What do you believe is necessary to become an effective manager in the health care profession?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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An effective manager in the health care field is going to need all the skills any effective manager needs, which include managing people, time, materials, and technology, having a good understanding of the legal and regulatory environment in which a facility operates, and excellent customer service skills.  In addition, an effective manager needs to have  a good working knowledge of the responsibilities carried out by the facility he or she manages. 

Any medical facility, unit, or office is a kind of team, and a good manager will know how to lead the team, through example, through a fair and consistent application of policy, and through inspiration when things get tough.  A good manager must be organized in order to keep the team on track, with good planning skills and a realistic understanding of tasks to be accomplished.  Good management also requires planning for equipment, supplies, and scheduling.  And in today's world, an understanding of technology and its power and limitations is a necessity.  In today's world, the legal and regulatory environment affect all managers, and a good manager will have a working knowledge of all laws and regulations that affect the organization.  Any effective manager who manages a facility that serves the public must have customer service skills that are proficient, for training purposes and to lead by example.  

In a medical facility in particular, managers need to have a more specialized understanding of the services offered, not necessarily specialized medical knowledge, but certainly an understanding of procedures carried out, medical equipment and supplies that are needed, and perhaps most importantly, that the people being served may be ill and vulnerable, needing more in the way of "customer service" than other organizations.  Law and regulation in this area are of particular importance, since confidentiality of patients' information is subject to a strict standard under HIPAA and since a  breach of office protocol or procedure could lead to a malpractice suit.  The duty to take care of patients is a much higher duty than the duty to sell ladies' dresses, and the stakes are much higher, too, if things go wrong.  Quite often, people who are in health care management have performed many or all of the duties in the facility, so they have a very good understanding of its operations. 



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