What roles are available in healthcare leadership?

Healthcare is one of the biggest and most important fields of study and industry that we have, often literally providing a lifeline to those who need it most. Doctors, scientists, nurses, carers, paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists and others work every day on the medical frontlines to save lives, provide mental and physical treatment and discover cures to both new, and old, diseases.

However the road to a healthier world doesn’t begin or end with these dedicated professionals – behind the frontline teams are dedicated and hard-working healthcare management experts who handle the logistical, financial and commercial sides of healthcare. The leaders within this sector take on major roles, delegating and overseeing the success of practices, science divisions and business to ensure successful operation and organisation. This diverse industry is full of opportunities for those hoping to commit themselves to improving the way people across the globe access medical help and medicine.

So what kind of jobs are available in healthcare management? How does someone embark on a career as a leader in the field? In this blog, we’re going to look at the roles available to those looking towards healthcare management leadership as a potential career path.

What is healthcare leadership?

Healthcare management is the career aspect of healthcare that refers to the management and strategic planning for institutions, businesses and hospitals that provide healthcare, buy and sell medicine or foster commercial partnerships with other organisations. Within that umbrella term, healthcare leadership refers to the roles within healthcare that bring together teams under the same set of objectives to ensure project success.

These specialists handle the administrative and strategic duties, freeing up invaluable time for the medical professionals to focus on their primary duties as care-givers. From institute leadership to corporate planning, patient care improvements and healthcare system refinement, healthcare leaders look to the short and long term to better the way private and public health and business organisations work for their patients and employees.

What roles are available in healthcare management?

Healthcare management is a broad term which includes a range of roles and responsibilities in different sectors. Here are some examples of health care management jobs that are open to those interested in the field:

Practice manager – A practice manager is in charge of a practice, such as a GP service for example. Similar to a clinical manager, they work in service of both patients and medical professionals, ensuring access to care is as straightforward as possible for those who need it. Duties include recruitment, appointments management, record-keeping, delegation and improvement projects in the practice.

Human resources manager – With much of healthcare built around knowledgeable medical professionals, human resources is an integral part of any medical institution. Human resources managers are tasked with finding and vetting new doctors, nurses and other medical specialists to their organisation, ensuring that these professionals are right for the job and are properly supported in their high-intensity workplaces.

Financial manager – As with all other sectors, money plays a big role in healthcare. As such, a healthcare finance manager has an essential role within healthcare institutions, ensuring that budgets are spent wisely and correctly, that income and expenditure is officially accounted for, and that responsible financial forecasting is put in place to secure the institution’s future.

Research manager ­All of the treatments and medicine found in hospitals and pharmacies are the result of carefully managed and rigorously tested research projects. Research managers have the role of ensuring these research projects have everything they need to succeed, securing funding, establishing international partnerships, managing deadlines and providing oversight on each individual project.

Operational manager – Every medical field requires specialist equipment and supplies, and it’s the role of an operational manager to ensure that these resources are delivered safely, securely and on-time to the frontline staff who need them. The also facilitate the delivery of services, ensuring all departments are properly equipped for the work they carry out.

You can find more information about NHS management roles in particular with this helpful guide.

How to get into healthcare management?

With many different forms of healthcare leadership management available to those seeking a career in the field, often the best place is to take a higher education healthcare leadership course. This education and training will grant an understanding of the foundations that hold up all forms of healthcare management, from practice management to human resources. Having a detailed comprehension and educational background in the sector will help you adapt to focus on a particular role.

Beyond training, extensive experience in the world of healthcare management can set you on the track to reaching the highest levels. Generally, starting as a healthcare administrator is one of the first steps to make, granting you the skills and insights that can help you progress to a more focused and specialised role, such as a position in healthcare leadership.

Frequently asked questions

What is the role of leadership in healthcare?

Within healthcare, working as a part of a team is an essential aspect of every role. A leader within healthcare is positioned to join these teams up and to get them working as the same unit within a practice, business or organisation.

Leaders are tasked with bringing individuals together, ensuring that everyone within the business has the opportunity to grow as healthcare professionals and to promote their abilities and their approach to their work. Leaders are also heavily involved with the everyday operations of their workplace, encouraging positive changes, supporting their colleagues and delegating when needed to ensure patients and clients get access to the services and resources they need.

What qualities are important as a leader in healthcare?

Here some of the qualities that can help a healthcare management leader excel in their field:

  • Compassionate ­– Seeking and providing medical help can be unsettling and traumatic for patients and professionals. Leaders should be compassion to the feelings of others to better support them in their health and in their careers.
  • Adaptable – The way healthcare providers work can often change dramatically, especially in the case of a global or national pandemic. Leaders should be prepared for change and ready to adapt as situations develop.
  • Organised – With so many different elements and duties with healthcare management, organisation is key. Leaders must be able to keep track of different projects and different deadlines to continue to provide good service.
  • People-orientated – At its heart, healthcare is all about helping people, so any healthcare management leader must be ready and willing to do whatever they can to make a patient’s experience at their practice as easy and as manageable as possible.

How can I improve my leadership skills in healthcare?

Leadership skills are key for those hoping to make it to the top of their field in healthcare management. Generally the best way to improve your leadership skills is through experience – as you spend more time working around employees and patients, you’ll begin to understand more about how you can bring those people together in productive and effective ways.

You can also help your leadership development along with a number of more specific actions, such as always taking advantage of training and healthcare leadership education courses, talking to senior managers about their roles, always being ready to try new things and staying up to date with what’s happening in the healthcare sector to better your understanding.

There we have it! Healthcare management is one of the crucial pillars that holds up any healthcare service, whether public or private. Without these essential employees, frontline medical staff wouldn’t have access to the resources they need for their work and patients wouldn’t be able to access the high levels of care they deserve.

If you’re interested in pursuing a leadership role in healthcare management, at the University of Liverpool we provide the ideal introduction into the field with our Healthcare Leadership MSc. Drawing from the expertise of specialists in both healthcare and management, this healthcare leadership course can provide you with the skillset you need to develop as a leader within a healthcare organisation.

For more information, discover what the course has to offer on our course page.

Keywords: Leadership, Management

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