Health Administration Career Guide

The field of healthcare administration is ideal for individuals who are interested in obtaining leadership positions within hospitals, clinics, and other large healthcare facilities. With a career in this field, you will have the opportunity to influence important decisions in healthcare while simultaneously enjoying the intrinsic benefits that come with helping people who are sick or injured.

Hospital Administration Job Basics

As a general overview, there is some fundamental information that is beneficial to learn about a position in hospital administration.

Hospital Administrator Job Description

·        Hospital administrators are responsible for coordinating health and medical services within a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or large clinic. Typical responsibilities for hospital administrators include: Developing research programs Overseeing  the assessment of record keeping related to the facility’s services

·        Representing the facility at board meetings

·        Securing funding and managing the facility’s finances

·        Ensuring that all employees remain up-to-date on regulations and relevant laws

·        Verifying that continuing education of staff meets standards and regulations

Education Requirements

To become a medical administrator, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree; however, to have the greatest possible chance of obtaining employment, it’s best to work toward a Master of Health Administration, Public Administration, or Business Administration. These types of graduate programs provide students with advanced skills in staff leadership, budget development, and business strategy that employers look for when hiring top executives. Completing a two-year master’s program can be the decision that puts challenging and rewarding health administration jobs within reach.

Work Environment

Hospital administrators typically work full-time schedules. Because many of the facilities that employ these medical administrators are open 24 hours a day, hospital administrators are often required to work weekends and overnight. Professionals in this field spend part of the day on their feet, as well as sitting at a desk. During the average day, a hospital administrator will complete paperwork, converse with peers and subordinates, and spend time engaged in planning or decision-making activities.

Salary

PayScale reports that as of July 2015, the typical healthcare administrator salary was approximately $97,000; however, the expected healthcare administration salary may vary based on several factors, including location, experience and the nature of the position. For example, the lowest earners in this field made  approximately $48,000, while the highest earners made more than $177,000 during the same year.

Job Outlook

The BLS reports that the outlook for professionals entering the field of hospital administration is positive. In fact, professionals can expect to see a 23% increase in job openings in this field from 2012 to 2022. This rate is much higher than the national average for all occupations, which is only 11%.

Licensure and Certification

Licensure is rarely required for hospital administrators; it is typically restricted to long-term care providers and to those working in assisted living settings. While the process varies by state, licensure procurement involves:

·        Proof of degree (at minimum, a bachelors is required)

·        Training program completion

·        Completion of a licensure examination

Meanwhile, certification and professional memberships are optional for hospital administrators, but it may enhance your resume and make it easier to find a job. Certifications are required by some hiring entities to ensure that an employee meets a certain level of professional expectation. Certifications must be renewed often, typically on an annual basis.

If you would like to improve your credentials, you can apply for membership with the American College of Healthcare Executives. This organization also offers board certification for ACHE members who meet certain requirements. Requirements for certification include a minimum amount of field experience, a master’s degree, and a passing score on the Board of Governors Examination in Healthcare Management.

Finding a Job in Hospital Administration

After completing graduate school and obtaining your masters degree, it’s time to look for a job. Fortunately, because openings in this field are increasing more rapidly than in most other fields, hospital administrators are in high demand. Below are some resources you can use to find the best possible job in hospital administration:

Professor Connections

Within your masters program, you will find that faculty members are active, experienced, industry professionals. Not only is their real-world experience evident in their pedagogy, their experience is reflected in their ability to provide you with professional recommendations. They can both guide your entry into the workforce as well as facilitate it.

Mentoring Services

While similar to working with professors, mentoring is more one-on-one and typically involves a special professor / pupil relationship in which the professor takes a hands-on-approach in directing the student’s path. If you have a mentor (this might be a favorite professor or even someone within the university’s administrative structure), then you should feel comfortable asking this person for guidance on the types of positions best suited for your abilities, where to find them, resume review, letters of recommendation, etc. as needed.

Professional Associations

There are several prominent healthcare administration organizations. A few of the most notable include:

·        Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP)

·        American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)

·        Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA)

It is advised that you start affiliating with an organization while you are in school. Not only are professional organizations valid resources for recent research and professional connections within your area of expertise, they are also sources where job opportunities are regularly posted and updated.

