Pathways: Healthcare Administrators Handle Their Business

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Interested in a career in healthcare but not good at dealing with the blood and trauma side of things? You might consider a career in hospital administration.
 
In 2014, the Australian government published an employment outlook statement that predicted a 16.3% rise in jobs within the healthcare and social assistance sectors by 2018. With fantastic employment prospects, it's an exciting time to launch into a career in hospital administration.
 
Healthcare administrators in Australia make between $35-95,000 a year, depending factors like their employer or their education level. Adzuna lists the average income as $73,546. That's not a bad living. It's understandable why you might feel up to the challenge, but depositing the paychecks is the easy part. It's earning them that takes fortitude.
 
If you think you can handle business like a pro, consider this: As a healthcare administrator, you'll need to be flexible about location, be able to handle a litany of responsibilities, juggle many skill sets like a pro, and show up educated.
 
Flexible
 
Be flexible about job location...
 
Think of it this way: the best thing about the job of hospital administrators is one can find oneself working in a variety of settings. There are public or private hospitals, major or rural hospitals, group medical practices, aged care facilities, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation facilities and more.
 
If you are the sort of person who enjoys working in a variety of environments, this will come as welcome news. You could change it up every five years to keep things fresh. If you're good enough, they'll come asking for you.
 
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Handle a litany of responsibilities...
 
Regardless of your station, the responsibilities of an administrator can vary. Duties may include:
 
  • Financials - You will likely manage budgets, finances and expenditure.
  • Operations - You could be organising the distribution of assets, like staff or tools. Administrators oversee office supplies, like scissors, lanyards, pens and highlighters. They may also order medical supplies.
  • Leadership - You may represent the organisation in meetings.
  • Networking - You may be the liaison between stakeholders, governing bodies and the health organisation.
  • Cascading - You will also likely be liaising with internal medical staff, nurses and other relevant parties.
  • Development - You may create and implement policies or procedures.
  • Rally - You may promote occupational health and safety within the organisation.
 
We use could, and may, because these responsibilities vary from organization-to-organization, job-to-job. If you like the sound of the role so far but aren't sure whether you would be a good fit, let's look at some of the personal qualities that hospital administrators need to possess.
 
Regardless of the actual duties for which you will be responsible, the same skill sets will come into play in just about any position. You may recognise some similarities from the previous list. No matter how they are applied, these skills are necessary from the most entry level administrative position in the middle of nowhere, to the big city hospital position.
 
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Juggle skill sets like a pro...
 
  • Communication and interpersonal skills - You  need to be an effective communicator, able to foster a good rapport with your colleagues.
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills - Being able to identify, analyse and resolve issues efficiently is very important for hospital administrators.
  • Financial planning and management skills - If you love the word budget and playing with numbers makes you happy you will be a good fit for this role.
  • Planning and organisational skills - Planning and managing a variety of tasks means you need to be super organised.
  • Decision-making skills - Hospital administrators are leaders who need to be comfortable with taking charge and making important decisions.
 
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Show up educated...
 
For an entry level job in hospital administration, they will usually require a bachelor degree in health management or similar. If you are unsure which course your local university provides for people who want to work as hospital administrators it is a good idea to get in touch and speak with someone there who can advise you further.
 
Entry level requirements for such degrees can vary but you will need to have a solid grasp of mathematics, English and most importantly a passion and interest in healthcare.
There are also post-graduate degree options that you can undertake to upgrade your existing skills or as a change of career path.
 
If university study is really not for you then don't despair, there are other certificate courses, diplomas or traineeships that can get you roles in various aspects of healthcare administration. Healthcare is such a large field that becoming a hospital administrator isn't the only way to enjoy a fulfilling career in healthcare administration.
 
Pros & Cons
 
Let's recap some of the pros versus the cons of your potential decision...
 
Pros:
 
  1. Job security and outlook: Well-paid positions and a good amount of job growth expected.
  2. Rewarding: Making a difference to the lives of many by ensuring the organisation runs smoothly.
  3. Well paid: With above average salaries on offer and the opportunity for salary increase along with seniority and responsibilities.
 
Cons:
 
  1. Stressful: This is a job with many responsibilities to juggle. Some people might find this stressful.
  2. Long and after hours: This job can involve long hours. Depending on the particular hospital you are working at you may need to work late or night shifts.
  3. Travel: While some people see this as a job perk, travelling for work can be tiring. This is a role where you might need to travel for conferences or seminars.
 
So, do you still think you can handle business? We did our best to level with you, maybe even tried scare you a bit. If you are still up to the challenge then what are you waiting for? Start planning to take over the world now, beginning with your career as Australia's number one healthcare administrator. We're your biggest fan.
 
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