The healthcare industry in general is burgeoning and healthcare administrators are in high demand, especially in long term care facilities. The aging "Boomer" population is one reason for this. Another is that our society is more mobile and involved and less able to care for elderly family members at home. With the influx of people who need long term care comes the need for people who can manage the facilities that will care for them: nursing home administrators.
A Long Term Care Administrator wears "Many Hats."
The nursing home administrator job is similar to that of a city manager. A nursing home facility has so many groups of individuals—nursing staff, patients, social services staff, maintenance, kitchen, laundry and other support services–that it requires someone who can facilitate communication between them and oversee their functioning. In addition, the facilities interact with agencies and individuals outside of their walls and this interaction must be monitored and facilitated as well. An administrator in a long term care facility or nursing home has to be a "people person" who can work with these diverse groups, handling dissention and instilling motivation. He also must be an adept critical thinker and problem-solver.
The Duties of a Long Term Care Administrator often depend upon the size of the Facility.
A long term care administrator fulfills several duties, including:
- Plan and coordinate medical services and health care services for the facility, arranging for physician visits and interaction with hospitals
- Be aware of ever-changing rules and regulations enabling the facility to stay compliant
- Host or attend meetings with investors or boards governing the facility, and with administrators of other facilities
- Supervise assistant administrators
- Ensure open communication between facility departments
- Oversee financial operations to maintain cost-efficiency
In smaller facilities, the administrators may have to assume actual bookkeeping duties, meet with family members and assume other duties that would normally be handled by assistants. They may also deal with staff activities such as hiring or discipline.
Education Requirements for Long Term Care Administrators is the Same as For Other Health Care Administrators.
Administrators usually have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in health care administration or another related field. That, however, is somewhat deceptive. Very small facilities might promote someone without a four-year degree based upon experience in the industry. Larger facilities are looking for applicants with master's degrees. While someone with an undergraduate degree may land a job in long term health care facilities, they will usually become assistants. Those with master's degrees may often have certifications as well. Nursing home administration professionals are certified through organizations like the American College of Health Care Administrators. In addition, some states require licensure that requires proof of a degree, completion of an examination and a training program with a prescribed number of hours. The salaries of long term health care administrators vary according to geographical location, education and experience but the median salary is $71,000.
Along with other health care administrators, long term care administrators can expect a projected job growth rate that is much higher than average. Although the "Boomer" generation is a large population and puts many demands upon the healthcare system, advances in care assures that those of the next aging generation will live longer as well. The demand for long term Healthcare Administrators will rise even as the number of elderly people in the nation increases