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7 Must-Have Skills and Talents for Hospital Administrators

The primary role of healthcare facilities is to administer quality medical care, but behind the scenes, hospitals are large institutions that run like any big business. That’s why successful hospital administrators must combine a passion for the well-being of patients with management know-how.

Your caring personality may be why you entered the healthcare field in the first place, but developing business, management and technical skills could help you take your career to the next level. Not sure how to build those skills? Enrolling in an advanced educational program will help you practice the characteristics and develop the skills required to be successful.

1. Industry Knowledge

The healthcare industry can be extremely competitive and receiving a master’s degree can take your career even further. The most respected master’s in health administration programs in the country are backed by The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), the only organization that can officially recognize programs offering a master’s in healthcare management.1 Employers know that job applicants who have a CAHME-accredited Master of Health Administration (MHA) have received a quality education, honed the required skills and built a network of industry contacts, all of which help them excel in hospital administration. As one of the only CAHME-accredited online MHA programs, The University of Scranton’s degree program gives graduates a leg up on the competition when applying for jobs.

2. Leadership

Hospital administrators are the executives of the hospital. On a big-picture level, they are expected to inspire the organization to deliver the best medical care possible. The day-to-day responsibilities of hospital administration professionals include overseeing staff and ushering in new policies.

In all of their tasks and decisions, hospital administrators must enact the highest standards of ethical leadership, which are organized by the Healthcare Leadership Alliance (HLA) competency models.2 According to the HLA, these competencies not only clarify an individual’s roles, performance expectations and plans for development, but they also help articulate the behavioral implications of a strategic vision.

Leadership and management skills, as well as an ability to command respect, are required to enact an organization’s mission and vision, and ultimately, to be successful in a hospital administration role.

3. Critical Thinking

CAHME-accredited MHA programs arm future healthcare leaders with the analytical skills they need to determine the best course of action for their hospital. The job calls for professionals with solutions-oriented personality traits who can make informed decisions by looking closely at data and predetermined goals.

Critical thinking is one such trait that HealthWorks Collective identified as crucial for hospital administrators, who “should be independent thinkers who can understand the current medical market and bring in solutions to help with adaptation.”3 Hospital administrators need to be able to critically evaluate all angles of a decision and its potential outcomes. Then, they can analyze the risks and benefits for their particular needs.

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4. Relationship Building

Hospital administrators are liaisons throughout their workplace. According to HealthWorks Collective, within the course of a day, hospital administration professionals might interact with doctors, the hospital’s governing board and members of its finance team, among others.3 Building strong relationships every step of the way and communicating effectively can rally staff behind a common cause and help keep the organization running smoothly. Establishing trust is key, as is making decisions that align with the long-term goals of the organization.

5. Ethical Judgment

The HLA stated in their healthcare leadership competencies that healthcare administrators must have high standards of judgment as they develop sensitivity to customer needs, as well as a focus on measuring and continuously improving the patient care experience.2 Many of the hospital’s decisions fall on the administrator, meaning a strong moral compass is vital when it comes to healthcare leadership. The University of Scranton’s Master of Health Administration builds Jesuit values into the program to ensure graduates are ready to make ethical decisions in the field.

6. Adaptability

This is an exciting, yet challenging, time to be in the healthcare industry: The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that by 2030, all boomers will be at least age 65. Plus, older adults are projected to outnumber children under age 18 for the first time in U.S. history by 2034.4

Over the years, these generational shifts will place more demand on hospitals. Adaptability is a key skill if hospital administrators want to keep up with the ever-shifting healthcare landscape—and they will be required to. Administrators must be willing to challenge the status quo and usher in appropriate changes.

7. Quick Thinking

Due to the changes brought on by population shifts, and especially the rising number of aging Americans, doctors and staff are turning to hospital administrators for decisions. Hospital administrators should be comfortable making both large and small decisions on the fly, but they also need to readily take responsibility for the success and failure of these decisions.3

Ready for the Next Step?

Take your hospital administration career to the next level with an advanced online degree from the University of Scranton. The online Master of Health Administration program delivers the expert business, management and technical skills required to go further.

To find out more about The University of Scranton’s online Master of Health Administration degree program, request information online or speak with a program manager at 866-373-9547.


  1. https://www.cahme.org/
  2. http://www.healthcareleadershipalliance.org/Leadership%20Competencies%20-%20An%20Introduction.pdf
  3. https://www.healthworkscollective.com/7-skills-you-must-have-be-great-hospital-administrator/
  4. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/12/by-2030-all-baby-boomers-will-be-age-65-or-older.html

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