“Ho hum” may very well be your reaction when viewing job titles that include the word “administration.” However, don’t be too quick to judge the “book cover” title. Not only is health care administration a critical necessity for successful operation, it also can offer professionals and exciting, challenging and personally rewarding career. Furthermore, there exists a vast array of career options falling under “health care administration” that are easy to find where you can apply your skills and passion.
Three Examples of Administration Careers
Here are three administrators that serve different and distinct roles within the health care field. One is Josie Deet, ambulatory practices director for a children’s hospital. Another is Major T.K. Carter, the Commander of Administration at an army medical center and Julie Sheffield, who is the department chair for health care administration at a university.
Finding Challenge and Diversity
These professionals work in diverse environments as well as perform quite different duties in their respective health care administration careers. Deet began a career in med-surg and followed a career path where she now supervises four hospital outpatient clinics providing primary care for children and young adolescents. She oversees the range of services performed and is responsible for all staffing concerns and unit financial budgets. Deet begins her workday at 5:30 a.m. spending a great deal of the morning in meetings. She “steals” time between meetings creating plans and budgets, examining department audits and checking doctor schedules. Her time also is spent checking on children in the clinic, participating on several work committees while also supervising several improvement projects. She says it is a lot like “running your own business – there really are no set hours.”
Uncle Sam Comes a Calling
Carter entered the health care administration field at one point during his U.S. Army career. The army offered a long-term education program that Carter took advantage of leading to a doctorate degree in health services administration. He oversees the entire operation of a major army medical center. Unlike many of his civilian counterparts, Army reality dictates having to manage with well-established and well-disciplined parameters creating greater challenges than might be faced in non-military settings. A great challenge is coordinating the outsourcing of health care not available on base with private concerns. Strict rules, regulations and order are the army way that must be adhered to always, Carter said. However, military service offers untold education opportunities allowing career advancement and obviously positioning health care administrators for ample choices beyond military service.
Sometimes a Career Catches You Unaware
Sheffield readily admits she found health care administration by accident. While studying as an undergraduate, she received a sociology project that directed her to examine and evaluate the community health care programs offered by her university. This certainly piqued her curiosity and, in fact, she wound up working for the very department she evaluated. Additional education led to post-graduate degrees and Sheffield one day found herself as the chair of the health care management department at the very school she began an association with after graduating high school. Sheffield said that successful health care administration students learn that leadership skills are just as important as any business skill needed for a productive and rewarding career.
Have A Passion To Improve Health Care Delivery?
Despite the differences in their duties and responsibilities, all of these dedicated health care administrators have certain qualities in common—qualities that you will also need if you are to excel in this field. Every day in health care brings new challenges, so you’ll need strong problem solving and critical thinking skills. You also need to be passionate about health care and have a genuine desire to provide the best quality health care to the largest number of people possible.