When it comes to a management field, even one that’s on the cutting edge of technology and consistently in the public eye, thrill-seeking usually isn’t an attribute that comes to mind. However, healthcare management — one such field — draws a wide range of qualified professionals, including thrill-seekers, and other people who enjoy that rush of adrenaline. It involves consistently confronting high-profile problems, on which many peoples’ lives and well-being depend; without a lot of attention to detail, a hospital could experience a treatment-resistant infectious disease outbreak, or a clinic could run out of vital supplies on which its patients depend. This kind of responsibility can attract people with a high-energy approach to life, who like to live teetering on the edge.
So, what are five of the best jobs in healthcare management available for the modern thrill-seeker?
At first glance, this lucrative and high-responsibility job may not seem well-suited to a thrill-seeker, but looks can be deceiving. The hospital administrator needs to manage patient issues, as well as the concerns of a wide range of fiercely independent and extremely specialized professionals. Their job involves managing a wide range of financial and budgetary data, working with the board, ensuring compliance with government regulations, and staying on top of critical healthcare issues. Their work is equal parts managerial, labor-intensive, analytical, and public relations, and no new day is going to offer the same challenges as the one which preceded it. Small wonder that more than 60% of hospital administrators report spending less than 25% of their time filling out paperwork in their offices; there’s simply too much to do.
Health Services Manager
Many high-energy individuals enjoy interacting with people much more so than other, more laid-back individuals are inclined to. For such individuals, the position of health services manager may be ideally suited. This job may be called different things in different organizations or companies, but it amounts to the individual who is responsible for interacting with all of the other people inside of an organization. Their concern is with general healthcare issues that are particularly common to people working in a certain capacity; their job, as a result, is equal parts communicator and educator, making sure that everyone understands how best to mitigate the risks to which they are most likely to be exposed.
Public Health Official
Working as an officer in the CDC, the EPA, or another government authority concerned with public health offers a range of challenges. These positions include the regular potential for exposure to a variety of dangerous substances and situations, often quite literally. These are the people who are called in to mitigate and contain unknown disease outbreaks, radiation leaks, anthrax terrorism, and other severe general health risks which other bureaus and agencies are ill-equipped to handle. There is specialized equipment training, and a unique emphasis on public relations — without which, there is the potential to incite widespread panic.
A clinical director might work at a medical clinic for the poor, or for the handling of a particular healthcare risk or concern. Or, they might work for a research agency or academic institute, handling the administrative tasks of an organization engaged in in-depth research into dangerous, potentially lethal materials. Samples of a wide range of infectious diseases and parasites are kept on hand in laboratories across the country, so that research into cures and treatments may be studied (as well as for potential medical applications elsewhere).
Similar in certain basic ways to the hospital administrator, the practice manager works with smaller organizations, such as clinics and individual (but busy) doctors’ offices. They are in charge of coordinating all of the day-to-day operations of the office, as well as ensuring that the organization’s long-term goals are met reliably. While the practice will be smaller than that of a typical hospital, the practice manager will be filling a range of roles for which the hospital administrator has a dedicated administrative staff, which means that the dynamic of the office can change on an hourly basis.
These career paths are deeply rewarding, and very lucrative — but they’re more than that. In a field that relies upon management being able to fly by the seat of their pants, they offer opportunities for those who like to walk a fine line between order and catastrophe, who appreciate that same type of nervous thrill that might cause other, less adventuresome people to tuck tail and run.