Management in Hospitals: A Vital Piece of the Healthcare Puzzle
Hospital doors are always open. No matter what time of day, hospital physicians and staff need to be prepared for anything – from treating life-threatening diseases or the common cold, to aiding in emergency situations and disaster relief. With several departments all providing life-saving care, operating complex equipment, and handling business issues like policy development and compliance, hospitals need top-notch management to help them run efficiently. That’s why a position in Hospital Management is so important, not only for the patients, but also for medical professionals and the healthcare system as a whole.
Good hospital management can often be the difference between a well-maintained and operated hospital and a chaotic environment where the quality of patient care suffers.
The role of hospital management is very closely related to healthcare management and healthcare administration, but the education and training experience for this particular role are geared solely towards building a career in a large hospital setting.
Hospital Management Education and Training
Like many other healthcare management positions, a bachelor’s degree is a requirement for entry into the field and further study for a Master’s degree is quite common.
Usually, those starting their studies with sights set on a position in hospital management choose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration for a solid base and foundation in medical and business studies. On the undergraduate level, courses cover topics around managed care, community health, medical research, accounting, healthcare finance, medical marketing, and planning. At this level, students should be focusing their studies both inside and outside the classroom, looking to secure quality internship or fellowship experiences within the type of hospital setting where they would like to work.
A bachelor’s degree is sufficient for an entry-level role in hospital management, but for those hoping to pursue an executive-level career in hospitals, a master’s degree is almost always a prerequisite.
The most common degrees for high-level hospital managers are:
- Master of Health Administration (MHA)
- Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)
- Master of Public Health (MPH)
- Masters of Business Administration (MBA -with concentrations in Healthcare or Hospital Management)
At this level, the coursework builds upon the foundation set at the bachelor’s level, and goes extensively into areas like financial management, epidemiology in health planning, strategic marketing for healthcare settings, and quantitative analysis.
Many professionals earning a master’s degree continue to work full-time to continue gaining experience in a hospital setting. Some choose to pursue a degree part-time, splitting their days between classroom study and hands-on work in hospitals, while others choose to complete graduate fellowships in a hospital setting.
Hospital Management Career Overview
Once in the role of management, there are a lot of responsibilities that need to be handled by the individual in this role. Hospitals are multifaceted systems, where there are hundreds of operations going on at one time.
The business side of the healthcare is vital to the lifeline of the system, especially in hospitals. Hospital managers need to have top-notch business sense to run the hospital efficiently, and they focus much of their time and attention on issues such as budgeting, hospital public relations and marketing, and billing and collections from insurance companies or other payers affiliated with their network.
However, the concerns of hospital managers go beyond business and directly into the delivery of care. Managers must maintain their ethical responsibilities while ensuring that all operations throughout the hospital are running smoothly, from surgery schedules, patient flow, record updates and confidentiality, waste management, and equipment maintenance and set up, to name a few.
There is no doubt that hospital managers have their hands full when it comes to their day-to-day operations, but they play a crucial role in ensuring patient care and in the success of the hospital as a whole.