A hospital administrator manages and directs the activities of hospital departments and associated facilities, such as substance abuse treatment centers, hospices and outpatient clinics. He commonly follows the directives of the hospital’s governing board of trustees, a group that establishes policies and procedures generally believed to be in the best interests of the hospital and the community. His job requires regular interaction with the board as well as the medical staff and department heads.
The staffs of the hospital and auxiliary facilities are normally relied upon to follow procedures established by the hospital administrator, much as he is expected to follow the guidelines of the trustees. These principles commonly relate to the planning, management and coordination of health and medical services. If a staff member has concerns or questions about services or their administration, the person initially contacted for answers is often the hospital administrator.
In addition to staff management, the position of hospital administrator usually requires him to serve as a liaison between the administrative staff, patients and families. If questions concerning the quality of care, billing procedures or insurance issues arise, the hospital administrator is commonly called upon to resolve them. In cases that involve a chronic problem, he may be required to consult the trustees for their input and assistance.
Objectively viewing situations and independently arriving at sound conclusions is normally an important part of the hospital administrator’s job. He is not only regularly expected to successfully intervene and mediate crises, but also interpret policies and make suitable decisions that positively impact the care of patients. These professionals typically coordinate all departments of the health care facility, making sure business flows smoothly.
In most hospitals, the administrator is actively involved in personnel administration. He often works closely with the human resources department in recruiting and hiring assistant administrators as well as medical interns, nurses and physicians. His job also regularly entails evaluating employee performance.
Outside the hospital, the administrator is the facility’s public relations representative. He ensures the hospital is viewed by the public in the most positive light possible. In addition to representing the facility at charity events, he attends conferences and councils to keep current on medical trends and new technologies.
The position of hospital administrator requires a bachelor’s degree along with a minimum of five years' experience in a medical, health care or hospital environment. Since such a large part of the administrator’s job normally involves business administration, a master’s degree in health sciences or business, health services or public administration is highly valued.