This paper discusses and explains how I determined my chosen career field, healthcare administration. I began this paper by discussing the process of choosing not only what major you want to study, but what you will do with that degree once you graduate. I continue by discussing how and why I intend to aspire to becoming a healthcare administrator. The skills and duties that are needed to be successful were explained, along with an overview of what this career is about.
Along with the responsibilities of what a healthcare administrator is faced with, I also discuss what skills I have that are going to set me apart from others and what I can bring to the table. This paper also discusses the types of technology and software that administrators should be familiar with along with why it is important to keep up with the advances in technology. An important topic that is also discussed is the challenges that are faced with this career field, and who could benefit from the talents of healthcare administrators.
It is important to be able to provide patients with quality healthcare, and this paper discusses how healthcare administrators give them that care and how I will be able to do so in the future.
Duties of Healthcare Administrators:
It’s More Than Just a Desk Job
Throughout our entire lives, education has been one of the foremost important things to have. It is a privilege, and we continue to learn many things along the way. As we began to grow as young adults, one question was asked by many (parents, relatives, teachers, etc.) and that was: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That question is more important now than ever. Through elementary school, our answers were mostly fantasy dreams, such as astronaut, fireman, princess, etc. As we move up to middle school, our answers become more realistic, although still unsure of what we really long to do. High school prepares us to put one step in the door to fulfill our ambitions and goals in life. College pushes us to see where we are really heading in life and how much work we are willing to put into it. Throughout most people’s lives, they come up with an answer as to what degree they want to pursue in, but that does not answer the question of what you want to do with that degree.
Most will ask what you are going to college for and answers such as, business, pre-med, teaching, etc. will come up; but no one thinks to ask, “What will you do with that degree?” Most of us get lost in the idea of graduating with a diploma in our hands that we forget what is most important. We need to be able to know who we are as a person, and what we want in life before we can begin to even imagine what our lives will be like. I can finally say, with confidence, that the career field I intend to aspire to is a healthcare administrator.
To begin, I never knew exactly what I wanted to do when I first started college, which is, in fact, very common. I always felt as though I had to do something that would get the approval of other people in my life, such as my parents, relatives, and friends. As a result, I first decided to major in pre-med. Although I had interest in medicine and working with people in that field, I soon realized that I was lacking a certain passion that should come along with anything that you are pursuing or will be involved in with for the rest of your life. As I then changed my major from pre-med to business, I still wasn’t sure what job I would want with that major. In the beginning, I thought accounting or just simply marketing/management, but that was still very vague. After discussing what success means to me, gathering research, and learning what I am interested in or what I would want for myself, I found that I had an interest in becoming a healthcare administrator.
A healthcare administrator is in charge of running and managing a healthcare facility or private medical center (Dutta, 2009). “He or she is involved with almost every aspect of running the facility efficiently, effectively, and productively and ensuring delivery of quality healthcare by doctors, staff members, technicians and nurses to patients” (Dutta, 2009, para 1). This career field is a good fit for me because I am able to work with those who I wished to have been working with if I had continued to pursue a pre-med major, but in other ways. By becoming a healthcare administrator, I will be making sure that there will be given quality healthcare to patients. This is an appropriate substitute to caring for the patient hands on because I will still be making sure they are taken care of in the best way possible. This is also a good fit for me because as I talked to family members and friends, they all agreed that business is a better choice for me, but I should also be working with people. By becoming a healthcare administrator, I will be capable of doing both. Business is usually thought of as desk jobs, or simply suite and ties, but I am determined to do and be more than that.
For this job, there are many duties and skills that are critical for success; but most importantly, success is defined as more than the skills of the job. Success is about enjoying what you do and being happy with what you are doing, but at the same time, to be successful means to be able to get the job done in an efficient and effective way. There are many duties that this field requires. There are clerical duties, management duties, types of administrator duties, and training and compensation the job requires (Locsin, n.d.). In small offices, these clerical duties involve tasks such as answering phones, filing patient records, issuing and paying bills, and processing insurance claims. On the other hand, larger facilities may have enough work to assign a single task to inexperienced administrators (Locsin, n.d.). Although clerical duties are not as hands on with the type of work that I am interested in, it is necessary in order to get the job done.
Management duties consist of individual or independent work and sometimes administrators are able to initiate projects. This job also includes consulting with department heads and medical staff on their administrative needs, takes care of maintaining and repairing their physical facilities, and represents their organizations at investor meetings or governing boards (Locsin, n.d.). Five important areas that are essential to be skilled in to becoming a successful healthcare administrator are economics, technology, communication, risk management, and strategic thinking (Yaremich, 2013). It is important to know what the economy is like to be able to sort out any expenses that may arise. By being aware, it will help with maintaining a quality care to the needs of patients. Technology has continued to evolve throughout the years. It is being used for many different things and in different ways of how we operate on a day to day basis. Health records have now been converted electronically and patient records must be tracked; therefore, it is essential to be knowledgeable about various technologies that are being used today (Yaremich, 2013). Communication will always be an important skill to have, no matter what field you are in.
