How to Become a Medical and Health Services Manager

Large healthcare institutions have many business units, each with its own functions and responsibilities. In order for these organizations to produce the best  healthcare outcomes, all of these units must be coordinated and organized harmoniously. To do that efficiently, the organizations employ administrative professionals, like medical and health services managers.

These healthcare professionals don’t usually work in a clinical capacity; instead, they act as leaders who oversee the business and administrative functions of the business units. Aspiring students who wish to pursue a career in this type of healthcare leadership can gain an advantage by earning a bachelor’s in organizational leadership, business administration, or communications.

Why Leadership Is Vital in Healthcare Organizations

The actions of every employee in a healthcare organization have the potential to impact the quality of care being delivered to patients. It is the duty of leaders to ensure that each employee is working to maximize efficiency while being mindful of the comfort and safety of their patients. Some healthcare leadership positions also involve managing the supportive business functions of healthcare institutions as well. For example, medical and health services managers are often responsible for tasks such as developing operational strategies, setting goals, and communicating with other leaders in the organization.

What Does a Medical and Health Services Manager Do?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics presents medical and health services management as a broad occupation that incorporates leadership positions in a range of healthcare disciplines. For example, nursing home administrators are health services managers who help oversee the business activities of nursing homes. This involves managing the staffing needs of the facility, coordinating patient admissions, monitoring finances, and ensuring that the patients being treated in the nursing home are being cared for properly.

Clinical managers also fall under the same umbrella category of medical and health services managers, but they work in fast-paced clinical environments. Their usual responsibility is to supervise a specific department in the organization, such as intensive care, nursing, or the surgical unit. Clinical managers are not always required to have clinical experience themselves, meaning the bachelor’s in organizational leadership or a similar management-focused degree can help candidates qualify for this job.

Health information managers have a more technical position than these other roles. They manage the data being communicated internally and externally by their organization. This includes patient records and data as well as communications made internally among staff members. To keep this data secure, health information managers must be up to date on the most current techniques for managing large volumes of data — and have the leadership capacity to supervise the technicians who work for them.

Top Leadership Skills for Medical and Health Services Managers

With such critical job responsibilities, medical and health services managers can benefit significantly from developing advanced leadership competencies. In 2018, Becker’s Hospital Review conducted a survey asking experienced healthcare leaders what they thought the most desired leadership competency was in their profession. The results revealed that a majority of the participants chose having vision and a strategy as the most important leadership trait. Following this were integrity, communication skills, and agility. Here are some reasons why these competencies are so highly valued for medical and health services managers.

  1. Vision and Strategy. Healthcare organizations need to make long-term plans to thrive. A strong leader must be able to articulate a firm vision that their employees are motivated to achieve. This partially involves creating plans for the future and a sound strategy, but it also hinges on inspiring employees to work passionately toward their employers’ goals. Prospective students can develop their ability to translate their vision into effective strategies by completing their bachelor’s in organizational leadership program, for example, during which they will explore theories of organizational behavior and business negotiation.
  2. Integrity. Being honest and trustworthy are two traits that are essential for anyone aspiring to a leadership role. For medical and health services managers, acting with integrity should also include taking actions that meet the expectations of their employers, colleagues, and employees. Although integrity can’t be learned in the classroom, discussions about leadership in an academic setting will help students develop their own sense of integrity.
  3. Communication Skills. For any leader, the ability to communicate well is a critical skill that is required to keep teams operating smoothly. Medical and health services managers need to provide clear instruction to their subordinates and report accurate information to their own employers. Getting comfortable with communicating face-to-face, in writing, and through video is necessary for anyone who wants to be an effective healthcare leader.
  4. Agility. Healthcare work environments are highly complex, and prospering within them requires quick thinking and adaptability. Sometimes decisions must be made right away, meaning there isn’t time to consider every option exhaustively. This is where agility comes in — medical and health services managers who are accustomed to effectively making decisions and handling problems as they arise will excel in this field.

Start Learning Leadership Skills Now

When it comes to hiring medical and health services managers, education requirements can vary by organization, experience, and role. While there are several paths that might lead to management positions in healthcare, the online bachelor’s in organizational leadership program at Maryville University teaches students specialized leadership skills that can serve them well as they pursue their professional goals as medical and health services managers.

Sources:

Becker’s Hospital Review, “5 important qualities for a medical leader (and one to avoid)

Becker’s Hospital Review, “Healthcare CEOs say this is the No. 1 desired leadership Skill

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers

Maryville University, “Careers with an Organizational Leadership Degree

Maryville University, Online Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership