Hospital administrators may not hold a scalpel, but they play a critical role in keeping hospitals on the cutting edge of medicine and healthcare delivery. A good hospital administrator is the heart of a hospital, responsible for maintaining all the major functions that make it successful, including facilities and staff management, budgeting, operations and compliance. It’s a role that demands an intimate understanding of both the business and healthcare worlds. Every day, they operate with one goal in mind: to keep all the different parts running smoothly, effectively and cohesively to create a well-oiled center for exceptional patient care.
One of the most exciting aspects of this high-level management position is that no two days are alike. In eight business hours, a hospital administrator is likely to apply a number of different skillsets to various tasks. They might begin their day in their private office reviewing the most recent financial reports and managed care contracts before heading to a board meeting regarding hiring the hospital’s new chief of surgery. As a critical stakeholder in a hospital’s decision-making process, hospital administrators collaborate closely with cross-functional team leads. They must be able to effectively communicate with individuals at every level, from doctors, nurses and patients, to fellow administrators, board members and vendors. Lunch, for example, might double as a business meeting with different department heads to discuss the hospital’s strategy for streamlining operations while cutting costs. Depending on the size and goals of a hospital, a hospital administrator may even help develop new programs for scientific research.
With federal regulations and insurance laws constantly changing, even the smallest business decisions must be viewed through a healthcare lens. The responsibilities of a hospital administrator includes keeping themselves and their staff up to date on new policies and procedures. This might mean attending offsite conferences and trainings, holding staff meetings, and implementing training programs for individuals at every level of the organization.
Hospitals are a dynamic, fast-paced environment that are typically open 24/7, and hospital administrators should be prepared to answer after-hours calls or address emergencies at a moment’s notice. They may not set foot in an emergency room, but crisis management is an essential skill for someone in this position. A well-trained leader will understand how to pivot gracefully without missing a beat.
A career in hospital administration is an exciting choice for MBA candidates with a passion for making a different in the healthcare industry. A great hospital administrator can be the difference between a hospital that delivers excellent patient care and a chaotic, poorly run facility. Like a good surgeon, hospital administrators must operate with precision, great care and the utmost professionalism.