Without good communication, the quality of work that is being done will potentially suffer. It is also important to be aware and to be able to communicate with the appropriate people in order to know the latest changes in health insurance, government policies and patient care standards that will have an affect on staff and consumers of your services, and how they relate to your company’s policies and protocols (Yaremich, 2013). Risk management is an important area to be skilled in because you need to be able to control your operation’s financial and safety risks (Yaremich, 2013). Lastly, strategic thinking is an important skill to have because being able to meet the needs of patient healthcare is very important. To be able to decide how and in what ways you can meet the needs of the community is a very important skill to have. You will need to think of ideas and plans of getting the necessary equipment or medicines that are needed or required.
Skills that are going to set me apart from the crowd include hard work and ambitions, the need to accomplish my goals, my passion for helping others, and not only my communication skills, but also my listening skills. There is no question that hard work is necessary to be successful in life. What sets me apart from others is how hard I am willing to push myself to get the job done. My ambitions will help me accomplish more than others, and it will continue to help me look for new goals to achieve. My passion for helping others also sets me apart from the crowd because I have always wanted to be able to help others, no matter what I decided to do after college. It has always been a priority to do something that has meaning and importance in my eyes. By constantly wanting to help people, whether it may be in a big or small way, my passion for helping those in need, will make me a successful person. Lastly, not only will my communication skills help me accomplish my goals in life, but more importantly, my listening skills will set me apart from the rest.
Although it is important to be able to communicate with those around you, sometimes it is more beneficial to listen to what others need. By pursuing in a career field that requires assisting the health needs of others, it is imperative to listen to what those needs are in order to be able to do so. Listening is a skill that many cannot say they have. By paying close attention to what patients may need rather than what a hospital may want, will have large impacts on how healthcare administration operates. Although I may not have any experience within the field yet, the skills, knowledge, and ability that I bring to the table include: the skills that set me apart from the rest; the ability to learn quickly to accomplish tasks in an efficient and effective way; and the knowledge I have gained from my research, and the knowledge I will gain throughout my career in the future.
As mentioned earlier, the skills that I have that will set me apart from others and what I am capable of bringing to the table are: the level of hard work I am willing to push myself to do, along with my ambitions to help me stay in the right direction; the need to accomplish my goals; my passion for helping others; and not only my communication skills, but my listening skills as well. With these skills, I know I will be able to do my job with a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. Another aspect that I bring to the table is the ability to learn quickly to accomplish tasks in an efficient and effective way. In order to accomplish goals or tasks, you must first learn what is being asked of you and what is necessary to have to get the job done. You cannot learn if you do not ask questions; therefore, I will be asking questions in order to gain more knowledge and learn more quickly. This will, in effect, allow me to achieve my goals in a more efficient and effective way. Lastly, an important aspect that I bring to the table is the knowledge that I have gained from my research, and the knowledge I will continue to gain throughout my career.
Knowledge that I have gained from my research include an overview of what a healthcare administrator is and the duties/responsibilities that come along with the job, working conditions/work environment, how healthcare executives and administration can help their employees work more efficiently and effectively, and the career skills that are needed. As stated previously, a healthcare administrator is in charge of running and managing a healthcare facility or private medical center (Dutta, 2009). Doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff have enough to do at medical facilities by diagnosing and treating medical conditions. But unless they tend to administrative details such as marketing, accounting or budgeting, their healthcare enterprises cannot succeed. Healthcare managers and administrators handle the business end of the medical profession by performing several duties. (Locsin, n.d., para 1) These duties consist of clerical duties, management duties, types of administrator duties, and training and compensation the job requires (Locsin, n.d.).
Other responsibilities that this job requires is working with medical staff members, other employees, health specialists and the organization’s governing board or executive management in order to set budgets, schedules, and ensures availability of facilities with interaction with vendors for supplies, equipment, drugs, and medicines (Dutta, 2009). Work environments that healthcare administrators are faced with are mostly office environments in which they work with many people inside the hospital or with other businesses to ensure quality healthcare (“Healthcare Administrator”, n.d.). Although healthcare administrators do not generally deal directly with patients on a day-to-day-basis, “they help to shape policy, make needed changes and lead our nation’s health-related organizations in a way that serves individual patients by helping to improve the healthcare system” (“Health Administrator”, n.d., para 11). Knowledge I have also gained with my research is how healthcare executives and administration can help their employees work more efficiently and effectively.
Three ways to do so would be to break down various barriers to optimal performance, create accountability structures, and standardize processes to eliminate unnecessary and redundant work (Herman, 2011). Lastly, knowledge that I have gained from my research is the skills that are needed for this career field. As discussed earlier, the areas of skills that are needed for this career field are economics, technology, communication, risk management, and strategic thinking (Yaremich, 2013).
As technology advances and continues to change, so do people. The way we organize and keep files is now all through technology. To be successful in this field, you must be familiar with or be aware of the technology, software, etc. that is being used. As a healthcare administrator, you must be able to convert files and patient records electronically (Yaremich, 2013). Organizations, hospitals, companies, etc. have moved alongside the trend of developing apps and even carrying iPads within the facility. It is important to be familiar with and to understand the various technologies your patients use to track their health.
