My last visit to a hospital reminded me how important management skills are for the health care industry. I say that because I was comparing it to what I saw and heard in another hospital that I had been to a few months earlier. In both cases I was not the patient so I had the luxury of being a very focused set of eyes and ears. Since I teach management at the Huizenga Business School and have delivered countless management workshops in hospitals, I’m always doing an analysis of the management skills on display. I also do this when I go into an imaging center or a physician practice.
What I saw recently represented both ends of the continuum of management skills. It was clear that one hospital had invested in developing the management skills of its managers (which I was able to confirm later) while the other had not (which I also had confirmed). The flow of activities was different in the two hospitals, as was the energy of the employees.
My experience has always suggested that the difference is management skills. Good skills lead to better flow and higher energy. Patient outcomes tend to be better also. Any health care operation is more profitable when it is managed by people who have learned and applied the skills.
You might ask, “What are the management skills necessary for a successful health care operation?” The answer has two parts. First of all, in today’s economy there are several skills that have risen to the top; innovation, team collaboration, task execution, and critical thinking in decision-making. These skills have always been important in what I teach managers at all levels, but they are especially important now. These are also an integral part of the curriculum in the Certified Health Care Manager (CHCM™) Program that I currently teach for the Hudson Center of Entrepreneurship and Executive Education at NSU.
The second part of the answer is in the following list, also topics covered in the CHCM™ Program, and in no special order; how to develop vision and values, change management, managing conflict and engineering agreement, performance management, process mapping and improvement, coaching and mentoring, motivating and energizing employees, interpersonal communication, and HR policies/procedures. Another skill area which I taught to nurse managers for a decade was how to manage nurse self-esteem. For some reason, I don’t see that being taught much anymore. I don’t think that there is any less interest in developing that skill, it’s just that it ranks low among other management skills.
Finally, whenever I’m headed to a hospital, doctor’s office, etc. I’m looking forward to the diagnostic and healing processes that I will encounter. I know there will be great care provided. I hope that the management of the particular health care operation will also be good… the manager of physical therapy will be skilled at both the clinical and the managerial, and the same for every other management job in health care. This will make it a value-adding experience for me…and for us all. Only good management skills learned and applied can make it that way.