Routes to a career in healthcare administration
For those looking for a rewarding and relatively secure career, healthcare administration is a good choice. The public health sector is huge, and like any large company, requires an efficient team of administrators to ensure it operates smoothly. As such, there are plenty of routes one can take when looking for a career in healthcare administration.
Administration may have a dull reputation but without it companies and other organisations would soon grind to a halt. To excel at administration, a person has to have an analytical mind, be adept at organisation and time management, and have a whole host of business skills such as customer service and good communication. Good administration within the public health service is the backbone which provides an excellent support system for the frontline medical staff.
The good news for anyone wanting to enter the public healthcare system in an administrative capacity is that there are plenty of routes in, not all of them immediately obvious. For example, the NHS London Ambulance Service has recently made an appointment of new non-executive director, Ms Murziline Parchment. Ms Parchment has had a 15-year career working as a public law barrister and previously worked as the Head of the Mayor’s Office for Tower Hamlets. Her experience in the legal sector and public office meant she had highly transferrable skills, such as the ability to manage a large organisation and oversee its general running. Ms Parchment, of course, has entered into a high office, but anyone can work in public sector administration providing they can demonstrate the skills required. Almost anyone who has been successful in an office environment will have these skills. Administrative roles in this sector can include receptionists and secretaries, clerks and personal assistants. A good level of literacy and numeracy is a basic requirement, and this can be proven by GCSE and A-Level results. Unavoidable is an aptitude for IT; no business or organisation operates these days without computers, so one needs to be computer literate and adept at quickly picking up new software platforms.
Administration offers a solid career path. One could enter the sector by starting off as a clerk or receptionist and then progress to become a supervisor or team leader of a specific department. An even higher opportunity is that of an administration manager, although it is likely that a degree or training would be required for this role, while others could move into wider-ranging healthcare positions, such as venturing into the Finance department. Should higher education or training be required for a specific role, then one could join the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme which allows for administrative specialisms. An alternative to NHS training would be to enrol with the Institute of Administrative Management. Experience also counts for a good deal when progressing through the ranks of public sector healthcare administration.
An administrative job in the public healthcare sector demands a high level of competency and application, but the opportunities to progress and carve out a career in the sector through in-house training and supported study are considerable, as are the potential rewards. Best of all, you will be secure in the knowledge that every day your work is helping people in need.