There are many opportunities for career advancement in the world of healthcare. The sheer variety of career paths available makes it one of the most complex and fascinating industries for career progression in the world. This article serves as a brief guide to some of the most senior jobs in healthcare. Budding healthcare workers should keep these objectives in mind when studying or starting out in a career.
- Medical Director
Medical directors – otherwise known as clinical directors – handle all of a hospital or health center’s clinical operations. They oversee the hiring of medical staff, the introduction of new capabilities, the auditing of medical performance and the strategic planning of medical objectives. Alongside other hospital executives, medical directors help to shape the overall aims of an institution: quantizing some of the Realistic Progress Indicators that can be used to measure success or failure to meet objectives. Medical directors have a responsibility to act as a point of contact between clinical staff and strategic planners. They represent both sets of interests, and are uniquely placed to give insight on both. This is because of the experience they are expected to have in both the clinical and managerial worlds. They need to have a postgraduate degree in business or health administration and lots of practical experience in clinical settings.
- Operational Director
Operational directors deal with every area of hospital and health center management that is not clinical. This means that they deal with inventory management, Human Resources, catering, building maintenance, administration and a whole host of other operational concerns. Operational directors are well compensated for their work. Without them at the helm, hospitals would be unable to efficiently run. Patient outcomes rely in part on the efficiency of a hospital or health center’s non clinical operations.
- Pharmaceutical CEO
The pharmaceutical industry is a vast and varied behemoth. Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the commissioning of research into new drugs, as well as the marketing and sales of these new drugs to healthcare organizations around the world. Pharmaceutical products and production pathways are extremely tightly regulated all over the world. This regulation varies from place to place. In many countries, pharmaceutical pricing is capped so that it remains related to its cost of production. In other nations – such as the United States of America – no such cap exists. Pharmaceutical executives need to be shrewd politicians, careful product development managers and data driven strategic planning wunderkinds.
There has been controversy in recent years over the role played by pharmaceutical executives in driving up medical prices for millions of people. It seems that by the time a person has risen to the role of Chief Executive Officer, they tend to lose their sense of perspective. The role of the pharmaceutical CEO is not likely to disappear any time soon. Perhaps a new generation of executives that can keep justice in mind when developing strategy will one day rise. Until then, don’t expect to be well loved if you aim for this field. For the money driven executive, this is a perfect role. Pharmaceutical executives can earn vast quantities of money.
- Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical engineers use both biological and mechanical research methods to develop new medicines and technologies in the clinical field. Senior biomedical engineers often have a great deal of oversight within pharmaceutical corporations and research institutions. The work of a senior biomedical engineer is not simple by any means. They are expected to design and test mathematical and computational models for the development and testing of new healthcare solutions. They are expected to manage a team of scientists and mathematicians in a lab setting and present the findings of that team to stakeholders with grand strategic aims. A degree in engineering management, health administration, physics, chemistry or biology is very useful for the budding bioengineer – but it will not be enough to secure a job in a top laboratory. A great deal of laboratory and management experience is needed to succeed in the field. Bioengineering is a complex area of research, but it is being aided by Machine Learning capable software that greatly increases the speed and cost efficiency of testing. Qualified bioengineers that want to rise up the ranks and take on a senior laboratory role can do a great deal worse than completing an Executive Masters of Health Administration MHA course at a top university. These courses allow experienced professionals to supplement their scientific know how with business and strategy acumen.
- Operating Room Services Director
Operating room services directors are in charge of controlling the flow of patients and resources to and from operating rooms. They make sure that each operating team is at full strength and that every team has the correct resources for the job they have to complete.
These directors may have dozens of operating teams and operating rooms on their roster at any given time at large hospitals. They need to be keen and efficient administrators with a good working knowledge of surgical technology. Without a good operating room services director, wait times would increase for patients. This, in turn, would mean that illnesses and traumas cannot be treated in a timely manner and patient outcomes would become worse. Efficiency is the name of the game in operating room management.
The procurement and maintenance needs experienced by surgical departments are multifarious. Operating room services directors need to keep in close contact with procurement departments and maintenance crews in order to keep ahead of any bottlenecks that might occur.
- Plastic Surgeon
Plastic surgeons repair, reconstruct and remodel human tissue. Most plastic surgeons do not work in the cosmetic alteration industry: instead working to repair and reconstruct human tissue that has been damaged due to trauma or illness. Many kinds of trauma result in the need for plastic surgery. Many modern plastic surgery methods were developed during the First World War, when soldiers were being maimed at a shocking rate. Surgeons sought to rehabilitate injured men by reconstructing their damaged noses, burn scarred skin and degloved scalps. Some plastic surgeons do, of course, work in the cosmetic alterations industry. These surgeons usually work as part of private practices and can earn staggering amounts of money. The best cosmetic plastic surgeons develop extremely potent reputations via word of mouth and often see repeat custom from people that trust their work. There is much controversy surrounding the role of the plastic surgeon in modern public discourse. Critics argue that plastic surgery allows only the very rich to adhere to unrealistic beauty standards – leaving poorer people to seek more dangerous methods of altering their bodies. Regardless of this controversy, cosmetic plastic surgery is here to stay.
When asked to think of a senior healthcare role, the Average Joe on the street might immediately picture a brain surgeon. Neurosurgeons are highly thought of for a reason: they have an incredibly complex job in which the price of failure can be devastating for their patients. Although humankind’s knowledge of the brain has improved drastically since the invention of computer microscopy and advanced scanning, there are still elements of brain function and misfunction that puzzle neuroscientists today.
A neurosurgeon has responsibility over an operating room team that includes nurses, doctors and anesthetists. The actual surgery portion of their job is just the tip of the iceberg. Neurosurgeons are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of complicated nervous system ailments from the very beginning. They measure and assess patient nervous system and brain functionality before using statistical analysis techniques to make a diagnosis. They then consult with a patient. Before coming up with a surgical solution, they consult with peers and research possible interventions. All surgery on the brain, spinal cord and nervous system is incredibly risky. Any misjudgment can cause lifelong impairment of a patient’s neurological functionality. For this reason, neurosurgeons can be paid upwards of 500,000 dollars per year in some institutions.
- Procurement Consultant
Medical procurement specialists are employed by hospitals all over the globe. They assess the many procurement options open to a healthcare organization and deal directly with pharmaceutical and tech companies in order to secure good deals for their employers. Medical procurement can be an immensely complex task. In unregulated markets such as the United States, patient care can suffer when procurement is conducted poorly. Sometimes, healthcare organizations opt to hire in a consultant to help them through a difficult procurement period. These consultants are paid handsomely, because they can ultimately save an organization huge sums of money if they do their job correctly. Procurement drives are often initiated when an organization wants to incorporate new technologies and techniques into its arsenal. This can be triggered by the arrival of new funds, the development of new medicines or the expansion of a business into new realms of healthcare. It is the procurement consultant’s job to seek out the most efficient and time-proof way of procuring new resources. They are expected to find a way of integrating new procurements into existing inventory management systems and hold consultations with clinical staff and operational administrators.
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