People outside of the healthcare industry may not spend much time thinking about the hierarchical structure. In truth, hospitals are just like any other business. They have hundreds— sometimes even thousands of employees, along with even more patients.
Significant management is required. The people that make the hospital tick and hum like a well-oiled machine aren’t necessarily the doctors and nurses. It’s the administrators.
Healthcare managers and administrators do all of the behind-the-scenes work that allows hospitals to operate (no pun intended) at the highest possible level.
Administrator jobs are awesome, but they are also highly competitive. Below, we take a look at how you can navigate a career in health administration and management.
Read on for more!
The first step to thriving in the management or administrative side of healthcare is, of course, to acquire the appropriate credentials. Most universities will allow you to major in hospital administration, or so something similar.
These degrees will give you a great background on how to do entry-level work, but it is important to keep in mind that most high-level healthcare administrators go on to graduate degrees and specialized certifications.
Master’s programs and specialty training will allow you to do a deep dive into more specific facets of the work. For example, if you have a passion for data implementation, there are programs out there that will allow you to focus specifically on those skills.
And in a world that is becoming increasingly more digital, it may not be a bad idea to take advantage of them.
You don’t necessarily need to get a graduate degree to enjoy a long and successful career in administration, but it will help accelerate your career mobility.
Be a Leader Every Day
It doesn’t matter what industry you are working in: higher-ups will not promote someone and hope that they adopt the job skills later on. Some of those skills, maybe, but not leadership. Not communication. If you want to be promotion-eligible, you need to show that you have the makings of management every single day.
There’s no time to save your best material for later on. Instead, go in each day determined to bring out the best not just in yourself, but also in your co-workers. That’s what true workplace leadership is all about. Helping everyone make the most of the strong qualities that they already have.
Express Your Interest Early On
Telling people what you want can be strangely powerful. If the higher-ups at your hospital know you are interested in moving up through the ranks, they will begin to consider you from that perspective. And once they do start to pay closer attention, they will notice how you’ve begun to display all of these qualities described in this article.
Of course, simply saying that you are interested in management or leadership isn’t enough to make it happen overnight. But it does put the idea out there, which can be powerful if you have the skills to back your goals up.
Hospitals are becoming increasingly tech-driven. The big obstacle that they face isn’t access— the tech is there, and many hospitals have the budget to afford it. The problem is that they don’t have enough people on staff who know how to use it effectively.
Certain technologies are well established— electronic health records, for one. But new tech emerges all the time. Comprehensive data analysis and telehealth are two features that many hospitals have taken a keen interest in.
Here’s some good news: You can get training in both topics. By developing your tech skills and understanding, you establish yourself as a valuable team member.
Keep in mind that hospital technology is constantly evolving, just like all other aspects of patient care. To be truly successful in administration and management you should consider continued education a vital aspect of your job.
Networking is a concept that leaves a bad taste in some people’s mouths. The idea that you can land a job not based on merit, but on who you know is extremely discouraging. But it’s also not quite right.
Yes, hiring managers will look favorably on an application from someone they know and trust. No, they won’t typically give an unqualified candidate a high-paying job on the strength of friendship.
Tapping into your connections isn’t nepotism. It’s just sensible. If you aren’t on the promotion track at your current job, start seeing if you can gain career traction from people within your network.
You will, of course, still need to put your best foot forward. Networking may ensure that your application gets looked at, but it won’t do you much good if your background doesn’t impress.
You might have to. Here’s the situation: Every town— even very big ones— have a finite number of hospitals serving community members. Now, if you live in LA or New York, the number of accessible hospitals might be pretty high.
Even then, though, there are limits to how many jobs are currently in circulation. If you are hoping to reach the top rung of the health care administration hierarchy, there are often two options: wait out the old guard, or be willing to move around to find an opening.
Moving for hospital work is actually fairly common, for the reasons specified above. Naturally, there are pros and cons to taking this approach. On the one hand, many people enter healthcare with the specific desire to serve and improve the lives of people in their community.
On the other hand, high-level administrative jobs can be both professionally and financially rewarding. Salaries are in the six-figure range and the work you do will have a very real impact on the people served by the hospital.
Moving for work definitely isn’t for everyone but it is something you should at least keep in mind if you want to reach the top quickly.
This story originally appeared on CareerAttraction