Ward and health unit managers combine business savvy and leadership skills with knowledge of the healthcare industry. These professionals oversee personnel at medical facilities and perform administrative tasks. Continue reading to learn if a career in ward and health unit management is for you.
Ward and health unit managers, also known as medical and health services managers work in business and administrative positions within the healthcare industry. As a ward and health unit manager you'd coordinate and manage services at various types of healthcare facilities. Your responsibilities might include making sure the facility adheres to regulations, monitoring the number of patients and services rendered and managing personnel issues. You might also be responsible for overseeing financial matters including budgeting, accounting and billing. Ward and health unit managers hold job titles including healthcare administrator, medical records manager, practice administrator, clinical manager and nursing home administrator.
As a ward and health unit manager, you might manage the services of whole hospitals or of individual departments, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities, clinics, medical practices and home health providers. You'll also find career opportunities at government agencies, health insurance companies, management consultant firms, drug companies and medical equipment suppliers. You could also pursue a career in teaching or research.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for medical and health services managers are projected to increase 22% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). Medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of about $86,000 as of 2011, the BLS reported.
Employers demand various educational requirements of ward and health unit managers. Your work experience might be sufficient to land some jobs in the field. Most ward and health unit managers hold a bachelor's or master's degree, however. You can choose from various relevant majors including health services administration, health services, business administration and public health. A bachelor's degree will usually qualify you for entry-level jobs. A master's degree may help you advance to higher positions.
Some degree programs concentrate on specific aspects of healthcare management, including running nursing homes, managing fiscal matters or handling medical records. Degree programs for aspiring healthcare administrators typically combine coursework in general management practices with medical topics, such as health information systems, epidemiology, healthcare laws and medical ethics. You could also study accounting, human resources and marketing through business programs. Some degree programs allow you to gain work experience through an internship.
Through some schools, you might be able to earn a business degree with an emphasis in either health services administration or healthcare information systems management. Dual degree programs in business administration and public health are also available. Some jobs in ward and health unit management require licensing. You'll need a license from your state to work as an administrator at a nursing facility. Some states demand a license for managers at assisted-living centers.
You may display your knowledge as well as potentially boost your chances for promotions and pay raises by getting certified. You can seek professional certification from associations including the American College of Health Care Administrators, the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management or the American College of Medical Practice Executives.