Peer Networking

During your studies, you will likely form relationships with fellow students, some of whom will graduate and who will find employment before you. Peers can give you an idea of what the job market looks like, as well as make recommendations. Further, while you may not live in the same community as a colleague who might favorably recommend you for a position, you can consult your peers regarding their experience entering the workforce. They can advise you on the application and interview process and be a reference source for your application packet if need be.

Local Media

Local newspapers and news websites, including hospital or healthcare organizations’ websites, are additional resources that can assist you in finding available job opportunities in your area.

Job Search Engines

Search engines are useful for helping you find what’s out there. Sites like CareerBuilder.com, Simplyhired.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com, and LinkedIn are useful for casting your net when trying to find employment given that many respectable employers list job opportunities on sites such as these.

American College of Healthcare Executives

The ACHE maintains an online database of job openings in the field of healthcare administration. You can also post your resume on this website to attract potential employers. Both of these services are available at no cost to ACHE members.

Hospital Administration is a meaningful, fulfilling role in the healthcare spectrum. Given that patient populations are expected to rise over the next several years, there is a greater need than ever for qualified, compassionate hospital administrators to run these critical care organizations.

Students pursuing careers in hospital administration have many resources at their disposal for both procuring work but also for advancing professionally. So, if you have the inclination toward healthcare and are looking to advance in terms of position and expertise, then an advanced degree focused on hospital administration is for you.

Click here to learn more about the Health Administration program at The University of Scranton.

Alumni Spotlight – Finding Career Success with a Health Informatics Degree

Patrick Wende, M.S., explains how the Master’s in Health Informatics supports his career path

We talked to Patrick about his experience in the Health Informatics program, his new position, and the future of the health informatics field.

Tell us about yourself and how you decided to pursue a Master of Science in Health Informatics at The University of Scranton.

My name is Patrick Wende and am originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania. I attended The University of Scranton as an undergraduate, studying exercise science and sports. While I found that field fascinating, it wasn’t the career field I was looking for.

By chance, I landed in a role at a local hospital teaching professionals how to use electronic health record software, and found that the health informatics field was the field for me. After being in health informatics for some time, I decided to pursue a graduate degree and chose to return to The University of Scranton. My choice was largely due to the history I had with the school, and my knowledge of the quality of education I would get—notwithstanding it being a brand new degree program.

How did the program fit into your job?

Throughout the program I worked at Geisinger, a local health system, managing their trauma registry. Though very data- and writing-intensive, this position allowed me to interact with clinical and administrative professionals to understand where health technology fit into their workflow and the changing landscape of health care.

One course, healthcare policy management, impacted my work immediately. While it was taught mostly using the government as an example, the principles were very easily translatable to the private organizational healthcare structure as well. The course explored how the policy process functions when considering the need for political momentum and effective change management. Combined with my experience in interacting with administrators, this knowledge completely changed my perception of the field.

Working with these administrators helped me better understand why processes and policies I’ve experienced in the past have or have not worked. The overall impact of the ways process and policy are enacted, changed and managed was a major eye-opener for me, and I’ll be using that information forever.

How did you balance your data- and writing-intensive job with your coursework?

It was a challenge, no doubt. I was fortunate to have a supervisor at my job that was very understanding of the challenges that I would be undergoing as a student and a full-time professional, and she was flexible with me.

I know that’s something not every student will have. It certainly is a challenge to maintain 40-plus hours of work per week and the student workload, but you just have to develop a new routine. You prioritize your time in such a way that you can complete your work and school work while still having time for yourself.

Scranton’s course structure made it much easier to build this routine. The workload is laid out by week, so you aren’t overburdened with a mass amount of work to do all at once.

What project did you do for your capstone course?

My capstone project took me to a wide variety of facilities in the Geisinger system to compare and analyze how the same process worked at four different hospitals. My job was to document the differences between them, their strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities for process standardization across the hospitals.

I had to learn to work with each stakeholder group impacted by the process; otherwise, I’d have only bits and pieces of the information vital to understanding the process as a whole.

