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What is a Healthcare Administrator?

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  • Written By: Jenna Gray
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2016
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A healthcare administrator is in charge of overseeing hospitals and other medical establishments. This executive plays a major role in making sure that all aspects of the business run together smoothly. Some hospitals only have one healthcare administrator, others have several. It all depends on the size of the facility.

A healthcare administrator has many responsibilities. This executive is responsible for implementing policies regarding the patients. They also manage the hospital's finances, which includes establishing billing practices. The healthcare administrator is also responsible for ordering the necessary medical equipment for the hospital.

There are two basic types of healthcare administrators. One is known as a generalist. The other is called a specialist. A generalist is in charge of managing an entire hospital or medical facility. A specialist is only involved in handling one department, such as human resources, marketing, or financing.

The job of a healthcare administrator can be very demanding. This executive comes into contact with a variety of people, and so good people skills are a must. Also, since hospitals are always open, healthcare administrators often have to work long hours. Sometimes the job requires travel. Anyone interested in becoming a healthcare administrator needs a diverse set of skills. That is why it is a good idea to start planning for this field at the high school level by taking courses such as psychology, government, sociology, and accounting.

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In order to become a healthcare administrator, a person must have a bachelor's degree. Most people who enter this field, also have a master's degree. Hospitals often prefer to hire a healthcare administrator who also has some practical experience. Students who are interested in pursuing this field should try to get an internship at their local hospital. Another option is to volunteer at a medical facility. Most people in this field start out as a healthcare administrator in a small hospital and then eventually move onto a larger facility. Others begin their careers as assistants and work their way up.

A qualified person can find employment as a healthcare administrator at a hospital, clinic, or nursing home. This is a career option that continues to evolve and expand, due to changes in the medical field. Many hospitals are adding new branches to their facilities. Also, alternative health organizations are forming to offer patients care in the comfort of their own homes. All of these factors are increasing the demand for a good healthcare administrator.

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ceilingcat
Post 6

This actually sounds like it would be a really good field to go into. I've heard that the need for healthcare facilities is supposed to increase a lot over the next few decades. A significant portion of our population here in the United States is aging, so we're going to need a lot more nursing homes in particular.

Also, I did a bit of research and it looks like the average salary for this job is around $80,000. So it's a well paying job that's going to be in demand for the next few years!

starrynight
Post 5

@indemnifyme - I see your point. It is good to have experience doing a job if you're going to be managing people who are doing it.

However, I just wanted to point out that nursing and working as an administrator are two very different things! Nurses do things like give shots, take vitals, and administer medicine. Administrators fill out paperwork, order supplies, and deal with finances. The skill sets necessary for these two jobs barely even overlap!

I hope your friends in-laws are going to have her go to school for a degree in business administration at some point.

indemnifyme
Post 4

A friend of mine married into a family that runs a chain of nursing homes. She was interested in an administrative position, so her in-laws told her to go to school for her RN! They said it was a good idea to get some experience actually working as a nurse before trying to work as an administrator.

I thought that was interesting and made a lot of sense. How are you going to oversee a business that you've never worked in?

julies
Post 3

One of my friends was always interested in the medical field because her dad was a doctor and her mom was a nurse.

She was more interested in the administrative aspect of it though. She ended up getting her masters in healthcare administration and is currently working in a hospital.

It seems like she is always learning and going to seminars and classes to keep current on everything she needs to know. She has a lot of responsibility to make sure all the policies and procedures are followed correctly.

bagley79
Post 2

My aunt is a healthcare administrator at a nursing home. I am not too familiar with her day to day activities but know that her job is both stressful and rewarding.

There are also a lot of regulations that must be followed and much of her time is spent on paperwork. She has been in healthcare administration for a long time, and says that she has twice the paperwork that she used to.

She also has very good people skills which is important for this position, but gets frustrated when most of her time is spent behind the desk or on the phone.

StarJo
Post 1

I worked as a secretary in a hospital. I saw the healthcare administrator every day, but I never knew exactly what he did.

He wore a suit and tie to work every day. He stayed on the phone a lot. He also had long discussions with staff members in his office.

After reading this article, I suppose he was ordering supplies on the phone and setting practice standards in staff meetings. I do remember hearing that things were going to be done differently after one such meeting, so I suppose that was his idea.

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