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A Day in the Life of a Healthcare Administrator

A good administrator is the cornerstone of strong healthcare institution, acting as the organizational center through which hospital operations find direction and the person hospital staff members look to for guidance when it comes to the business side of healthcare.

An administrator’s duties reach into every corner of the hospital or medical facility. It is the administrator who may create or approve work schedules, oversee management and take care of billing, financial concerns and policy decisions that are integral in helping a healthcare facility function.

The day-to-day work of an administrator is a combination of meetings, consultations, emails and handling any situation that may affect the day’s business, such as managing alarm systems or hiring new staff. It’s a job that impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare facilities, involving long hours and often mentally demanding tasks.

No Such Thing as a Typical Day

For an administrator, the challenges of any one day are somewhat unpredictable.

It’s not unusual for an administrator to receive 200 emails in a single day, all while juggling meetings that can involve budgets, bylaws, the employee handbook or myriad other topics.

Hours can be spent interviewing candidates for medical positions that are beyond the administrator’s medical understanding and which offer salaries far greater than the administrator’s. Overseeing the human resources operations is also a major part of the administrator’s duties.

Meetings are a significant part of an administrator’s life. On a given day, an administrator may be involved in local chamber of commerce meetings as well as meetings with the facility’s board of directors and department directors. Topics may include money, the staff, new equipment or policies for billing and recordkeeping to name a few.

The administrator is expected to know the ins and outs of the facility’s operation and be able to tackle challenges that face it from a budgetary and logistics perspective.

Hospitals are 24-hour operations, meaning an administrator has to be prepared for wake-up calls and possibly even personal, family life sacrifices.

Demand for healthcare administrators is expected to be strong through 2024 with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicting job growth of 17%. More administrators will be needed in physician’s offices and in group practices, the BLS said.

Education

Most entry-level positions in healthcare administration require a four-year degree from an accredited university. Moving upward in a career as healthcare administrator usually requires at least a master’s degree that can be in areas such as health policy or public health administration.

Aspiring administrators finishing a four-year degree program should be able to:

  • Manage short-term healthcare goals and long-term strategy
  • Understand how cultural competency affects organizational management and quality of care
  • Manage patient care through efficient documentation, communication and team building
  • Promote methods of maximizing value and look for a competitive advantage
  • Develop policies regarding record keeping, filing procedures and staff organization

Following the completion of an undergraduate degree, students should have an understanding of key areas such as organizational theory, contemporary health issues, finance management, analytical tools and leadership concepts.

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