I am in the home stretch of recovering from my Caribbean Christmas trauma accident. I'll be back to work next month. In the meantime, here is a post from a guest writer Gloria Martinez. Gloria started WomenLed.org to celebrate the advancements that women have made. She inspires women to become entrepreneurs and seek promotions in the workplace.
As a woman, you have traits that make you well suited for the healthcare field. Based on other women’s successes in leadership positions, you definitely have what it takes to excel in healthcare administration. With proper training and solid goals, you can have a fruitful and rewarding career.
The Good News (and the Bad)
The good news is that 73 percent of medical and health service managers are women. The bad news is that only 18 percent of hospital CEOs and 4 percent of healthcare company CEOs are women. Women are at the center of health care decisions in their family units. Since they’re avid customers, women can bring firsthand views as leaders in the healthcare system, helping to define and improve health care experiences and making the healthcare system more convenient and efficient. According to Forbes, “As healthcare professionals, women bring empathy and increased communication skills. This is an industry where women can naturally lead.”
So you know there are less female executives, which means there are less female mentors. However, this isn’t necessarily an obstacle. Consider a similar dynamic in other careers, such as competitive sports. Although the US Women’s Soccer Team lacked female role models, they turned to their male coaches, dads, brothers, and friends for mentorship. In 1999, they won the World Cup. Likewise, you can seek career guidance from any seasoned veteran, regardless of gender.
When asked what the biggest obstacle to career advancement was, the number one answer was self-confidence, followed by time constraints, ability to connect with senior leadership, family obligations, and education/skills. Obviously, you can’t change family obligations, but you can work on your self-confidence, time management skills, networking, and increase your education and skills by being open to learning from everyone around you. Work on these barriers to help move your career in the right direction.
Women are the backbone of health care and make up a huge portion of the lower level health care careers. Women can succeed in advancing their careers in the healthcare field if they have a positive attitude about themselves and are confident that the skills that they possess are transferable. Women have certain skills that allow them to excel in particular situations and that make it easier to adapt to other situations. Women have a high emotional intelligence and a unique ability to be creative thinkers, more easily thinking outside the box. Women are naturally nurturing, and they want to help others do well. These natural traits that women have can help them progress in the healthcare field.
The traits can also help improve the field itself. The healthcare industry needs creative and outside-the-box thinking in order to accomplish better outcomes and reduce costs. Doing the same old thing isn’t working, and it won’t work in the future. “Women don't so much have a my-way-or-the-highway kind of approach to their thinking, and how they approach leadership,” states the Times Union. The best future for the healthcare industry is one that sees more women contributing and leading.
For starters, a successful career as a healthcare administrator requires a solid education. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are typically in health administration, business administration, or public administration. You can also become certified in healthcare management through the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Be sure you get plenty of hands-on work experience, such as a summer enrichment program. Look for programs that are designed for future careers in healthcare management and that offer work experience and mentoring. Also, acquaint yourself with the community you wish to serve by joining community organizations.
Work on your communication skills. Effective verbal and written communication skills are vital to a successful career in healthcare administration. It’s imperative that you have the ability to convey your thoughts and ideas to individuals on all levels, from all backgrounds, and from different cultures.
Networking and finding mentors is also essential for a successful career. “If you really aspire to move up the career ladder, it is important to join organizations inside and outside of your profession and to be an active member,” recommends the Network Journal. Also, try to be a mentor to others. Mentoring should be one of your top priorities.
Utilize the traits you naturally have to build a successful career in healthcare administration. By outlining your plan, gaining a solid educational background, and being well prepared, you can have a successful career. You may even change the face of the healthcare industry. If you need a little inspiration, check out this Women in Business Trend Report.