Most of us have been to a hospital at one time or another. You may have
broken your arm and had to go to emergency, or perhaps you had to visit a
sick relative or friend. Everywhere you looked there were doctors, nurses
and technicians. These are the people who care directly for patients.
What you didn't see was the person behind the scenes who actually manages
the hospital. This person is called a hospital administrator. If you think
this is a dull desk job, think again.
Hospital administrators are highly educated, dynamic managers who are responsible
for setting policy and balancing multimillion-dollar budgets.
Like managers in other organizations, hospital administrators oversee services,
programs, facilities, staff concerns and relations with other organizations.
Health care is big business, and the people who run hospitals often have
titles adopted from big business. Hospital administrators may be called chief
executive officers, chief operating officers, presidents and vice-presidents.
The title depends on the hospital.
Hospital administrators are responsible to hospital boards, which are made
up of either real or figurative shareholders in the institution.
The career demands long hours. It's not unusual to work a 12-hour day starting
with a breakfast meeting, another meeting squeezed into the lunch hour and
an evening presentation to the hospital board or some other community organization.
"I seldom get to sit at my desk. More than 90 percent of my day is meeting
with people to develop programs, communications and other services," says
Fran Hanckel. She is the chief operating officer at a medical center.
Daily activities include developing programs and communications plans for
the hospital, says Hanckel.