The health care industry is under more stress than ever due to a massive increase in the U.S. patient population. This strain is further amplified by labor shortages—especially in the nursing field—and constant changes being made to health care costs and reimbursement models. Through pursuit of a Health Administration Master’s degree, health care professionals can learn how to apply business management skills to complex health care systems. By honing this area of expertise online, students can advance their ability to qualify for administrative health care occupations without compromising their current work-life balance.
What Master’s of Health Administration Students Learn Online
The content of an online health administration master’s program is designed to teach individuals how health care institutions effectively deliver health services while maintaining profitability. The curriculum focuses on health management and policy, but more precisely, students are instructed on how to coordinate resource management within their organization to improve business and patient outcomes. This includes gaining proficiency in the following administrative competencies:
Business Leadership Skills
● Critical Thinking – Determining the best course of action for a health care oriented organization requires quick thinking and the ability to make informed decisions based on current knowledge. Through their coursework, health care administrators can build their analytical skills, allowing them to closely evaluate data and achieve business objectives.
● Relationship Building – Health care organizations often employ a large number of health care personnel, each with their own individual expertise and personal characteristics. MHA programs help health administrators understand how to effectively promote cooperation between these multidisciplinary professionals, inspiring a level of teamwork that will allow their institution to operate smoothly.
● Ethical Decision Making- Although decisions must be made quickly to ensure that patients receive treatment in a reasonable amount of time, an administrator must still uphold their ethical standards when directing their staff. Through their education, these individuals gain the necessary exposure to the ethical values that are most prominent in the health care field.
● Project Management – Research projects and community-wide preventative health campaigns are usually large ventures that require thorough planning and management to complete successfully. Through study of the key tenets of project management—risk recognition, goal setting, strategic planning, finance management, and interpersonal communication—health administrators prepare themselves to administer complex health projects with minimal disturbances. 
Health Care Skills
● Analyzing treatment and research costs – Understanding how much it will cost to provide specific treatments helps administrators develop a realistic perspective of the viability of clinical interventions and trials. Analyzing the cost effectiveness of these operations before implementing them allows skilled administrators to guide their institution’s leadership toward the best option.
● Health Insurance Processing – National health policies, like the Affordable Care Act, frequently alter the financial processes involved with consuming and providing health care services. A health administration student learns the basics of navigating this process and by staying up to date on current industry trends they can ensure that both staff and patients understand how each reimbursement system works.
● Delivering Medical Services – Because patient safety is constantly on the line, health care is a business unlike any other. With providing quality care at the forefront of their objectives, prospective health administrators must be taught how to safely administer medical services.
● Inspecting Medical Facilities – The integrity of a health care institution’s medical equipment and the quality of their staff determines how well they will be able to deliver their services. Therefore, administrators must be trained to inspect the health care system that they are responsible for, in order to identify and correct flaws within the facility. 
Health Administration Master’s Graduates Are in High Demand
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of available jobs for health care administrators is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2016 and 2026. By comparison, the demand for physicians and registered nurses is lower at 15 percent, while nurse practitioner jobs are expected to increase by 31 percent. As these numbers are all much higher than the average occupational growth rates, it is clear that in the future health care administrators will play a far greater role in medical organizations than before.
The U.S. Needs Educated Administrators in Nursing Practice
According to the American Nurses Association, the nursing shortage is becoming increasingly severe as trained nursing professionals hit the retirement age. With the most experienced nurses leaving the field, a new generation of educated nurses are needed to occupy their roles. To take their next step toward career advancement into a leadership role, registered nurses should consider pursuing a Master of Health Administration. Through an online health administration master’s degree program, experienced registered nurses can learn how to effectively organize teams of medical professionals. In doing so, they position themselves to positively impact the nursing profession by teaching, training, and managing the next wave of nurses.
The pressure being placed on health care providers to provide quality care at extremely high volumes is at unprecedented levels. For career-oriented health care professionals, this presents a unique opportunity to work in a challenging industry that can lead to a rewarding career in medicine. By pursuing a Master’s in Health Administration, health professionals can bolster their knowledge of business management and health care leadership, allowing them to prevent medical errors, improving patient outcomes.
At Regis, we give you more pathways to pursue your goals in healthcare administration. As a dedicated leader of health administration education, we welcome ambition-driven, self-motivated professionals like you from all health care settings. Gain special insight into areas like management, communications, health informatics, and health policy through our Online Master of Health Administration.