Healthcare is an expanding industry. The need for qualified doctors and medical staff in hospitals will continue to increase as will the need for skilled managers to run them.
Hospital managers or healthcare administrators plan, coordinate and manage the business related activities within a hospital or medical practice and ensure proper delivery of services. This includes activities such as creating and supervising work schedules and managing finances. Individuals that choose this career path usually have sympathetic personalities and genuinely want to help others. They also need to display good interpersonal skills and leadership ability as directing and motivating others forms a key part of the position.
On an academic level, entry into this field requires at least a bachelor's degree and most healthcare management professionals hold a master's degree in health administration, health sciences or business administration. Graduates generally begin their careers as administrative assistants and move on to become managers, administrators or department heads once they've gained some experience.
The number of hospital administrators present in a hospital will vary and depend to a large extent on the size of the facility. A larger medical facility may have an administrator that's responsible for each department i.e. nursing, physical therapy and patient records. In smaller facilities there may only be one administrator that takes care of all activities across the board, either on their own or with the help of an assistant. For this reason it can be more beneficial for graduates to start out at a smaller facility to get a more hands on experience across all departments.
Hospital administrators need to keep up to date on industry development and regulations to ensure that their medical practice stays compliant. The provision of safe healthcare and accreditation of institutions is one area where standards and regulations are enforced strictly. Accreditation as a practice aims to minimize and prevent the occurrence of human error through standards development and incident reporting. In South Africa, medical professionals across all areas of specialization need to be registered with the Health professions council before they are allowed to practice.
According to the US Bureau of labor statistics, projected growth of this career field between 2010 and 2020 is 22 percent (which is considered faster than average across all occupations). The median annual wage of health service managers in 2011 was $86,400. According to Pay scale, starting salaries usually range from $35,000 - $95,000 a year while more experienced healthcare managers can earn over $200,000 a year.