Working in Hospital Administration and Management

Nancy Burgess

The focus of the hospital administration and management is to assure that the facility is running efficiently and in compliance within the realm of hospital policies and state regulations.

Hospital administration and management work diligently to control and regulate the clinical and business operations of a healthcare facility. Working as a team is an important aspect of any hospital administrative position, whether in an acute care hospital, outpatient setting, hospice or rehabilitation facility.

What Do They Do?

The focus of the hospital administration and management is to assure that the facility is running efficiently and in compliance within the realm of hospital policies and state regulations. This includes policy development, finance, human resources, clinical performance, and marketing strategies.

Stress, Hours, Workload, and Work Environment

The stress, hours, and workload associated with hospital administration fluctuate depending upon the issues of the day. However, the day-to-day operations of the facility are crucial to its success. The administrative team must stay focused on the delivery of state-of-the-art healthcare while looking to improve future technology at the facility. This entails not only equipment and technology but also assuring that state mandated regulations are also closely followed.

There are numerous department, budget and Board of Director meetings as well as accreditation surveys and visits such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, that add to the stress level.

Usual business hours are the routine fare for administration as they deal with the day-to-day operation of the facility. Responsibilities sometimes expand to incorporate attendance at evening Board of Director meetings or fundraising events or to address off-shift staffing concerns and issues. An administrator is on-call 24 hours a day for emergency concerns.

Who Are They?

Orchestrating the delivery of quality healthcare involves the cooperation and expertise of many professionals with wide variety of responsibilities and duties. These are a few of the key team members:

Medical Office Administrator: This person is responsible for the overall proficient day-to-day operation of a medical office. They deal with staffing, budgets, patient issues, technology and more.

Medical Secretary: This skilled secretarial staff performs the clerical duties necessary to support the healthcare professionals with whom they work. Medical secretaries must be highly organized, proficient at the computer and have strong communication skills in order to keep the practice or hospital department running smoothly.

Hospital Executive: Several main job descriptions, all of which work together as the administrative team, fall under the auspice of hospital executive. The combination of team members varies, depending upon the facility.

  • The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) oversees the team and is responsible for the overall operation of the facility.
  • The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) manages all aspects of the facility's financial operations.
  • The Vice President of Human Resources deals with personnel issues and benefits and the hiring of personnel in all departments of the facility.

Director of Nurses (DON): This Master's degree prepared registered nurse (RN) manages and supervises the entire nursing service within the hospital or other healthcare facility. The DON deals with physicians, nursing staff members, patients and family members on a wide variety of topics.

Nurse Manager: This frontline manager is minimally a Bachelor's (BSN) prepared, but often Master's prepared, RN who supervises all aspects of patient care for a specific department. From staff evaluations and department budgets to effective physician communication and insuring quality patient care, a nurse manager has 24-hour accountability and responsibility for the department.

Medical Assistant: Medical assistants perform administrative duties but are most involved with hand-on patient care. They update medical records but also check patient's vital signs, record electrocardiograms (EKG), collect or prepare specimens like blood and urine and more. The medical assistant is usually the staff member who first encounters the patient and gets them prepared to see the attending physician.