How to Make it in Healthcare Management
The health sector is singlehandedly the most important sector we have. A healthy society is one that is successful, after all. It offers everyone a higher standard of life, a larger safety net, and the ability to lead a fuller, more rewarding life for as long as possible. Without the healthcare sector, humanity would not be where it is today, and thanks to how critical it is and also how large it has become, it is also one of the top fields for careers.
Working within healthcare can be incredibly rewarding when you want to help people and earn a high salary. There is a caveat to this, however. To help the most and to earn the most, you will need to continuously train and improve your skillset.
This applies to those working within healthcare as clinical specialists, and it also applies to those who make the entire healthcare system spin.
Who Should Consider a Career in Healthcare Management?
Healthcare management puts you in a position to make significant changes. There are executive-level positions in all areas of healthcare, allowing that outside of clinical backgrounds to work their way into healthcare where they can start to advocate for patients’ treatments and help spread the word and inform the public about various health concerns and conditions, and treatments. There are so many ways that you can work within healthcare management and administration and make a huge difference.
Just a few of the key candidates that should absolutely look into advancing their career into executive-level healthcare management include:
Clinical Healthcare Workers
Nurses, doctors, therapists, and more who know the system from a patient-centric viewpoint can all make excellent leaders. There are many clinical professionals who are getting burnt out caring for patients. Seeing people suffer and working in high-stress situations for long periods of time can do this. However, rather than quit healthcare entirely, many will find a new passion in management.
Admin Staff in Healthcare
Those who already work on the admin side of healthcare, especially if they manage a team, will make excellent executive leaders. By combining their know-how and expertise with a few excellent business management and operations skills, you will be able to make that next step in your career and start to make a real difference for those around you.
Analysts and Consultants
If you already work as an analyst or consultant (especially within healthcare), then adding essential business management skills to your repertoire can be just the ticket to transition into healthcare management.
How to Get into Healthcare Management
There are a few ways to get started in healthcare management:
Work Your Way into a Managerial Role
There are many team leaders and managers working in healthcare. However, working specifically in healthcare management often means you won’t just be managing a small team but an entire department, hospital, or clinic. Working in executive-level positions requires a combined background. Not only do you need to be familiar with healthcare and the state of healthcare in your country and how it compares to its worldwide counterparts, but you also need to know how to manage the staff and handle the business side of operations.
You won’t be doing all this on your own, of course, but you will need to keep your eye out for the bigger picture and know how to manage your team and those working under you so that you can bring about results again and again.
Working in administration in healthcare, after all, isn’t just about the bottom line. Yes, you absolutely do need to work towards balancing the books to keep the entire operation running, but making a profit isn’t the goal in this case. Instead, the goal is to provide better quality care for less.
You’ll need a decent amount of experience as a team leader or lower-level manager. It’s the same with those looking to earn an MBA. MBAs are ideal for those working toward executive-level management. An MHA is just the more targeted version for healthcare specialists.
Kickstart Your Efforts with a Degree
For many who are looking to bridge the gap in their career between specialist or manager to executive leadership, one of the best options is the MBA. Though many MBAs do offer healthcare management as a concentration, however, that is not the only way to get the specialist knowledge you are looking for. Better than an MBA is an Executive MHA – an Executive Master of Health Administration.
This is a very new, very innovative degree. There is only one of its kind in all of Canada, for example, and it was created to offer those looking to earn an MBA with a certification in healthcare management a more focused approach towards their goal.
It is designed for healthcare professionals and also management professionals to gain the knowledge and skills that they need specifically to work in an executive position within healthcare.
With this degree, you will build financial management skills and business skills and learn how to use evidence-based decision-making specifically within healthcare administration.
Being able to apply top business administration knowledge to the healthcare industry directly prepares healthcare and other professionals for a thriving career in healthcare management.
When choosing a degree, whether it is the one-of-a-kind EMHA or an MBA, always look for accreditation, particularly the triple-crown accreditations. This means that the program has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association for Master of Business Administration (AMBA), and also EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)
How to Approach the Management Degree
Work experience and networking are always going to play an incredibly crucial role when it comes to working your way into healthcare management and administration. With that in mind, the best way to approach your management degree is by looking for online education opportunities. Online education has come a very long way from its early years and has made significant strides compared to just a few years ago.
The pandemic has brought on massive shifts for the healthcare industry and many challenges, but one of the big benefits is that there has been unprecedented investment into the online education model. With more investment, more students, and higher interest in these types of programs, working professionals everywhere now have the opportunity to tackle a competitive management degree while working.
How to Juggle Your Healthcare Administration Degree
There is, of course, the issue of actually completing a full master’s degree while working. Juggling like this is not for everyone, but with a few key changes and with the right preparation, you can make it work and succeed while doing it.
Cut corners where you need to. Be smart about how you study or work. There are so many ways that you can take your time back and get the same work done – if not more. You are already taking on two full-time occupations, and that’s assuming you don’t also have children or other caring responsibilities.
To help you manage your healthcare administration degree, use these top tips:
Improve Your Health, Improve Your Memory
One of the best ways to manage a demanding career with a demanding career is to make sure your mind and body are up for the task. This means getting both up to scratch so that you feel as energized and alert as possible. The right foods and routine can make a huge difference when it comes to your energy management and also how well you absorb new information and remember it.
Eat foods that are great for memory. Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which the body uses to build both brain and nerve cells. Blueberries, turmeric, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, nuts, oranges, and eggs are also great to help give you that energy boost your brain needs to learn and memorize new information. When it comes to drinks, both green tea and coffee can also help by energizing you and providing you with additional benefits like antioxidants that help your brain function well.
Of course, no amount of caffeine or healthy eating is going to help if you find it difficult to sleep. There are some conditions that you will need to see a doctor for, like sleep apnea, but for most, consistency is the best tip when it comes to staying energized. Have a consistent bedtime and wake-up routine throughout the week, and you’ll be able to get your circadian rhythm on your side.
Finally, drink more water. With the body primarily made up of water and blood being the key channel your body uses to deposit both nutrients and oxygen throughout your body, the importance of water becomes very clear. It will be an adjustment if you don’t currently drink enough now but work to stay more hydrated throughout the day for better performance both at work and when you commit time to your degree.
Don’t Forget to Develop Your Soft Skills and Leadership Style
How to manage and lead a team, department, or hospital is a great place to start, but there are a lot of soft skills you’ll need to develop and improve if you want to lead well. This means succeeding even after you get hired.
Your Leadership Style
There is a lot of discourse about leadership styles and what they entail, but overall, there are generally three: autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire. It is a mistake to assume, however, that you need to choose just one style and then stick with it until the day that you die. The fact is that some teams will benefit from a democratic style of leadership, others need support rather than direction, and others legally need you to take an autocratic stance.
Developing your own approach to each of these situations is how you develop your own unique style of leadership. You don’t change personalities, just approaches. More important than your approach, however, is being able to recognize when each type of leadership is necessary.
If you have a team that is highly divisive and does not agrees on anything, then an autocratic stance can work. There are different approaches even in healthcare, especially the higher up the career ladder you go. If you have clinical staff, accounting staff, admin staff, marketing staff, and so on, you won’t want to manage them all in the same way. You want to manage them in a way that gets the best results every time.
Your Soft Skills
There are a few very important soft skills that you will need to work on and develop. Part of how you develop these soft skills will be through trial and error and just sheer wisdom, but don’t be afraid to learn, either. You can read books on how to communicate better, listen to talks, hire a coach, and so on.
The most important of all the soft skills is communication. Communication is an umbrella skill, yes. It includes listening, being able to convey information accurately and concisely, writing, and conflict resolution. It also needs to continually be worked on.
The world is diverse, and so too will your employees and patients. Knowing how to be respectful of the many different groups while also tailoring your approach to the individual can help you always get the most positive outcome.
Want Better Opportunities? Network
There may be huge shortages of healthcare personnel, but there isn’t a shortage of leaders. Healthcare may be a bit different from other industries, but it is still built with peaks. At the top, there is only one, and underneath that one (a director or president or CEO), there are those that they delegate to, and down and down the career ladder professions go.
Working your way up means that there will be more job applicants than there are opportunities. The highest and most coveted of jobs may never be open for applications and instead individually selected.
In order to gain access to these unique opportunities and really make it in healthcare management, you need to network. At the start, this can be done with simple networking tips, but the higher you go, the more important it will be to attend the fundraising events and other high-profile events so that you can make yourself known and endear yourself to stakeholders and other people of power.