Using effective interpersonal communication, health care administrators reduce work-related stress, promote wellness, and improve quality of life for patients and employees. Because the field of medicine deals with circumstances that can determine life or death, it’s important that administrators learn and train employees in effective health care skills. By applying experience and the practical strategies of these six skills, health care administrators can engage others in an emotionally healthy and productive manner that creates a positive influence in the caregiving setting and promotes positive patient outcomes as well as job satisfaction for employees.
6 Health Care Skills for Administrators
Health care administrators and other medical professionals face increased government scrutiny, and as the role of administrators expands, they must take on more responsibility. As the medical field grows more complex, care provider organizations will need talented administrators to oversee operational duties so that physicians and other specialists can focus on healing patients. The following six health care skills are essential for professionals working in health administration:
The Ability to Solve Problems
When faced with problems, it is natural for individuals to respond defensively. However, these responses often result in short-term fixes and ignore the real cause of the problem. Effective health care administrators learn collaboration skills to use when faced with challenges. For these leaders, the fact that a long-term solution may take time to develop is a normal part of resolving difficulties.
Administrators who are skilled at problem solving take the time to understand their internal strengths as well as the positive characteristics of their peers. Using this information, health care administrators can group employees into teams that make the most of their problem-solving abilities.
Other health care professionals, such as hospital media relations specialists, also should demonstrate problem solving in the workplace, among other health care skills. As leaders working with hospital staff and patients, hospital media relations specialists solve issues that arise between their hospital and the public.
Health care administrators promote teamwork and make the most of available resources. They view health care employees as more than workers and take the time to understand individuals in depth. To learn about employees, health care administrators schedule time to speak with each employee directly, privately, and individually. At times, this can take some effort in a society where many prefer the quick convenience of electronic communication. Additionally, exceptional administrators lead others, but always remember that they are part of a team that must work together in a respectful, productive manner.
Nursing professionals in executive roles, such as chief nursing officers, understand the vital importance of sincere empathy. These professionals exhibit a strong foundation in health care skills, particularly those that allow them to provide excellent patient care through genuine concern and empathy.
It’s important for health care administrators to have a positive self-image that sets the stage for them to earn the respect of others. For example, a health care administrator who frequently uses self-deprecating comments to ease tension for a short time can lose the respect of employees in the long term. Instead, it is better for executives to listen closely to employee grievances and respond with useful, professional answers. It is also important for health care administrators to accept courteous, constructive criticism with an open mind and attempt to look inward to evaluate whether there is an area where improvement is possible and not perceive such occurrences as personal attacks.
Positive self-image can be important for assisted living facility administrators, for example. These professionals work mostly with elderly patients who fully rely on the facility’s administration for their health and well-being. If these professionals are distracted by personal issues, it may inhibit them from addressing the concerns of patients in need.
The Ability to Establish Boundaries
Health care administrators must know when to grant or deny requests. A single person can only accomplish so many tasks. Because of this, health care administrators must set boundaries. In this regard, it is important for administrators to distinguish between being a team player and allowing employees to take advantage of their generosity. It is equally important that administrators refuse to accept responsibility for duties and tasks that they are not qualified to complete. This applies especially for duties and tasks that are outside the scope of one’s clinical expertise or legal privilege.
Establishing boundaries is an important health care skill for professionals in all medical roles. While boundaries may range from job to job, it is important for health care actuaries, nurses, marketing managers, and pharmaceutical quality directors alike to work within their legal and medical boundaries as they perform their daily responsibilities.
Health care administrators must face challenges with civility. Positive, effective leadership can only take place in such an atmosphere. Starting a negotiation process with civility is not a sign of weakness, but a time-tested principle that ethical health care administrators apply to work and life. This makes it easier for administrators to steer disputing parties toward a mutual agreement while helping those parties avoid the natural tendency to assign blame.
Civility is an essential health care skill, particularly at the level of C-suite medical management. A health care professional who earns an advanced degree in the field and becomes a chief executive officer or chief operations officer should be able to demonstrate civility in all their actions to set the tone for the entire organization.
It is important for health care administrators to perform conflict assessments so they can work toward effective solutions with confidence. Therefore, before health care administrators start a negotiation, they must take time to consider what their relationship with the employees in conflict means. It’s also important for administrators to consider what will happen if the problem is not addressed and how possible outcomes could affect their working relationship with employees. Health care administrators should also consider the probability of reaching a positive conflict outcome and the cost of reaching that conclusion.
The final health care skill that health administrators, such as health information managers and health informatics specialists, should exhibit is conviction. Without firm confidence in their decision-making and problem-solving abilities, medical leaders cannot fully exercise their authority in the workplace.
Pursue a Master of Health Administration
Professionals interested in developing health care skills may consider earning an advanced degree to help them pursue their goals in health care administration. As a dedicated leader of health administration education, Regis College welcomes ambition-driven, self-motivated professionals from all health care settings. Gain special insight into areas such as management, communications, health informatics, and health policy through Regis College’s online Master of Health Administration.