What Does a Medical Superintendent Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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A medical superintendent supervises daily functions at a health care facility, with the assistance of support staff. This includes budgeting, patient care, and human resources needs. The qualifications needed for medical superintendent positions can depend on the facility, but may include an advanced degree or formal medical training. Several years of experience in administration and management are also helpful, though this is not always required of all applicants.

One aspect of the work involves administration of staff members. Medical superintendents set employee policies, develop manuals, and provide training to new personnel or people who are switching departments. When positions become available, this staff member advertises them and may participate in the hiring process. Human resources personnel work closely with the medical superintendent to make sure staffing needs are met satisfactorily with people who are fully qualified and able to perform the work.

Budgeting also falls under a medical superintendent’s responsibilities. This includes determining how much money the facility has to work with and how best to allocate it. If more funding would be available through grants, accepting new kinds of insurance, or participating in government programs, the medical superintendent may consider these opportunities. Individual departments can be assigned operating budgets, and staff at the facility can also discuss major expenses, like purchasing new equipment, to determine if they will be in the interest of the organization.


Operating procedures may be established by the medical superintendent, including how to deal with a variety of situations. The chain of command at the facility is also clearly established to make sure personnel know how to proceed if they have problems or questions. In a situation where a manager or administrator needs to be consulted, as for example if staff members want to accept a charity case, a formal set of procedures is available to ensure that situations are handled fairly and appropriately.

Working hours for a medical superintendent tend to be regular, although in an emergency staff members may call administrators in to assist. The working environment typically includes an office for paperwork and other administrative tasks, as well as roaming on the floor to observe people at work, attend meetings, and work with employees to resolve problems in the facility. Usually support staff like secretaries and personal assistants are available to help with report preparation, scheduling, and other activities. Employment benefits such as insurance and retirement accounts may be available, and can be negotiated as part of the compensation contract.


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