There were so many moving parts, regardless of location, that it required me to confirm information at various levels. That aspect was astonishing in and of itself—realizing just how many layers of personnel you need to explore to effectively document a process.

How does technology fit into health informatics?

The field is growing more technical. Informaticists—a common health informatics title—work as the intermediary between clinical and technical personnel. When I was looking for new professional opportunities, many informaticist positions required a solid technical base and were seeking candidates who weren’t afraid of learning new technologies.

Essentially, if you’re interested in pursuing this field, you need to be willing to embrace the idea of new and developing technology.

In my current role, I will be able to use many of the skills the program teaches that are geared toward informaticists—again, that link between the clinical and technical. But, if you were to draw a spectrum with technical on one end and clinical on the other, you wouldn’t be able to place the informaticist right in the middle. They would be more toward the technical end of the spectrum. At least that’s what I’ve experienced in my role, and I think that goes for the majority of informaticist positions as well.

Do you need a technical background for Scranton’s program?

You don’t need to be very technical to get through the program, but as the field skews more toward the technical side, the curriculum is sure to follow. Scranton’s program introduces technical topics in early courses and gives students a base from which to gain job-specific skills.

I get a lot of built-in education at my current job, especially as I’m learning the specific software that we use. The degree prepares you to enter the workforce, you just have to know that part of being an informaticist is learning how technology fits into your specific position.

Finally, do you have any advice for prospective students?

The health care field is very interesting and has a wide range of opportunities, offers, and room for a diverse workforce. Students should take any opportunities to speak to or shadow people in the field to make sure that it’s the field they want to be in because it’s so unique.

 

The University of Scranton’s Master of Science in Health Informatics program is at the cutting edge of this emerging field.

Use Your Career to Reduce Stress for Others

How Does Therapeutic Behavior Management Relate to Business?

Not only are these tips useful to Human Resources professionals, but they can help us all deal to stress in our work lives.

More than 80% of workers in the United States admit to having job-related stress. This continued stress frequently leads to burnout, which can affect an employee’s ability to remain productive in the workplace. Therapeutic behavior management can be beneficial to any employee experiencing job-related stress.

Job Stress vs. Professional Challenges

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the perception of job stress is frequently confused with professional challenges. These two concepts are not one and the same.

Job stress leads to unhealthy physical and emotional reactions, whereas professional challenges can energize an individual both mentally and physically.

Challenges motivate professionals to master new skills that will improve their job performance. Successfully completing a challenge at work frequently leads to the same feeling of satisfaction an individual experienced following accomplishments during their college career.

A survey conducted by Northwestern National Life finds that 40% of the workers surveyed feel their jobs are very stressful. Additionally, one-fourth of employees consider their jobs to be the number one stressor in their lives.

The Effect of Job Stress on an Individual’s Health

When an individual becomes stressed, the brain begins to prepare the body to take defensive action. This defensive action is frequently referred to as the fight or flight response.

During this response:

  • The nervous system arouses and releases hormones to enhance the senses
  • Respiration deepens
  • The pulse quickens
  • Muscles become tense

Although occasional or brief episodes of stress are of little concern, stressful situations that keep the body in a continuous state of activation must be addressed.

A continued state of fight or flight activation increases the amount of wear and tear on the biological systems throughout the body. Eventually, the ability for the body to defend and repair itself becomes compromised. This increases the risk of the individual becoming ill or injured.

Reduce Stress by Changing Your Thoughts About Work

Dr. Frank Ghinassi, who has served on the board of the Academic Behavioral Health Consortium, states that in order to make it through the workday with less stress, we need to alter the way we think about work. Changing our perspective may significantly reduce the apprehension and nervousness we experience in the workplace.

Ghinassi states that it is not necessarily the facts that compel our emotions, but what we think about a particular event. Our cognitive interpretations are responsible for driving how we feel.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Job-Related Stress

The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes CBT as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders and depression.

CBT therapy is unique in that it focuses on the beliefs and thoughts a patient has, rather than a patient’s actions. Because job-related stress is frequently caused by perception, some of the strategies utilized in CBT therapy may help individuals who are dealing with job-related stress.

