The chief of medicine, also known as a chief physician, is a physician who holds the highest senior management title at a healthcare facility that treats patients or a hospital. As the senior manager in charge of day-to-day operations in a healthcare setting, the chief medical officer plays more of an administrative role than a clinical role as a general medical doctor.

When you are in charge of managing the clinical operations and the administrative procedures in a healthcare environment, you hold a great deal of responsibility. Since authority comes with the territory, you need to gain experience as a medical doctor and also have supervisory experience before you can become the chief physician. Read on, and learn more about the career track many chief medical officers have followed so that you know where to begin.

Become a Physician

The very first step of becoming a senior manager to physicians is to become a physician yourself. In order to become a physician, you first need to earn your bachelor's degree and excel as an undergraduate student. Your grades and your overall experience in school while you earn your four-year degree is what will get you into medical school. Once accepted into a physician training program at a medical school, you will train to become a medical doctor and then complete a long-term residency. Only after you have completed your schoolwork and your residency can you become a licensed doctor who can practice in your state, according to the American Medical Association. Be sure to check the training and residency requirements to become an MD so that you are prepared for the journey.

Complete a Post-Medical School Internship

Next, after you have completed medical school, it is in your best interest to complete an internship. You will get hands-on experience about how clinical supervisory roles work and what you do as an administrator. By getting first-hand experience in an administrative medical setting, you can strengthen your resume when the time comes to apply for an opening.

Work In a Small Clinical Setting

One way to get the supervisory or management experience that you need to be considered for Chief Medical Officer positions is to work in a small clinic instead of jumping right into a role with a large hospital. After working in a smaller outpatient clinic, you will learn how everything from training physicians to evaluation of treatment outcomes works. You may treat patients, but more often you will be a supervisor who oversees those who work with the patients or who makes judgement calls on more complicated cases. After you have experience in a smaller setting, you can work up to becoming a hospital manager and then chief medical officer.

Related Resource: Chief Nursing Officer

The chief of medicine is part of a medical leadership team who strives to ensure that patients get quality care. If your goal is to become a medical doctor and then become a leader in the sector, the first step is to get clinical experience and then management experience. It can be very difficult to get hired as a chief medical officer. because they play a strategic role in the success of for-profit healthcare establishments. If you want to stand out, you must prove that you are a strategic thinker, an educator, a leader, and a risk manager. Now that you have a basic understanding of what it takes to be a chief of medicine, you can decide if it is work the years of hard work.