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By Dr. Kimberly M. Perkins, MEd
Opportunities in the field of health care are forecasted to increase over the next decade. With this anticipated demand, individuals are inquiring how to market themselves for an opportunity to work in such a diverse occupation. Likewise, individuals currently working in health care are exploring ways to advance into management positions—another career area that is expected to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national long-term job growth for medical and health services managers is expected to be 17% from 2014 through 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations.*
Advancing into management positions require more than just having a good foot in the door. Organizations desire individuals who possess relative skills and a level of proficiency that is transferable or applicable to the management sector of the health care environment. Research conducted by Lorenzetti revealed that health care organizations are interested in individuals who are able to "show cultural competencies such as collaboration, continuous learning, mutual respect, resourcefulness, and empathy" (Bultema, as cited by Lorenzetti, 2016, p. 193). This is in addition to general skills found within the industry, such as time management, effective leadership, regulatory compliance, and germinal knowledge of health care operations. One of the pitfalls that candidates oftentimes face is their inability to effectively illustrate how their unique skills may contribute to the growth of the organization.
Additionally, candidates should prepare to enter the management sector of health care by having a thorough understanding of the organization. Candidates who research an organization's mission and values are able to ascertain whether their own personal beliefs and views align with that of the organization, a critical component in selecting the appropriate candidate for a management position. When applied, employee-organization value congruence increases overall satisfaction (Langer & Feeney, 2014) and ultimately, may contribute to heightened quality within the field, an outcome sought after by hiring managers.
Another component of preparing to advance into a management position in health care includes having the desire to help others achieve their goals. According to Perkins (2013), effective leaders in health care take the time to invest in human capital, asserting, "Leaders who sense potential in another individual will invest their time, knowledge, and resources to develop the member's leadership skills" (p. 34). This applies to the candidate interested in becoming a member of the management team. Candidates can communicate their desire to advance others' skills by showcasing their willingness to assist other departments, volunteering their time working with individuals, and developing creative methods of on-the-job training.
Whether an individual currently works in health care or desires to enter the field for the first time in a management position, being the boss requires more than delegating tasks. Leading a team requires the ability to motivate others in an effort to "guide, structure, and facilitate activities and relationships in a group or organization" that promotes positive change and ultimately yields organizational longevity (Yukl, 2010, p. 21). This can be accomplished by illustrating transferable proficiencies, communicating employee-organization value congruence, and displaying the willingness to invest in future leaders.
Langer, J. & Feeney, M. K. (2014). When employee and organization values align: Job satisfaction in local government. Academy Of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 971-976. doi:10.5465/AMBPP.2014.175
Lorenzetti, L. (2016). The health care hiring boom. Fortune, 173,(4), 192-193.
Perkins, K. M. (2013). 'Investation'... an original leadership concept. Nursing Management, (4). 34.
United States Department of Labor. (2015). Healthcare occupations. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm
Yukl, G. (2010). Leadership in organizations. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Dr. Kimberly M. Perkins, Med, is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University. The University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
* Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical and Health Service Managers, on the Internet www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Medical-and-health-services-managers.htm. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
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And if you are considering pursuing a health sciences degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Health Sciences and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
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