4 CBT-Inspired Strategies to Reduce Job-Related Stress

1. Prioritize

Stress levels begin to rise as our responsibilities increase throughout the workday. Make a list of the things you need to accomplish. Rate these tasks according to importance. Chances are that several tasks are crucial, while others are not very important. Now you can focus your attention on the crucial tasks; completing the unimportant tasks only after the crucial tasks have been addressed.

By taking the time to prioritize, you can clearly see the tasks that require immediate attention and which tasks can be addressed at your leisure; thus reducing your stress levels.

2. Create an Oasis

Whenever your attention wanders and you begin thinking stressful thoughts, Ghinassi recommends taking a break. Find a quiet place where you can perform calming non-physical exercises. These exercises may include positive imagery, deep breathing, and listening to soothing music.

3. Use Probability to Eliminate Negative Thoughts

Catastrophizing is a type of thought pattern that focuses on every possible mistake or slip up that can lead to a downfall. Besides causing stress, this kind of black-and-white thinking may cause you to have a sense of impending doom. Instead, Ghinassi suggests controlling these thoughts by weighing the likelihood – or probability – of something happening. Once you bring this technique into your regular patterns of thought, it can be a calming influence in eliminating worry about things that aren’t likely to manifest into actual problems.

4. The Cognitive Flip

If you feel as if you have lost control of a situation, you can try to curb stress levels by thinking about the things you can control. That doesn’t mean the things you can’t control won’t happen but by focusing on what you have the power to control, you are reminded that you can shape your own outcomes.

Having these behavior management tools at your disposal and knowing how to use them will help you manage stress, often before it becomes debilitating. If you are a manager, fostering some of these patterns in a general way can help your staff.

By addressing staff mental health issues, performance levels increase and a company or organization becomes a better place to work. A qualified leader in a company’s human resources department will encourage the use of these techniques by everyone in the company, when needed. They can be used to significantly improve the atmosphere and health of the work force.

Knowing methods like this to improve morale and productivity is just one small – but very effective – part of an advanced human resources education, such as a Master of Science in Human Resources Management. If you want to step up and do more for your company, look into the online master’s in human resources management offered by The University of Scranton.

DBA Program Research Award Presented 

At The University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management Annual Accounting Dinner on May 3, 2018, Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) student Marcus Burke received the first ever Dr. Douglas M. Boyle DBA Outstanding Research Award recognizing his exceptional research efforts with University of Scranton Accounting faculty. Burke, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from Old Dominion University and Master’s degree in Management from Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMUC), began pursuing his DBA at The University of Scranton in August 2017 as a member of the program’s flagship cohort. Prior to returning for his terminal degree, Burke gained professional experience at CMA CGM (America) LLC as a Database Administrator and Web Application Developer before being promoted to a Business Architect, TAMUC as a Senior Web Developer, and TAMUC and Marist College as an adjunct faculty member teaching in the areas of Accounting Information Systems, Systems Analysis and Design, Data Information and Management, and Enterprise Resource Planning.

During his first year in the DBA program, Burke completed and submitted a research article with Drs. Douglas M. Boyle and Daniel P. Mahoney to Management Accounting Quarterly entitled “Goodwill Accounting: The Matter of Serial Non-Impairment.” This research uses thirteen years of archival data covering 1,646 firms from Compustat and Thompson ONE to examine the number of firm acquisitions and their respective goodwill impairment rates to determine the existence of notable trends related to the non-impairment of goodwill among firms with high business combination rates. 

Burke has also co-authored a case with Drs. Megan Burke and Sandra Gates entitled “To Amend or Not to Amend: A Tax Consulting Case” which appears in the Journal of Accounting Education (2017). Currently, he is working with Dr. Megan Burke on research related to managerial ability and its relation to a firm’s tax posture, and with Drs. Sandra Gates and Megan Burke on an article for the Accounting History Review on Benjamin Montgomery and the role of slavery on the development of American accounting. 