These can include mobile apps, such as the ones for diabetics to keep tabs on their blood sugar levels, and video-conferencing software that connects housebound patients to your facility’s physicians. (Yaremich, 2013, para 5) These factors matter to this career field because it is imperative that you can access patient files and know their conditions. These factors tie into the needs of the patients and to be able to provide them adequate healthcare. In order for administrators to do this, they must first be familiar with any and all types of technology and software that are being used to store any important information.
Every career field is faced with many challenges. A few challenges that healthcare administrators are faced with are competing for healthcare professionals, specializing for growth, preparing for the future, improving patient care through technology, and managing Medicare and Medicaid (Freel, 2012). Competing for healthcare professionals is a challenge because there is a shortage of healthcare professionals, which is hurting the profitability of hospitals (Freel, 2012). Due to this, healthcare administrators must make a plan to address the shortage and compete for the best employees without it costing hospitals as much.
Hospital administrators need to build strong relationships with schools that offer healthcare-related degrees in their local communities and across the nation. Additionally, they must make working at their hospital attractive, which means thinking beyond competitive pay and benefits to ensuring each individual employee feels connected to the hospital and has a passion for working for the organization. (Freel, 2012, para 4) Next, specializing for growth becomes a challenge because hospitals are facing competition as new centers are being built. In order to resolve this problem, administrators must be willing to compete for patients and be prepared to sell their hospitals apart through a specialized care strategy (Freel, 2012). Preparing for the future is always difficult when we do not know what the future has in store for us. Due to the fact that hospitals are feeling more pressure to meet the expectations of growing demand, they must ensure that the efforts of patient satisfaction are aligned with what consumers expect (Freel, 2012). Improving patient care through technology is a challenge that healthcare administrators face because millions of dollars are being spent on technology, such as electronic medical record systems; but sometimes that may not be the best solution, and may not even benefit the patient.
It is a challenge because healthcare administrators have the responsibility for ensuring efficient hospital operations and providing medical care to patients; therefore, they must keep up with advances in medicine, technology, and government regulations and policy changes (Freel, 2012). Lastly, managing Medicare and Medicaid is a challenge this career field faces because there is an abundant amount of people who are unemployed. This causes problems because healthcare administrators are challenged with providing healthcare to patients who are both, uninsured and underinsured, while maintaining fiscal responsibility (Freel, 2012). As a result, “healthcare administrators must find ways to offset these expenses, while expanding their healthcare services in areas where they can serve more patients” (Freel, 2012, para 14).
Healthcare administrators are needed in hospitals, physician group practices, nursing homes, medical centers, etc. In order for doctors and nurses to do their job, they need heath care administrators to do theirs. In order for patients to acquire adequate healthcare, the talents of administrators are needed. We are responsible for making sure hospitals, healthcare facilities, medical centers, etc. are running efficiently and effectively in order to ensure quality healthcare for patients. “A healthcare administrator’s job is demanding and highly people-oriented. It calls for patience, understanding of evolving health practices and technology, and the ability to communicate effectively with varied audiences and stakeholders” (Dutta, 2009, para 5).
In conclusion, after discussing what success means to me, gathering research, and learning more about myself and what I wanted, I discovered my interest in becoming a healthcare administrator. My passion for helping others and having a career in which I could benefit someone else’s life is why this career field is a good fit for me. There are many skills that are necessary to have to be successful with this career, but I also have many skills that are going to set me apart from others. What I bring to the table are the skills that set me apart from the rest; the ability to learn quickly to accomplish tasks in an efficient and effective way; and the knowledge I have gained from my research, and the knowledge I will continue to gain throughout my career in the future. It is also important to keep up with the advances in technology to be able to provide quality healthcare to patients. Many industries might utilize the talents of this career field because healthcare administrators are needed in order for patients to receive quality healthcare from doctors, nurses, staff members, etc. Lastly, challenges will constantly arise with any profession, but it is important to know how to overcome those challenges in order to be successful.
Dutta, P. (2009, June 6). What Is a Healthcare Administrator? | eHow. eHow. Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/facts_5075268_healthcare-administrator.html Freel, M. (2012, January 26). 5 Challenges Hospital Administrators Must Overcome to Succeed in Today’s Rapidly Changing Industry. 5 Challenges Hospital Administrators Must Overcome to Succeed in Today’s Rapidly Changing Industry. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/5-challenges-hospital-administrators-must-overcome-to-succeed-in-todays-rapidly-changing-industry.html Health Administrator | explorehealthcareers.org. (n.d.). Home | explorehealthcareers.org. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Career/56/H Healthcare Administrator. (n.d.). :: MHA Healthcareers Center ::. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://www.mshealthcareers.com/careers/hea Herman, B. (2011, December 6). 3 Ways Healthcare Executives Can Help Their Employees Work Smarter. Becker’s Hospital Review. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/3-ways-healthcare-executives-can-help-their-employees-work-smarter.html Locsin, A. (n.d.). What Are the Duties of a Healthcare Manager & Administrator? | Chron.com. Work – Chron.com. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from
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