Hospital Administrator  What They Do

Just the Facts

Medical and Health Services Managers Career Video

Insider Info

dotMost 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.

dotHospital administrators are highly educated, dynamic managers who are responsible for setting policy and balancing multimillion-dollar budgets.

dotLike managers in other organizations, hospital administrators oversee services, programs, facilities, staff concerns and relations with other organizations.

dotHealth 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.

dotHospital administrators are responsible to hospital boards, which are made up of either real or figurative shareholders in the institution.

dotThe 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.

At a Glance

Keep your hospital's organization healthy

  • Hospital administrators face a lot of stress in their jobs
  • Plan to spend much of your time in meetings
  • Look for degree programs in hospital administration