Life can be full of surprises. As you might relate, there are times that the most unthinkable things happen you just could not foresee. Things like breaking your arm on a trampoline, getting your toe run over by your spouse while they are backing out of the driveway, or going into delivery while stuck in traffic.
While all of these things may be terrible incidents, you usually count on one place to take care of you in the midst of them – a Hospital.
Now, we all know a hospital is a great big building with people in white coats and scrubs, where babies are born and the ambulances scurry off to in a hurry. But, many people neglect to understand a certain hero in the hospital – the Healthcare Administrator.
You may have some idea of this job if you have ever watched a season of Grey’s Anatomy, General Hospital, E.R. or another similar hospital T.V. show. If you think about it though, what would you really do anyway? Obviously, you are not a doctor, nurse, or mortician. So, what would you do all day if you were a Healthcare Administrator?
While not being a practitioner with a medical license, a Healthcare Administrator has a significant impact on the effectiveness of a hospital. You might ask, “Would I just be filing paperwork all day?” On the contrary, while you would have to do some paperwork, you would actually be instrumental in ensuring that the hospital is running as it should be.
For example, you would be making sure that those nurses who are sticking needles in patients are actually certified nurses and not some “Susie Smith” off the street. You would make sure that there is always a doctor available in case a patient goes into delivery earlier than normal.
You also make sure the hospital is legally compliant and not the victim of the next news headline.
See, the purpose you would hold as a Healthcare Administrator would not just be to sign off time-sheets, following up on certifications, and such. Your purpose would be to make the hospital a reliable safe haven for those in need.
Imagine your family member going to the hospital and not being able to get the treatment they desperately need? As a Healthcare Administrator, you get to be a part of making a difference in the lives of your community.
The Typical Day
Alright, now you are on board with the vision of what being a Healthcare Administrator, what exactly do you do all day? Here are some common responsibilities you might hold on, say, a Friday (because who doesn’t like a Friday?).
Be In The Know On Healthcare Laws
This means picking up a newspaper, subscribing to a blog, or doing some hard-nosed research to find out what is going on in Washington that you need to be aware of. This might pertain to the Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act.
You are also responsible for educating your team on the importance of these laws in their work. This may range from setting up a webinar, new hire training, or mentorship programs to make sure this information is communicated across the hospital.
Implementing And Communicating Changes
As policies or rules may need to be changed over time, part of your day will also be collecting data from your team to make educated changes to those policies and communicating those changes to the affected staff.
This is an important one. Imagine going to the emergency room and there is no one there to help you with your son’s broken arm.
You would be responsible for making sure there is always a doctor on call, calling in nurses in case other nurses call in sick, and making sure there each section of the hospital is staffed at exactly the right time.
While the emergency room is a good example, there are also jobs like janitor, food service workers, and sitters that all need to be scheduled appropriately.
Handling The Money
Try not to shy away from this thinking you are no good with money. All this means is you are making sure budgets are being adhered to, and you are producing accurate and positive reports to the Board.
At times, you might have to do some strategic thinking with departments heads about ways to increase revenue and decrease budget costs as well.
Managing The People
Doctors, nurses and hospital staff are people too! On any given day, you may need to give feedback to a nurse who did not treat a patient according to the hospital’s core values. Or, maybe a doctor deserves recognition for handling a certain patient with excellent care.
You have the chance to set the tone for what’s important to the hospital through your leadership and supervision.
Related to leading your staff, it is quite important to get to know them. On a daily basis, it would be a good practice for you to do check-ins with your staff members, building relationships, and observing what is actually happening in the hospital – not just what your department heads are telling you.
There will be at times that perhaps a criminal or celebrity has to be treated at your facility and there are news reporters that want to cover the story. While these reporters are just doing their job, it is extremely important that a patient’s privacy is upheld and there is not a media circus running through your hospital.
You may have to interact with the media issuing public statements from the hospital’s vantage point. At times you may also have to deal with the police for any security requirements of at-risk patients.
Although you may not be personally writing and maintaining records, you do have to have regular check-ins with your Records department to ensure legal compliance and accuracy. Records play a crucial role in helping physicians accurately treat patients.
Medical and Office Supply Management
All of those doctors need shiny stethoscopes, not to mention a nice pen to make sure they write clearly (okay maybe the pen has no effect). On a regular basis, it will be important for you to make sure there are adequate supplies for your staff to do their job and to do it well.
Although these responsibilities may vary, if you consider yourself tough, organized, and focused on results, this is the job for you! Go and make a difference in the lives of your community!