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What Does a Hospital Manager Do?

 |  5 Min Read

Job growth for medical and health services managers outpaces all other industries (32 percent growth vs. 7 percent), and the demand will only increase.1

Hospital manager positions include titles such as hospital administrators, patient care managers, and practice managers. They typically manage an entire facility, a medical practice group of physicians, or a specific clinical area or department such as finance, materials management, or patient care services.1

Anyone planning to make the jump to a hospital manager position needs to learn the qualities required for success in the field. These qualities include removing roadblocks for employees, knowing the technology in the hospital or facility, and knowing employee routines and responsibilities. Knowing what a typical day or week is like helps open one’s eyes to everything involved in a healthcare facility’s managerial role.

Hospital Manager: A Career Profile

Driven by a passion for serving others, healthcare professionals have found a rewarding field. In a recent PayScale survey that compared median pay, job meaning, and satisfaction for 454 different occupations, 74 percent of healthcare practitioners and technicians expressed “high satisfaction.” 2

After several years in this profession, many healthcare professionals decide to take their careers to the next level as hospital managers. Hospital managers have at least a bachelor’s degree, but many employers increasingly prefer a master’s degree.

Taking business administration and healthcare management courses is a good way to enter the field of healthcare management. Still, an MBA degree with a healthcare management specialization can accelerate advancement to higher levels.

The most common master’s degrees among hospital executives include:

  • Master of Health Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA, Healthcare or Hospital Management specializations)

A career as a hospital administrator can be a lucrative career option; compensation for this position ranges between $50,000 and $152,000 per year with a median salary of $87,400. Those with more years of relevant experience average higher salaries. The median salary for those with 10 to 20 years of experience is $91,000.3

As a hospital manager, you will focus on the big picture and identify changes to maintain the highest standards. Many healthcare executives find satisfaction in their job’s social impact and are highly respected in their communities.

A Day in the Life of a Hospital Manager

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’sIt’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.

Generally, hospital administrators must do the following:

  • Set budget and departmental goals
  • Strategize to improve efficiency and quality of care
  • Oversee finances such as patient fees, billing, and fundraising
  • Ensure the facility’s compliance with laws and regulations
  • Communicate effectively with departments and staff regularly
  • Represent the organization to investors or governing boards
  • Oversee work schedules, supplies, and budgets1
  • Educate the community on important health topics4

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 several 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 hospital’s size and goals, a hospital administrator may help develop new scientific research programs.

With federal regulations and insurance laws constantly changing, even the smallest business decisions must be viewed through a healthcare lens. A hospital administrator’s responsibilities include keeping themselves and their staff up to date on new policies and procedures. This might mean attending offsite conferences and training, holding staff meetings, and implementing training programs for individuals at every level of the organization.

Hospitals are dynamic, fast-paced environments 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. 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 and can be the difference between a hospital that delivers excellent patient care and a chaotic, poorly run facility.

Help Wanted: What Hospitals Look For

The job market for healthcare administration is booming. it’s also highly competitive. Below are qualities that hospitals look for in a hospital manager.

Education: A master’s degree in business administration or healthcare administration is desirable.

Experience: Many hospital administrators have previous upper management experience at another organization or in another field. An estimated 49 percent have between five and 19 years of experience.3

Analytical skills: The ability to understand and follow current policies and laws.

Technical skills: Stay informed of the latest advances in healthcare and data analytics.

Communication skills: Must be able to communicate policies and procedures with staff and represent the hospital or organization.

Leadership skills: Hire, train and motivate staff, and develop creative solutions to staffing and patient care problems.1

A career in hospital administration is an exciting choice for MBA candidates with a passion for making a difference in the healthcare industry. Learn more about the online MBA program at Our Lady of the Lake University, request more information, or call 855-275-1082 to speak with an admissions advisor.


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical and Health Services Managers, at (visited January 14, 2021).
  2. PayScale, “The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs.”

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