Labor shortages are a massive concern in the healthcare industry. Top employers are clamoring for skilled medical professionals. This is an excellent opportunity for those with big ambitions for clinical or administrative careers, but there’s an important caveat: employers won’t settle for just any candidate. They want to feel confident that prospective employees are competent — and able to continue improving their skills as they adapt to a notoriously fast-paced industry.
What Is Healthcare Management?
Many positions call for skilled employees, but healthcare management is among the most promising. This niche encompasses the oversight of entire healthcare organizations or systems, such as hospitals or clinics. This means handling everything from staffing to facility maintenance and budgetary concerns. Some healthcare managers provide facility-wide management, while others focus on specific departments that span many locations within a large healthcare system.
Healthcare Skills Sought by Top Employers
The healthcare field calls for various complex skills, not to mention a foundational knowledge of accounting, medical ethics, and customer service. This core understanding is best developed while enrolled in a bachelor’s program, such as the Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Care Management which is a great educational starting point for a career in healthcare.
The right bachelor’s program will focus not only on technical capabilities but also on the important skills that today’s employers demand. These include:
1—Strong Communication Skills
Whether verbally or in a written format, healthcare employees must be capable of communicating their thoughts and plans. This is crucial for working effectively as a team of professionals and maintaining strong relationships with patients. While the value of communication is evident among clinical workers, this is just as important for non-clinical professionals. Through effective communication, healthcare managers can cultivate a strong work culture while getting the point across about more urgent matters. Clear and concise language will also be more effective for communicating key policies and practices. On a large scale, effective communication boosts trust and camaraderie while minimizing conflict.
Healthcare management is a data-driven field. To truly understand the needs of the organizations they serve, healthcare managers must view and, often, analyze large volumes of data — and report their findings to various stakeholders. This calls for strong analytical skills and a commitment to accuracy. While they are not always directly involved in obtaining such information, data literacy ensures that they correctly interpret critical findings and make decisions accordingly.
Attention to detail is a prized quality in the healthcare sector, where seemingly small concerns can make a world of difference. This skill is closely aligned with the analytical capabilities outlined above, but it goes beyond to include an emphasis on detail in all daily tasks. For example, a detail-oriented approach can improve communication, and even patient outcomes as detail-driven managers recognize that every word and detail matters.
Critical thinking is a frequently used phrase in many/all industries. In general, however (and especially in healthcare), it involves using a logical process to gather and analyze data. These results must then be interpreted based on the professionals’ core skills and knowledge before making a logic-driven decision. Critical thinking is inherently complicated but crucial in the complex healthcare industry.
5—Active Listening Skills
While listening plays into the communication concerns highlighted above, its benefits extend beyond connecting through conversations. Active listeners are more likely to remember the details they glean through everyday discourse. This approach to listening is more likely to engender trust and, ultimately, loyalty. The goal should be to understand what others are conveying before striving to be understood.
6—Strong People Skills
Communication is only one piece of the equation when working with a wide variety of people. Empathy matters, as do nonverbal cues such as posture, facial expressions, or eye contact. Effective healthcare managers understand that how they convey information is just as important as what they say. They emphasize building rapport and genuine relationships, which, in turn, improves employee morale and workplace culture.
Every manager must deal with many moving parts, which is especially true in healthcare management. Healthcare managers may juggle everything from audit preparation to budget proposals depending on the facilities or systems they serve. Coordinating all this takes elite organizational skills and the willingness to delegate key tasks to capable professionals.
8—Good Judgment and Decision-Making Skills
We’ve discussed the concept of critical thinking in detail, but one aspect of this quality is uniquely important in healthcare management: decision-making. Decision making is so important in healthcare because it could be the difference between positive and negative patient outcomes. Professionals can gather and interpret data at length, but they ultimately need to do something with all that information. This is where decision-making comes into play.
Today’s healthcare professionals work closely with diverse teams of employees who will ideally hold clearly defined roles and responsibilities. They must be able to not only cooperate and collaborate with the diverse members of these teams but also direct and delegate the activities of the teams they oversee. This skill calls for recognizing to the strengths of each team member while also contributing knowledge or abilities that other members might not possess.
In the fast-paced healthcare field, it never feels as if there’s enough time available to handle everyday tasks, much less the big-picture aspects of healthcare management. With the right strategies, however, healthcare managers can keep their schedules in check, along with those of the facilities or clinics they serve.
Healthcare managers are leaders. Other professionals look to these managers for direction and motivation. To provide this, healthcare managers must develop a variety of leadership skills. Some of these are already mentioned in this guide: critical thinking, coordination, and decision-making are always essential qualities in leaders, no matter the industry. Beyond this, the most influential leaders show empathy and possess exceptional emotional intelligence.
How These Skills Play Into the Modern Healthcare Field
Today’s healthcare managers draw on a wealth of targeted knowledge and skills to ensure that facilities and systems provide exceptional patient care while remaining fully compliant and financially solvent. Healthcare managers who can demonstrate the mastery of a variety of skills.
Learn More Today
Do you have big plans for pursuing a career in the healthcare sector? SHU Global offers a variety of programs that prepare you for success in a fast-paced industry. The Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Health Care Management is an especially compelling option if you hope to work in healthcare management one day. This online and blended program delves into many aspects of health management. Reach out today to learn more.