Do You Have What it takes to complete an Online Healthcare Management Degree?

Posted August 29, 2012 by

Woman typing on laptopThere’s no denying that healthcare management is a hot career option, which is due largely in part to the profession’s projected growth, opportunities for advancement and potential to earn a competitive salary. These reasons, and a variety of others, may be the motivation behind your decision to enter into an online university environment, but realize that this degree program and profession isn’t for everyone. It takes a special type of person to succeed in the competitive and stressful world of healthcare management. Before making any final decisions, learn about the skills and attributes most successful healthcare managers possess, and what it takes to succeed at your online studies.

Qualities Every Healthcare Manager Should Possess

Before committing to an online or campus-based program, it’s important to determine if you have what it takes to make it in the “real world.” In general, here are a few of the many attributes, strengths and skills a truly gifted healthcare manager will exhibit:

  • Strong Communication Skills – As a healthcare manager, you’ll verbally communicate with your peers, healthcare staff and patients on a daily basis. It’s crucial you’re able to create meaningful professional relationships with your staff, while remaining respectful and constructive.
  • Business Savvy – There’s no getting around the fact that healthcare is a business, and many facilities must turn a profit to keep the doors open. In many respects, your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the field will feel more like an MBA, especially as you advance into an executive level position.
  • Knowledge of Healthcare Practices – Healthcare policies and practices, including information and healthcare technology, are constantly evolving. To be a successful healthcare manager, you must be willing to keep on top of these ever-changing policies, and be prepared to design and implement a few of your own as well.
  • Leadership – A leader must inspire their peers and support staff while creating an efficient and well-organized work environment. If you enjoy motivating others, and keeping all aspects of your life extremely well-organized, definitely consider entering this exciting field.
  • Ability to Delegate Responsibilities – As you advance to an executive-level position you’ll depend more and more on your army of well-educated, efficient staffers. This can mean delegating responsibilities to subordinates, which can make you an extremely unpopular boss.
  • Stress Management Skills – By far, the most crucial attribute any successful healthcare manager must possess is the ability to handle stress. Long hours and high-intensity situations are a major component of this field, and your ability to be an effective manager while navigating tricky waters is critical.

Can I Succeed in an Online Environment?

You might be considering obtaining a healthcare management degree online because this course of study fits your present lifestyle. Online education has many benefits, but it isn’t for everyone. Take a hard look at your present situation and strengths before committing to this type of education.

  • Self-Starter – Studying from the comfort of your home may sound ideal, but remember you’re faced with several temptations on a daily basis. It can be difficult to turn off the television, or skip a lunch date with your friends, in order to devote this time to studies.
  • Proactive – Your professor isn’t going to be there to hound you about an assignment, or keep you on the right track. If you’re unable to put aside all distractions, and remain focused on hitting the books, you won’t make it through your first year of study.
  • Ability to Succeed without Constant Supervision – Once again, your professor is potentially several thousand miles away and won’t necessarily be readily available to answer all of your questions. Many find they thrive in a traditional on-campus environment simply because they learn more effectively through classroom discussions.
  • Reading Comprehension – Imagine you’re building a bookshelf. Is it easier for you to read the instructions rather than having someone verbally explain to you how to complete the project? A “visual” learner will find more success in an online environment simply because the majority of information is presented through reading materials rather than a lively classroom discussion.

If you feel confident about your skills and abilities, and find that online education is a great fit, there are several healthcare administration jobs waiting for you to explore. To remain competitive, consider continuing on and earning your Master’s degree in an online environment as well.

Melanie Schwartz is a student of healthcare administration, and also working as an administrative assistant. She is considering earning her MBA after completing her Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration.

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