Classroom to Career: The Benefits of Earning a Degree in Healthcare Administration
Published on: June 21, 2023
If you had to list some of the most important issues facing society in the modern era, healthcare would undoubtedly be right at the top.
Roughly 56% of US adults in a recent study indicated that they didn’t believe healthcare was being handled very well in this country as of 2022. A further 48% had the same opinion about the level of community support and resources that were available for older adults. It’s an issue that had been brewing for several years, only to be exacerbated given everything happening with the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a big part of the reason why healthcare administration is so critical. They’re correctly seen as the heart of the healthcare industry in general – the hardworking men and women that keep the systems functioning daily. If you’re thinking about transitioning from the classroom to making a career in healthcare administration your goal, there are a number of crucial things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Why Is Healthcare Administration Important?
It wouldn’t be over-dramatic to say the healthcare industry itself wouldn’t exist (at least not in the form that we’re used to) were it not for passionate healthcare administration professionals at the heart of it all.
They’re the ones who ensure that not only medical professionals but also insurance providers and even patients have access to the invaluable information they need to guarantee the best possible care.
Without healthcare administration staff, potentially life-saving treatments would be delayed on a regular basis. Payments would get lost in a labyrinthine system, and the overall quality of care that patients receive would suffer.
Benefits of a Master of Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administration benefits all types of people and getting a graduate degree in this field benefits you on a personal level as well. These benefits include, but are certainly not limited to, examples like the following.
Developing Leadership Skills
Healthcare administrators are integral to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership skills. Even the most natural-born leaders among us can benefit from the kinds of leadership training programs healthcare administration departments provide. Everyone from doctors and nurses to technologists and support staff can improve their communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, and healthcare administrators facilitate the very programs that make it happen. They are also vital to encouraging mentorship programs that allow experienced leaders to guide and shape incoming members of the healthcare team, as well as team-building activities that hone employees’ collaboration and teamwork abilities.
Relationship Development and Management
A successful healthcare outcome for a patient doesn’t happen in a vacuum. More often than not, it’s the product of people coming together and working stronger as a team than they could individually. That takes deeply rooted, long-lasting relationships. Healthcare administrators are a big part of what allows those relationships to develop, oftentimes through the same kinds of initiatives aimed at encouraging leadership abilities.
Strong Communication Skills
Healthcare is all about collaboration and that requires a strong bedrock of communication. As a healthcare administrator, you will help develop communication skills among care providers, third-party providers, patients, insurance companies, and more on a daily basis.
In a healthcare environment, there will always be some form of conflict going on around you. Insurance companies will deny claims that will need to be appealed. Healthcare professionals will disagree with organizational changes. Patients will disagree with their care providers. Resolving these conflicts reasonably without escalation becomes a critical part of the role of any healthcare administrator, not to mention your day-to-day life.
Ability to Train and Be a Mentor
Another major advantage of becoming a healthcare administration professional is the opportunity it affords you to train and mentor others. Over time, you will have a chances to share your knowledge and experience with others in a way that makes a long-lasting impact. You can inspire people to unlock their full potential and encourage them when they need it. It’s just another example of how any career in healthcare is ultimately all about helping as many people as possible, albeit in this instance, from an administrative capacity.
Capability to Make and Stick to Decisions
Making a decision in the face of uncertainty is never easy, but that is especially true in a high-stakes environment like healthcare. That is true even for non-patient-facing positions like healthcare administration. Thankfully, your training for the role will prepare you to deal with the pressure and make calculated, informed decisions. In times when there is no “right answer,” you’ll need the confidence to make a choice anyway and stick with it. Good healthcare administrators learn to do just that on a regular basis.
Soft Skills and Important Traits
Equally important are the soft skills that students can hone and develop while earning their degree in healthcare administration. Soft skills are those important traits that allow someone to interact well with others. Given the heavily collaborative nature of healthcare administration, it’s easy to see why this is so pivotal to one’s success.
