Careers as a hospital administrator are lucrative, fulfilling and prestigious vocations to pursue. The job entails keeping up-to-date on computer security, electronic records management, compliance laws that affect the health industry and new technological advances and treatments that replace older biotechnologies. Health services administrators must obtain a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration, but advancement to top positions at hospitals and nursing homes requires a graduate degree that takes two or three years to complete and often necessitates finishing a one-year internship in the field. In addition to formal education, there are some key skills that hospital administrators should possess.
1. Ability to Work in a Team Environment
Health services administrators have to work with patients, medical staff, nurses, families, emergency service workers, insurance companies and government regulators. Teamwork is essential because the job involves directing accomplished professionals and explaining and implementing complex treatments and hospital policies. Hospitals depend on administrators to look out for patients, staff and the hospital's best interests while putting their own concerns in the background.
2. People Skills
Managing the staff, patients, families and visitors in a hospital requires dealing with all kinds of people from different socioeconomic and cultural groups. Administrators need to understand the nuances of dealing with different personality types and cultures while maintaining a friendly, professional and optimistic attitude in the face of extreme medical challenges. The job demands strong people-handling skills and a sympathetic attitude while following the processes and procedures of the hospital.
3. Technology Skills
Health services administrators need technical abilities that range from software and typing skills. They may need to have an understanding of coding and billing software, electronic records systems, and general desktop software for their daily work activities. They should also be familiar with using advanced medical equipment safely and properly.
4. Legal Knowledge
Hospital Administrators spend much of their time dealing with health regulations, legal issues and attorneys. Each daily or long-term administrative decision could have legal implications for physicians, staff, patients and the hospital. It is imperative, then, that administrators think critically each day as they gather and evaluate information, protect patient privacy and comply with government regulations in order to prevent lawsuits, fines and penalties.
5. Problem-solving Abilities
Hospital administrators need to think creatively when solving problems. Physicians rely on administrators to organize the facility and maintain effective communication. Staff rely on administrators to handle work issues and maintain morale. Patients rely on them to handle disputes and provide support. Through all of these interactions, that could be full of emotions, it is critical that hospital administrators can think quickly and towards the correct outcome in order to maintain a successful health care facility.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average mean salary for administrators in General Medical and Surgical Hospitals was $110,840 in 2014, and top-paying areas of the country included San Jose and Madera-Chowchilla, California, where salaries reached $157,510 and $148,850 respectively. The top 10 percent of professional administrators earn an average salary of at least at least $155,130.
While this list provides some insight into the skills needed for the job, hospital administrators must keep their skills and certifications up-to-date to keep pace with quickly evolving medical management best practices and new treatment technologies.