If you are considering a career as a health services manager, you should take advantage of opportunities in high school to develop some of the skills required in this line of work. Because administrators and other health care executives need strong leadership and communication skills, participation in clubs as a leader or active member and in debate and speech clubs is helpful. Working in your school's health center is also useful. Hospitals, nursing homes, and other health service facilities offer part-time work or volunteer opportunities after school, on weekends, and during the summer. Health services executives are often willing to speak to interested students, but be sure to make an appointment first.
Professional health management medical associations often provide useful information for students. Check out the Future Students section of the Association of University Programs in Healthcare Administration's Web site, https://www.aupha.org/main/resourcecenter/futurestudents, for information on education and careers in the field.
Health care managers of hospitals and health care facilities organize and manage personnel, equipment, and auxiliary services. They hire and supervise personnel, handle budgets and fee schedules charged to patients, and establish billing procedures. In addition, they help plan space needs, purchase supplies and equipment, oversee building and equipment maintenance, and arrange mail, phones, laundry, and other services for patients and staff. In large health care institutions, many of these duties are delegated to assistants or to various department heads. These assistants may supervise operations in such clinical areas as surgery, nursing, dietary, or therapy; and in such administrative areas as purchasing, finance, housekeeping, and maintenance. In smaller health care institutions, health care managers and administrators are responsible for managing daily operations.
The health services administrator, or clinical manager, works closely with the institution's governing board to develop plans and policies. Following the board's directions, the administrator may carry out large projects that expand and develop hospital services. Such projects include organizing fund-raising campaigns and planning new research projects. Health information managers maintain and secure patient records.
Health services managers meet regularly with their staffs to discuss departmental goals and to address problems. Managers may organize training programs for nurses, interns, and others in cooperation with the medical staff and department heads. Health care executives also represent the health care facility at community or professional meetings.