I recently had an opportunity to interview a health care administrator by the name Cecilia White, who a registered health care administrator working at a nursing home. For more than 10 years, White has had a successful career in the health care sector serving as a nurse, senior nurse, health care administrator and senior health care administrator serving a nursing home in Minnesota. White is a registered nurse with a Degree in Nursing and a Master’s of Science in Nursing. She is also a certified health care administrator who has worked in three different states as a health care administrator. Prior to working as an administrator, White worked as a nurse for 6 years before pursuing a certification course in health care administration and taking up the health care administrator role in a nursing home she had worked as a senior nurse. White has worked for 6 years as a health care administrator and this is her second year in the nursing home that she is currently working. White has also served as a board member in a local hospital in Minnesota and does a low of volunteer work in her home state. She is also a mentor and regularly visit local health care institutions ion her home state to give lectures and talks.
During the interview, I took the opportunity to talk to White about her career in health care administration, achieving excellence in her job role and future prospects. The whole interview took forty five minutes and White was very willing to answer all the questions despite her busy schedule. She was also open to sharing her contacts and willing to schedule another meeting to talk about the health care administration field. The following questions were asked and below each question is the response by the health care administrator:
Question: What does the health care administrator job entail?
White: a health administrator basically plans, manages and coordinates health care delivery in a health care institution. The job also involves all the administrative tasks in the health care setting including preparing and reviewing reports, creating employee schedules, updating patient records, planning and assigning resources, among other tasks. At the nursing home, I plan and supervise all health care services that the institution delivers and I also monitor budgets and resources.
Question: What are most important skills that a health care administrator should have?
White: a health care administrator should have excellent leadership and management skills, good organizational skills and exceptional communication skills. As a leader I have to create a vision and provide a sense of direction to my followers while supporting my organization towards achieving set goals. One should also be able to manage people and resources while ensuring that employees remain motivated and committed towards achieving organizational goals. Good organizational skills come with the health administrator job description as one should be able to develop and implement plans on a regular basis when it comes to managing financial and human resources. I also try to keep my communication lines open by constantly engaging with employees in their break to ask their concerns about the way the institution is managed.
Question: What does your typical day look like?
White: for a health administrator, no two days are the same as each day comes with different sets tasks that must be performed. For instance, I can start a day by reviewing the most recent patient records or financial records before attending a board meeting regarding the expansion of a new wing. During lunch hour, I might spend on a business meeting with a department head or with a funding partner. I could also spend my lunch hour talking to the nursing staff regarding different organizational issues as they take their lunch break. The afternoon might be spent reviewing a new program on working practices or altogether developing a new program for the nursing home.
Question: What are some of the challenges that health care administrators face?
White: My work comes with a few challenges including employees who are not comfortable with the working arrangement, and dissatisfied patients particularly the elderly who feel like their pain and illness has not been well managed. I could also encounter some department heads who believe that their departments need more resources.
Question: What are your top leadership principles?
White: as a leader, I believe in having a vision and communicating it to my followers. I also understand the importance of engaging my team in making decisions and giving employees the space to exercise their skills and experience.
Question: where do you see yourself in the next five years?
White: in the next five years, I see myself becoming a senior health care administrator in a major health care organization. I also hope to mentor more health care administrators who are starting out in the career.
From the interview, it is evident that White is passionate about her work and has the drive to manage and bring change in health administration. White is a transformational leader who believes in setting direction and leading change in health care administration (Sfantou et al., 2017). She also values several skills in her job role and as a leader: good leadership skills, excellent management skills, good communication skills and good organizational skills. Her approach at work is setting goals and achieving them with the available resources while keeping employees and other team members engaged and involved. Having a background in health care delivery has also enabled White to understand what it takes to run a health care organization and with certification and experience in health care administration, she is able to deliver her best skills in her job position. White is also a leader who values her employees and keeps them motivated by developing a good working relationship and looking to address issues regarding administration that they raise. She is also adopts an open door policy whereby employees and other individuals within the organization can easily approach her.
Based on the interview, the most important skill for a successful health care administrator is communication skills. Since the job involves a lot of coordination of resources and collaboration with different departments, a health care administrator should have excellent communication skills to help in managing people and resources. Good leadership skills are also necessary especially in such a dynamic environment like the health setting where each day presents new challenges. In the scenario, the best leadership approach is being a transformational leader who empowers his or her followers to achieve the shared goal. I also believe that professional skills and experiences are important in having a successful healthcare administrator.