It is common knowledge that proper nutrition is the key to staying fit and looking after your diet is crucial for remaining healthy. Despite this, people often need treatment for a range of conditions from medical professionals. In addition, some individuals need professional medical treatment due to injuries suffered from an accident.
It is fair to say that healthcare is one of the most important sectors. In addition to keeping people healthy, it provides the specialist care needed when someone needs surgery and rehabilitation. Not surprisingly, this is also an industry full of different roles that are popular career choices.
While the obvious examples such as registered nurses or physicians may spring to mind, it is not just frontline roles in healthcare that are crucial to its smooth functioning. Administrative positions are every bit as central to the efficient running of any clinic, hospital or healthcare setting. The choices made by administrative staff in this industry can also have a huge impact on patient care.
How can you move into a job like this, and how do administrative choices affect patient care?
How can you break into a medical administrative role?
Although it may be easy to forget the army of professional administrative staff who help healthcare institutions operate, their importance should not be underestimated. This means there is a real demand for qualified administrative staff in clinics and hospitals, with many of these roles offering a decent salary level.
For entry-level roles, you normally need a bachelor’s degree in healthcare to break into the field. If you plan to move onto more senior administrative roles in this industry, higher-level qualifications are usually needed.
The MBA in healthcare administration from Spring Arbor University Online is one good program to consider. It offers the latest learning in subjects such as managing quality in healthcare. Rated among the top 15 online programs in Michigan by Online MBA Today, this accelerated course can be finished in just one year.
How can administrative choices impact patient care?
Many people gain the qualifications needed to work in healthcare administration because they want to make a difference in patient care. It can also be appealing to those who want to work in healthcare but do not wish to move into a frontline position. Impacting patient care might seem like a stretch because most administrative roles in this sector do not involve direct contact with patients. So, how can administrative staff have an effect on patient care?
It all comes down to how the actions and decisions of administrative staff ultimately influence the care patients receive. A good example of this could be someone who works as a Chief Nursing Officer. Because this role involves maintaining the quality of nursing services at a healthcare facility, their management of nursing staff can greatly influence patient care. If they make sure the nurses working under them are compassionate and adhere to the relevant working guidelines, for example, it will ensure patient care is affected in a positive way.
Executive administrative roles in healthcare wield real power
By the same token, the director of a hospital is in a very powerful position to impact patient care, even though they might not be hands-on themselves. This is because medical staff in their hospital have to implement any policies related to patient care that they bring into play. If they draw up a new policy to cut waiting times in the emergency room, for example, this can have a very tangible positive impact on patients.
Directors of finance are another executive administrative role in healthcare that can influence the care patients get. If they decide to allocate resources to a certain department, for example, this department may be able to bring in new staff to improve patient care, or there may be new equipment to expand the treatments available at vein and surgery centers under their control. Directors of finance who look after a healthcare institution’s funds well can help it keep going to provide urgently needed care.
Healthcare administrators can often be vital to workplace culture
Another high-level healthcare role that we have already mentioned is that of a healthcare administrator. This exciting job can include responsibilities such as overseeing faculty operations, forming an organization’s strategy, and focusing on patient care.
The direct focus that healthcare administrators have on patient care in an institution means that they have a significant ability to affect what it looks like. It is fair to say that decisions made by people in this role can shape the care any patient has.
In simple terms, healthcare administrators are often keepers of the culture for their workplace. They are the people who enact policies established by healthcare directors and CEOs and ensure they are adhered to by other staff. This can improve the care patients receive and how they feel about their treatment.
Imagine that a new policy has come out to improve communication between medical staff and patients. It requires every employee to introduce themselves to patients when they first meet and explain their role in the care the patient receives.
Healthcare administrators can have a big impact on patient care here by choosing to keep tabs on the new policy and make sure everyone is following it. By clarifying expectations and holding staff accountable, administrators uphold a positive culture and ensure no one can drag down the level of care patients receive.
Patient experience is affected by administrative choices
The last decade has seen a real shift within healthcare to a more patient-centric model. This means the preferences, needs and overall satisfaction of patients is considered very important. It can be seen in how many healthcare settings are now eager to not only collect patient feedback but also use it to improve the experience they offer.
It is fair to say that patient experience plays a major role in their perception of their care. Even if a clinic has provided the best care in terms of treatment, patients may not feel positive if their overall experience has not been of a similar level.
How can administrative choices play a role here? After all, most administrative staff do not go anywhere near patients to treat them or impact their experience. However, when you think about it more closely, it is easy to see how administrative staff can make choices that influence patient experience.
Choices in how administrative staff behave and handle people
In short, the choices that administrative staff make about how they speak to people and how they behave can impact overall patient care levels. This is because patients who feel they have not been dealt with professionally will not feel cared for or have a good experience. If a hospital receptionist, for example, does not smile when greeting a patient or does not look up from their smartphone when they arrive, it does not set the right tone moving forward.
Many administrative staff in healthcare will communicate with patients via email or telephone. This is another area where the choices they make in terms of how they behave and speak to patients can have a direct impact on their care. For example, if a member of a hospital’s administrative staff sends out an email to a patient that is rude, unprofessional or contains incorrect information, it is easy to imagine how this could affect them.
Choosing to perform effectively is essential
Although much of the power around patient care is found at higher levels, less senior administrative roles still play their part. If someone in a more junior position does not put the effort in to complete their work each day, key updates to systems could be missed. This might mean that nurses or doctors do not have the latest details when providing care.
Administrative staff who choose not to turn up for work regularly could also impact patient care. This is because everyone else has to cover for them and might not be as cheerful with patients as usual. Of course, the reverse is also true; administrative staff at all levels who perform consistently well and are conscientious in their duties can help patients get the best care possible.
Administrative choices play a key role in patient care
Although you might think that frontline staff have the biggest impact on patient care, administrative roles can be equally influential. It is important to remember to look at the big picture when it comes to the care patients receive rather than simply focusing on the frontline treatment itself.