When asked about his experience with being part of The University of Scranton’s DBA Program, Burke stated, “During my time in the DBA program, I have interacted with the professors in a variety of settings, both inside and outside the classroom. Within that time, and during those interactions, I have been consistently and thoroughly impressed with their enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment to academic excellence. The life-lessons and knowledge conveyed within the classroom are uniquely targeted to help guide and propel students toward future success. As program director, Dr. Douglas M. Boyle makes a noticeable and concerted effort to bring in individuals from both the academy and the professional world to establish a high level of knowledge transference and create relationship building between his students and the global community.” 

Burke, originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, currently lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, with his wife, Megan, an accounting professor a Marist College, and his two children, Justin and Evelyn. He continues to enjoy playing music and playing taxi driver for his children’s extracurricular activities. 

“As program director, Dr. Douglas M. Boyle makes a noticeable and concerted effort to bring in individuals from both the academy and the professional world to establish a high level of knowledge transference and create relationship building between his students and the global community.”

To learn more about the DBA program at The University of Scranton, click here.

New Research and Technologies for DPT Students!

Professor Peter Leininger, Ph.D., of the Physical Therapy Department at The University of Scranton, said there are amazing new technologies in exercise science that are revolutionizing the field, shortening the time from surgery to full recovery.

Among the most exciting is blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy. Essentially, a tourniquet is wrapped around the upper or lower extremity, with controlled and monitored blood flow restriction to the muscles and joints of the knee, hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow or wrist, which greatly hastens the rehabilitation process.

Dr. Leininger, the only physical therapist in the Scranton area currently certified in BFR, explained that the method started in the military, then spread to professional sports and is now being used by major universities, clinics and hospitals to treat their injured athletes.

In January, Dr. Leininger and his students will present their BFR research (a systematic review) at the annual American Physical Therapy Association’s national conference in Washington, D.C.  They are also completing a second systematic review studying the effect of BFR training with the older adult population.

Several research studies are planned at the University utilizing the BFR Delphi unit (currently the only FDA approved blood flow restriction device). The BFR device is being used on campus with several patients following ACL reconstruction to their knees.

“What is clear is that light-load exercise with a tourniquet that is used properly is safe and effective,” said Dr. Leininger, whose department owns the aforementioned Delfi device.  “It’s a very good way to do light-weight resistance exercise where you don’t damage what was repaired, and recovery is demonstrably faster, decreasing the time necessary to develop increased muscle mass and strength of the injured or surgically repaired region of the body.”

He says this latest therapy modality is being used more widely following knee surgery, including anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, as well as rotator cuff, hip and ankle surgical procedures.

University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) graduate students who will be presenting their research at the upcoming conference in January are Matthew Aitken ’17, Edison, New Jersey; Omar Amer, Scotch Plains, New Jersey; Berta Carmo, Parsippany, New Jersey; Sophia DiCamillo ’17, Abington; Christine Kiefer ’17, Wantagh, New York; Dannylyn Manabat, Long Beach, California; and Jonathan Mayes, Dublin (PA).

Physical Therapy Professor Peter Leininger, Ph.D., demonstrates BFR therapy using the BFR Delphi unit and light-load exercise with a tourniquet with the help of DPT student Stephanie Klug, Mooresville, North Carolina. BFR therapy has been shown to greatly hasten the rehabilitation process. Dr. Leininger is currently the only physical therapist in the Scranton area certified in BFR.

Peter Leininger, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy, demonstrates blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy using the BFR Delphi unit and light-load exercise with a tourniquet, which has been shown to greatly hasten the rehabilitation process. Dr. Leininger and his students will present their BFR research (a systematic review) at the annual American Physical Therapy Association’s national conference in Washington, D.C. in January. From left: Dr. Leininger and DPT graduate students Matthew Aitken ’17, Edison, New Jersey; Omar Amer, Scotch Plains, New Jersey; Stephanie Klug, Mooresville, North Carolina (demonstrating the therapy); Berta Carmo, Parsippany, New Jersey; Jonathan Mayes, Dublin (PA); Dannylyn Manabat, Long Beach, California; Christine Kiefer ’17, Wantagh, New York; and Sophia DiCamillo ’17, Abington.

Learn more about the DPT program here.