Delegation of Tasks
In any administrative job, so much of your success (and, by association, the organization’s) comes down to your ability to delegate the right task to the right person at the right time. It’s a major component of being a successful team leader and of project management in general. Hospital administrators help do this daily, all to improve patient care and outcomes.
Emotional intelligence is crucial in healthcare because you’re talking about an inherently emotional environment. Becoming a healthcare administrator will allow you to not only perceive and consider the emotions of others but also to reason with them and help manage them.
Strategy and Operational Awareness
Operational awareness (also sometimes referred to as strategy or situational awareness) involves your ability to recognize an action or event for what it is, as well as how it fits into the bigger picture. Everyone has their role to play to contribute to the success of a healthcare organization, and knowing how the pieces all fit together helps ensure everyone is on the same page.
Empathy and Self-Awareness
The more self-aware you are regarding your emotions, the more empathy you’ll be able to show for other people. This is one of the most simultaneously demanding and rewarding parts of being a healthcare professional. Sometimes you’ll need to deliver bad news or make difficult decisions that go against the outcome you were hoping for. Empathy and self-awareness, as is true in many professions, can help create a better situation for all involved when difficult times emerge.
In-Demand Jobs and Careers
Earning a degree in healthcare administration also puts someone on a highly desirable career path. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for health services managers and other professionals is expected to grow at a rate of 28% between 2021 and 2031. That is significantly faster than the average for all occupations.
Flexible Career Outside Healthcare
The ability to resolve conflict, communicate and collaborate well with others, and be an engaging leader is invaluable in virtually any industry you can name. The same is true of your ability to delegate tasks, help develop and stick to operational strategies, and even your emotional intelligence. Because of that, the skills you pick up in a healthcare administration environment can make you competitive well into the future, regardless of the type of position or industry you choose to pursue.
Comprehensive Healthcare Knowledge
In an over-arching sense, a major benefit of healthcare administration has to do with the comprehensive knowledge that you pick up about the entire field. By design, many healthcare professionals have their specialties. Most people have a specific focus that doesn’t extend too far beyond a fairly rigid definition.
Healthcare administrators, on the other hand, touch virtually all aspects of the industry. They collaborate closely with doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. They work directly with insurance companies. They talk with patients. They must know about medical billing, how to run a business, and more.
Almost more than anyone else, they’re the people who really see how the healthcare field works as a whole – thus putting them in an excellent position to meaningfully contribute to it in as many ways as possible.
Practical Knowledge Beyond Healthcare
If you decide to switch career paths later, one of the major healthcare administration benefits takes the form of the practical knowledge you pick up along the way.
Even going beyond the real-world experience you receive on the job, consider the myriad topics your education will touch upon. Earning a Master of Healthcare Administration will see you take courses in finance, marketing, law, ethics, project management, and more. You won’t just know about these ever-important topics in a general sense, either – you’ll have the insight and expertise necessary to meaningfully contribute to any organization you may end up working for.
Increased Involvement and Responsibility
To return to one of the statistics mentioned above, it’s important to never forget that many people in this country think that there are significant issues with the healthcare industry. The chances are high that you’re among them or you know someone who is. That’s another one of the benefits of healthcare administration – because you’re so actively involved in the day-to-day aspects of these organizations, you have increased responsibility and, therefore, the opportunity to make meaningful systemic changes.
Healthcare administrators are often actively involved with hiring at a particular organization. Oftentimes they help craft and stick to budgets and attend to other financial matters. They have a real chance to see how everything works and fits together in a way that others don’t. This also means that they have a unique chance to create long-lasting organizational change that benefits countless others. Few roles give you that level of opportunity to effect meaningful change.
Your Story Starts Here
At Park University, we understand that you want to make a difference in people’s lives through your career – and that’s precisely the goal we want to help you accomplish. We’re proud of the reputation we’ve been able to earn over the years as an educational institution with classes that are both intimate and engaging. We offer a variety of academic programs, all of which are designed to put you on the path to success.
If you’d like to find out more information about the benefits of a Master of Healthcare Administration, or if you’d like to speak to someone about beginning your own educational journey, request info from Park University today.