It’s not uncommon for healthcare professionals to have further career aspirations. Usually, these aspirations revolve around management and team leading roles. Healthcare is a growing industry, meaning there are lots of management roles becoming available.
A manager in healthcare typically adopts an administrative position in the public or private sector. Unlike many other healthcare professions, being a manager does not involve providing direct care to patients. Instead, it revolves around keeping an organization’s standards high—from employee performances to the funding decisions that get the green light.
There are countless benefits that come with being a manager in healthcare. Here are some excellent examples:
- Increased pay
- Better career opportunities
- High career satisfaction
- Peer respect
- Improved pension
However, this is barely scratching the surface, as there are lots of other benefits in addition to those listed above.
So, because you’re reading this guide, it’s fair to assume that you have an ambition to go down the route of becoming a manager—or have thought about it at the very least. This is a completely natural ambition to have; and is one of the big drivers behind the competitiveness within the healthcare industry.
If you are interested in entering management, then you’ve come to the right place. Throughout this guide, there is a wide selection of tips and tricks that will help you to progress into an administrative position within the industry.
1: Further Your Education
The first tip is an incredibly straightforward one: further your education.
As an existing healthcare professional, you likely already have a bachelor’s degree, especially if you’re in a skilled position such as nursing.
Having a bachelor’s degree—as well as other certifications—is great. However, it’s generally not enough to get you into managerial roles within the healthcare industry. For example, someone might have a bachelor’s degree in medicine, but this doesn’t mean that they are suitable material for management positions. This is because they haven’t received the correct training or knowledge required for the job; and also likely lack experience in any management roles.
Instead, you need to further your education by earning an executive master of healthcare administration degree, also known as executive MHA. Throughout this course, you will learn the fundamentals of being a healthcare manager with a specific focus on data, technology, innovation, and leadership. The majority of the program is completed online, which is great news for existing professionals who lead busy lives. This is because you’ll be able to study remotely in your own time without your career being affected.
Whilst studying a master’s degree online, you will still gain access to:
- Experienced professors
- Learning resources—from papers to eBooks
- Student colleagues who you can interact and study with
Interestingly, studying for a master’s degree is significantly cheaper than studying a bachelor’s, meaning you can save lots of money in the process, too. The application process for a loan is also incredibly simple.
When it comes to modern-day healthcare studies, a large portion of it is now being conducted online. eLearning is certainly going to be a big part of the future in healthcare, particularly as people look to progress into management roles.
To study online effectively, make sure that you have a professional workspace at home (such as a designated home office). Here, you’ll be able to study your master’s in a positive environment rather than a chaotic and messy one.
Also, if there are any libraries within your local area, it’s a smart idea to join them. This way, you’ll be able to access additional resources to help you with your studies, as most libraries usually have a ton of healthcare-related publications.
2: Understand the Demands of Healthcare Management
In their careers, many people aspire to reach positions only to regret it upon arriving at the final destination. Usually, this is because they didn’t have a complete understanding of what was in store for them.
So, prior to entering the world of healthcare management, it’s important to understand and study the demands surrounding it. After all, administrative positions are a lot different compared to working on the frontline.
Here’s a brief summary of what you can expect:
- Writing reports on employees and company performance levels
- Attending lots of meetings
- Staff recruitment and dismissals
- Directing medical resources, facilities, and services
- Communicating with staff at all levels, from the bottom to the top
- Handling and resolving employee complaints
- Making tough financial decisions
As you can see, a typical manager has to take on a variety of different roles. However, over time, it becomes a lot easier to do. Essentially, it’s all about experience.
On Google, you can read hundreds of accounts by healthcare managers who give detailed accounts of the pros and cons of the job.
For example, Albert Ho (a consultant and founder of a healthcare organization), was shocked by how complex running a hospital is, stating: “It’s a maze of policies with sometimes opposing recommendations.”
He then goes onto explain that it’s impossible to please all parties, as tough decisions have to made on a daily basis, such as his decision to ban personal glucose testing devices being used by patients.
Interestingly, if you opt to study a master’s degree in healthcare administration, you can expect to learn how to handle the pressure of making big decisions and the potential flack that sometimes comes with it. It’s part and parcel of the job.
Whether you work for private healthcare practice or a public hospital, it’s recommended that you speak to your higher-ups when you get an opportunity. Through one-to-one conversations, you can ask them what it’s like being in administrative roles, and whether they believe you have the ability to do it yourself. Luckily, due to the professionalism of most healthcare managers, they’re more than willing to pass on advice to listening ears.
Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
3: Choose a Specific Management Role to Aim For
There’s a broad range of administrative roles in healthcare, some of which are meant for specialists. Naturally, these roles differ in terms of demands, hours, and pay. Here are some popular examples of management roles that are constantly in demand:
- Nursing director
- Quality and improvement manager
- Medical practice manager
- Healthcare department head
It’s very common for nurses to work their way up the rankings, go back to university, and then become nursing directors, where the average annual salary is $73,300 per year.
In addition to this, it’s also very common for registered nurses to become concierge nurses, where they can work for companies or on a self-employed basis.
Depending on your existing role within the world of healthcare, you will need to think carefully about which specific management roles appeal to you.
Once you have a clear idea in mind, you can then move forward positively and with a stronger direction.
4: Earn Certificates
The internet is a big place—and it also has plenty of healthcare management certificates for you to browse through.
Some of these programs are provided by open universities and colleges, whilst others are provided by recognized authorities within the healthcare industry.
Each certificate varies in length, content, and cost—but they all come with the end goal of helping healthcare professionals prepare to be managers.
Online certificates are a great alternative to degrees due to the fact that they require less time and are also shorter in length. More often than not, you’ll be able to study for your certificates in your spare time, such as during the evenings after work.
Typically, certificates can range from $100 to $1000, so bear this in mind when browsing the internet for them.
Remember, certificates aren’t just pieces of paper that you frame on your desk—they’re tools for opening new opportunities within different industries. Not only that, but they’re also a brilliant way to boost your résumé.
5: Attend Seminars and Workshops
Throughout the healthcare industry, there are lots of active and retired managers who regularly hold seminars and workshops for people to attend. Some of them are held online; whilst others are held at in-person venues such as lecture theaters.
At these types of events, you can take your laptop and put down as many notes as you like. It’s a great opportunity to absorb knowledge from higher-up figures in the industry who have useful information to pass onto upcoming generations.
On Google, take a look at colleges in your city, as these are popular destinations for seminars and workshops regarding healthcare management. Sometimes, they’re available for non-students to attend, too—all you need to do is register a seat online.
If there are seminars and workshops in other cities, don’t be afraid to travel to them if you think it’s worth your time. It’s also a good idea to take some work colleagues with you; especially if they are also interested in progressing their careers.
6: Ask Colleagues for Feedback
Whether you’ve been working in healthcare for 2 or 20 years, it’s important to ask your colleagues for feedback. After letting them know what your ambitions are regarding going into management, they can provide you with feedback. They’ve worked closely with you for a significant amount of time, which means they know your strengths and flaws better than anyone.
For example, colleagues might agree that you need to improve on your digital communication through emails and messaging. Or, alternatively, they might think that you need to improve your face-to-face communication, especially during meetings.
7: Stay Up to Date with Industry Trends
As a healthcare manager, it’s your job to stay up to date and “in the know” regarding healthcare industry trends. This will help you to keep tabs on the industry whilst making smarter, more informed decisions.
On the internet, there are many different healthcare newsletters and blogs that you can follow. Healthcare IT Leaders is an excellent blog, so make sure to bookmark it in your browser for all the latest news and updates.
Right now, there are hundreds of different trends emerging in healthcare. As you probably know already, telehealth is seen as the “next big thing,” which will involve patients primarily speaking to their doctors and healthcare providers over the phone (or via video call) rather than traveling to see them in-person.
8: Update Your Résumé and Online Presence
When you apply for management positions, you’re going to be up against lots of other applicants within the industry. It’s because of that your résumé needs to be up to scratch; from a clear listing of your qualifications to descriptions of your career achievements.
In addition to this, you also need to update your online presence. LinkedIn is an excellent starting point, as employers always check here first when they’re analyzing candidates.
Also, don’t forget to make sure your social media profiles are professional. Contrary to popular belief, employers do check social media profiles, which is why you need to ensure that yours isn’t going to negatively impact how successful your applications are.
9: Make Contact with Potential Recruiters
Whilst studying or earning a certificate in healthcare management, it’s a good idea to make contact with potential recruiters within the industry. Sometimes, this can lead to conditional offers regarding future employment (e.g., if you successfully earn your master’s degree, we will offer you a management position within our organization). When this is the case, you’ll have even greater motivation to succeed in your studies and training.
Working in healthcare is one of the best career choices that anyone can make—and it’s an especially good choice if you decide to push yourself and go into management.
Within an administrative role, you will grow both professionally and personally. At the same time, you’ll be able to lead teams to success; giving yourself a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment within the workplace.
Remember, as discussed above, it’s essential to study a master’s degree (or earn additional certificates online) if you wish to give yourself the best possible shot at earning management roles in the healthcare industry.