving into this sort of role in future — either as someone already working in nursing or someone switching careers altogether.
By far, the best route is to study a healthcare administration program at a respected and academically sound university. The online MSN-MBA dual course at Spring Arbor University is a great example of the type of course we mean. This higher-level qualification sees you adding business acumen through the MBA to go with the advanced knowledge of nursing that the MSN offers. With the chance to specialize in healthcare admin, it is perfect for working nurses looking to move into senior levels within healthcare admin.
Once you have gained the right qualifications to move into this side of nursing, you can then start to look for opportunities. This is most commonly done via online job sites and using your professional network to find potential opportunities to consider. Many people will also network online on a social media platform, such as LinkedIn, to find the latest job openings in healthcare admin. All these methods can be great ways of boosting your career prospects.
But why is the best healthcare administration so important in this sector?
Why is good healthcare admin so crucial?
There are a number of reasons why good administration is key in healthcare and why the sector relies on it so much. Without effective healthcare admin, for example, a hospital may not be organized well enough to give the best experience to patients. This could see patients being double-booked for appointments or not enough seating being organized for patients while waiting.
Those within healthcare admin roles can also have a responsibility for training/supervising staff underneath them. This is key for patient experience also as it means staff in a healthcare setting always give the best standards of service and make it a nice place to come for treatment. It also means that any behind-the-scenes drama between employees is sorted out by those within senior healthcare admin roles before they get out of hand.
Professionals in healthcare administration also draw up policies that can impact the patient experience/patient care and help enforce them. They will also stay up to date with the latest mandatory guidelines in US healthcare and ensure their establishment sticks to them.
Without this in place, relevant policies may not be enforced in a healthcare setting, and patients could suffer as a result. It could also see a clinic or hospital in legal trouble if they fail to stick to nationally mandated guidelines for patient care.
Other reasons for good healthcare administration
In addition, excellent admin in healthcare is key for any facility, in a business sense. Qualified professionals in this field have the knowledge to drive any healthcare facility forward as a business and ensure its finances are kept in order. This will ensure it does not run out of money and spends money wisely on properly targeted areas.
Good healthcare administration is also the backbone on which primary care givers rely to do their own job. This frees up nurses and doctors from worrying about the admin side of things and enables them to focus on their specific role. This not only avoids them getting overloaded with admin tasks as well as their own job but also means they can focus on giving patients the best treatment. It can also reduce any errors in primary care, as people in these roles are not distracted by worrying about admin tasks they need to complete.
It is also key to factor in that good healthcare admin means doctors and nurses have what they need to do their job properly. If a patient’s records are kept up to date, for example, this means anyone who treats that patient has the latest information to work with.
Leadership is something good healthcare admin can bring
The last major reason why outstanding healthcare administration is so key lies in the leadership that more senior roles offer. Healthcare administrators, for example, are a focal point for the whole facility they work in and the first point of contact for people within it who need help/guidance. By bringing together office staff, receptionists, nurses, doctors and anyone else working in a particular healthcare setting, they are able to be the person who can lead the whole facility forward in an effective manner.
Now that we have looked at what makes good healthcare admin so crucial in this industry, you might be wondering exactly what roles are available in it. As the below shows, there are actually some very interesting and very rewarding options to consider.
Chief nursing officer
One popular career in this niche for those who hold higher level qualifications (such as an MSN-MBA award) is a chief nursing officer. According to PayScale, the average salary for this role in the US is around $135,355, and this is certainly something that makes it an appealing proposition.
This role is also popular because it enables you to work at senior levels within healthcare admin and drive forward positive change in your healthcare setting. As the name implies, this admin role in healthcare focuses on managing nurses within an organization and the rollout of patient care.
Although all CNO roles vary to some extent, the main tasks involved include ensuring standards for patient care are met, ensuring clinical standards are hit and making sure that staff adheres to the relevant guidelines around professional conduct.
One of the most common roles of this type within healthcare is hospital administrator. This is another well-paid position and a healthcare admin role that is very important to the smooth functioning of hospitals. Without administrators in these healthcare facilities, they would not run as efficiently and not provide the best patient experience.
In short, hospital administrators oversee an entire hospital and look after everything that may entail in a non-clinical way. Common examples of what hospital administrators are responsible for include overseeing budgets, delivering the best levels of care, making policy decisions, meeting with stakeholders, strategic decision-making and community outreach. As another very senior role in healthcare admin, you would usually need higher-level master’s degrees to move into it.
Government agency healthcare administrator
Although you may think roles in healthcare admin are confined to settings, such as clinics, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries, this is not actually true. Working in this part of the sector can also include other settings, with the role of government agency healthcare administrator being a great example.
But what does this entail? In broad terms, it sees you working for a specific government agency (such as the Department of Human and Health Services) to manage national healthcare operations they are responsible for. This could see you dealing with budgets for specific healthcare operations, hiring staff or getting involved with national healthcare programs in local communities.
As well as good pay, this role also usually comes with some neat extras. This can include excellent retirement packages, insurance and even getting paid for continuing your education.
Medical office administrator
Although some of the jobs in healthcare administration we have looked at are senior in nature, this is also a niche that has plenty of entry level roles to move into. These are generally jobs that need a bachelor’s degree to apply for, rather than a more advanced master’s degree.
Medical office administrator is a classic example and a great place to start in healthcare admin. This varied role includes coding procedures, updating patient records, making appointments, producing medical transcriptions and much more.
As you can see, it is an interesting admin role in healthcare that provides hands-on experience across many tasks. With a median salary of around $56,600, according to Salary.com, it is also a well-paid position for those first moving into this sector.
Healthcare admin is vital for patient experience and care
In a nutshell, good healthcare administration plays such a pivotal role in the whole healthcare industry. Without good admin in place behind the scenes, healthcare facilities would not provide the best care to patients or give them the best experience. If you are thinking about moving into this exciting and meaningful part of the sector, the aforementioned jobs give a flavor of what to expect.