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What Is a Medical and Health Services Manager?

No healthcare professional works alone. Even an individual with an independent practice still relies on support staff in the form of office managers, medical assistants, or other administrative experts. Medical offices of all sizes also need someone on staff who is proficient in hiring practices, bookkeeping, human resources, and other business tasks. Most doctors and advanced practice nurses do not take courses in HR management, finance, organizational behavior, and other business-focused disciplines. That’s why they enlist the help of medical and health services managers.

Medical and health services managers are administrative professionals. They often have a background in healthcare, usually nursing. They assist doctors and other medical professionals with the administrative and management tasks that come with the practice. Continue reading to find out more about what a medical and health services manager is and how to get started on the path to becoming one.

A health services manager and her team meet

What Do Medical and Health Services Managers Do?

The term “medical and health services manager” can refer to a range of jobs in medical offices and corporations, from CEOs of major healthcare networks to business managers at doctors’ offices. Depending on the size of the organization, medical and health services managers handle everything from daily scheduling to high-level tasks, such as hospital budgeting, new facility planning, and outlining a mission statement. Hiring and training, patient billing, insurance company billing, technology upgrades, and scheduling are all job duties that medical and health services managers perform, but that’s not even close to a comprehensive list.

Discover Nursing Leadership Positions

One path that can lead to work as a medical and health services manager is nursing. Registered nurses (RNs) with work experience and an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), can pursue several jobs that take advantage of their nursing background and allow them to develop their managerial abilities. Below are three different roles in nursing leadership and what sets them apart.

Charge Nurse

The answer to “what is a medical and health services manager?” is vast. One job under this umbrella is that of charge nurse. Charge nurses are the first line of nursing leadership. They’re responsible for running a nursing shift in a specific area of a medical facility. Their duties are a mix of nursing and administrative tasks. Their responsibilities might include determining a course of treatment for a patient and creating schedules for the nurses who work under them.

Nurse Manager

Medical and health services managers with a background as an RN might step into the role of nurse manager. While they still can perform many nursing duties and treat patients, they often spend a lot of time in office settings, performing administrative and managerial duties. Nurse managers oversee an entire department of nurses in large facilities. In smaller operations, such as a physician’s office, they might oversee all nursing staff. They handle hiring, new nurse training, setting workplace standards, scheduling, and resolving workplace conflicts.

Chief Nursing Officer

The chief nursing officer, or CNO, is the highest-ranking member of a facility or organization’s nursing staff. They typically report directly to the CEO or the chief operating officer. In large healthcare facilities –– or even healthcare organizations that own multiple facilities –– CNOs are responsible for setting an organization’s goals and mission, leading the way for all the nurses in their workplace to follow. As executives in their organizations, CNOs must have extensive experience in nursing and management. They must be able to think about the bigger picture while maintaining high standards for patient care and professionalism. They create a work environment that is attractive to quality employees.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports there were 406,100 jobs in the category of medical and health services managers as of May 2018. Of that group, 33% (134,500) worked in hospitals, 11% (44,300) worked in physicians’ offices, 10% (40,900) worked in nursing and residential care facilities, and 8% worked in government (33,500). Another 19,400 (4.8%) were self-employed, and 11,700 (2.9%) worked in company or enterprise management.

The median annual salary for medical and health services managers was $99,730 in 2018, according to the BLS. The top 10% of wage earners made $182,600, while the bottom 10% earned approximately $58,680. Those working in government had the highest median annual salary ($110,640), followed by managers in hospitals ($108,730), outpatient care centers ($92,390), physicians’ offices ($90,920), and nursing and residential care facilities ($84,260).

The BLS projects the job market for medical and health services managers to grow 18% between 2018 and 2028, more than three times the national job market average during that time. That’s approximately 71,600 new jobs created. The BLS projects outpatient care centers will see a 56.2% climb in employment, from 27,300 jobs to 42,600. The number of self-employed workers will jump 35.9%, from 19,400 to 26,400.

Discover How Maryville University Can Help You Lead

Medical and health services managers are often experienced nurses with the desire and experience to lead. RNs who want to become a nursing leader should consider advancing their education through a Master of Science in Nursing with a business and leadership component. This degree offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of healthcare policy, finance, and management. Discover how Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Nursing with a leadership concentration, which features healthcare-centered business courses, can help prepare you to advance into one of these roles.

Recommended Reading

How to Become an Executive

Skills Every Health Administrator Should Have

The Future of Nursing: Leading Change in the 21st Century


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Care Management: Implications for Medical Practice, Health Policy, and Health Services Research”

American Hospital Association, Nurse Leadership

Houston Chronicle, “The Role of Managers in Healthcare”

Maryville University, Career Opportunities for MSN Graduates

Maryville University, Online MSN in Leadership

PayScale, Average Nursing Manager Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers