Healthcare – it’s a field that for many, forms a necessary part of our lives. Whether you’re a young person who’s experienced an injury, or an elderly person at the end of a well-lived life, you’ll no doubt interact with medical professionals of all sorts, whether they be paramedics, doctors, nurses, or even more specialist staff.
Much can be said of the medical professionals who form the operational backbone of many clinics and hospitals. For those who undertake courses such as Master in Healthcare Administration, you may not necessarily see them on the frontline of healthcare. However, they will provide medical staff with the operational resources and tools necessary to succeed in the workplace.
Let’s dive into these vital, but little-known roles. What does it take to become a medical administrator – what exactly do they do, and how can the skills and techniques acquired through study empower you to work alongside the next generation of medical staff?
It is often assumed that healthcare is simply a case of doctors, nurses, and specialists – that operationally, they come together to help get the best outcome for patients. However, when you consider the size of a modern hospital, you begin to understand that self-organisation simply isn’t feasible for large-scale organisations with wide-ranging hours of operation.
In these sorts of situations, a healthcare administrator (occasionally known as a clinical services manager) is required to help administer the operational backend of teams of medical staff. For example, a healthcare administrator may be acquired to arrange rostering for hospital wards, manage budget allocations with department managers, or even work on high-level, strategic change within complex hospital environments (for example, encouraging employees to complete ongoing training that is required by many state regulators).
A healthcare administrator uses a wide range of professional and interpersonal skills to manage the day-to-day operations of a hospital or clinic. This can vary from regular operational tasks such as setting up rosters and maintaining records, to more complex activities that can be easily overlooked, such as reviewing current compliance standards with local, state, and federal healthcare laws. Medical administrators may also make representations on behalf of their role through member bodies such as the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA).
For many pathways to becoming a medical administrator, a qualification in a field such as healthcare leadership may be mandatory before pursuing a career in the field. These courses will provide you with some of the skills necessary to succeed in the field of healthcare leadership, providing valuable insight into how modern healthcare is constantly changing and how you can adapt and work with these systems to provide the best level of care possible for patients and stakeholders alike.
A healthcare leadership course typically provides you with a varying range of skills, empowering you with a broad-based understanding of the current medical system. This may involve investigations into critical literature, understanding how skills such as empathy can make you a better healthcare professional, as well as a mix of placements in clinical environments, so you can have some physical exposure to medical environments before immediately leaping into a hospital boardroom.
A qualification unfortunately can’t teach you everything – there is a level of experience that can only be gained through hands-on experience in the workplace. However, a qualification in healthcare leadership will be able to provide you with the foundational understanding of what makes a good leader, and what skills you may have to help be the best medical administrator that you can be in the workplace.
Fortunately, if you’re not comfortable with working in a large hospital environment, graduates of a healthcare leadership qualification can enjoy demand in roles in a wide variety of management positions. For example, opportunities exist in healthcare leadership to work as a clinical coach – where you take your skills and experience and use that to support retraining or outreach to smaller clinics that may not have the ability to support a medical administrator on an ongoing basis.
According to the job listing website SEEK, roles such as a Nursing Unit Manager often have salaries much higher than the Australian average, with current roles offering salaries between $120,000 and $135,000 per year. These potential salaries are just one indicator of how rewarding qualification in healthcare leadership can be – you can not only make a wealth of difference in the lives of nurses and other medical professionals, but you can also earn a competitive salary.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a job that offers a range of travel opportunities, some roles such as a regional nursing unit manager do exist. These may be of interest if you’ve got a passion for travel alongside work, allowing you to provide support to a range of remote and isolated clinics and practices.
No matter whether your passion is in healthcare or leadership, a qualification in healthcare leadership offers an invaluable juxtaposition for the professionals that medical administrators work alongside. If you’re looking for a respected medical profession, but are uncomfortable around difficult medical procedures, maybe you should consider your next steps towards becoming a hospital administrator.
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