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Researching the Job Opportunities in Healthcare Management Field
Healthcare management is a rapidly changing and evolving field of healthcare industry. This field expands according to the conditions of how and where healthcare services are delivered. It requires prospective, talented people with modern vision and understanding of how to manage these ongoing changes. Therefore, healthcare managers and executives are able to contribute significantly to the process of health services improvement. Contemporary healthcare systems require specialists in such settings as clinics, consulting firms, health insurance organizations, healthcare associations, hospitals, nursing homes, physician practices, mental health organizations, public health departments, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, universities and research institutions (American College of Healthcare Executives).
It is incumbent on healthcare managers to manage various needs related to healthcare business services. It can be the integration of new technologies into the infrastructure of a facility or management of specific departments (Thorne). Further, it can be an activity related to financial issues or any daily operations of a healthcare institution (Thorne). The field is rather broad and requires managers of different professional levels. Thus, beginners will probably start from a department supervising (accounting or physical therapy, for example). More experiences specialists usually can run several departments simultaneously or head an entire healthcare facility such as hospital, nursing home, etc. (Thorne).
As for the work environment, it can be said that it is similar to the one in any other area. Generally, it is a comfortable setting in a regular office. However, it requires extra hours considering the environments with round-the-clock oriented operations. This job can be attributed to long-time travelling due to the need to manage various facilities distributed in different areas. Top level managers should be ready for overwork, at nights and weekends as it is the integral part of their responsibilities (American College of Healthcare Executives; Education Portal; Degree Directory).
A person aiming at being successful in the sphere healthcare management must be appropriately trained and have specialized management education including people and organizational management. Most of the entry-level jobs require at least a bachelors degree from the candidates. Managers of upper level must have a masters degree and the appropriate work experience. In addition, managers of nursing homes must have the license provided by the state they work in. Managers of other specializations can be asked to provide additional certificates of specialized training courses (American College of Healthcare Executives; Education Portal).
It is important to remember that education and training are not the only requirements a future manger must fit. Skills are also utterly valuable. Thus, healthcare managers must be able to supervise employees from rather broad areas. Excellent managers must know how to communicate and coordinate the activities of simple technicians and support staff as well as physicians, nurses, and any other people involved into the processes in the field. Highly valuable managers are those who possess outstanding interpersonal skills and are able to apply their decision-making skills in stressful situations (American College of Healthcare Executives; Education Portal; Degree Directory). As of today, there are about 100,000 people who occupy positions related to healthcare management. The positions vary from departments heads to CEOs of different healthcare facilities. Senior level positions provide highly skilled managers with opportunities to change the situation in healthcare industry for the better (American College of Healthcare Executives).
The industry healthcare managers work in nowadays is as follows. In the U.S., there are about 79% of organizations that practice in the sector of employment of specialists ranging from doctors to optometrists. Hospitals can be addressed to only 2% of the establishments, but they provide about 59% of revenue the entire industry earns. There are such organizations as Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), which, provide both hospital and insurance services. In general, the modern healthcare industry is very fragmented. The U.S. has the largest healthcare industry in the world worth about $1.7 trillion comparing to $700 billion worth of European healthcare system (GlobalEDGE).
Some new trends in the healthcare industry are observed. There is a new service in the sphere which is managing health care after a disaster whether it is a natural or man-made one. Members of disaster relief teams are to be educated and experienced in order to provide help effectively and quickly in case of emergency situations. The task of healthcare management is to create health care delivery systems that necessary for seamless interaction and communication between rescue teams and health care facilities. Rx Response, an organization created for delivering medications to those who suffer from disasters, states that attention to such work has significantly increased after the devastating Hurricane Katrina.
Organizations providing health care on the global scale seek people who are ready to take care of patients in developing countries thus improving health care delivery in general. People engaged in healthcare management in countries that are considered developing might be very good in solving problems on the highest level if they want to efficiently provide health care with the resources available (Education Portal; Degree Director).
There are some positions in healthcare management implying that a candidate for them should have clinical experience as well as some managerial training. For example, knowledge of healthcare management might be necessary for a manager of rehabilitative services in a nursing home; thus, it will be possible to deliver services more efficiently and it will not be necessary to increase the financing cost. In other words, it will be more beneficial for a manger to be trained both in physical therapy and in healthcare management (Education Portal; Degree Director).
Among other issues, healthcare managers work in pharmaceutical companies and their responsibilities are connected with products distribution. Research facilities or companies that manufacture pharmaceutical products have healthcare managers in charge of research or production. With the development of new treatment plans and therapies, new medications will be developed for them, as well (Education Portal; Degree Director).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 290,000 positions for healthcare managers as of 2008. Considering the trend, the Bureau estimates that, between 2008 and 2018, the number of positions will grow rather quick comparing with the average growth in the industry. In 2008, healthcare industry managers earned about $80,000 (average salary) (Thorne).
As for the salaries in the industry today, the division of salaries according to the position of a healthcare manager is illustrated by the figure below (American College of Healthcare Executives):
Figure 1. Median annual base salary and total cash compensation
It should be noted that this figure illustrates the salaries of the top executives only.