The Traits Of A Great Hospital Administrator

The Traits Of A Great Hospital Administrator

Despite the insistence of many corporate executives across the country, from sea to shining CEO, the Myers-Briggs personality test is largely discredited in the psychology community. It operates using personality types that even the developer Carl Jung admitted were faulty. The test may be well-intentioned, but there is a distinct lack of evidence that correlates one’s results on the famed personality test and happiness/success in their occupation.

That said, certain industries indubitably attract certain types of people. You have a thirst for power? Run for political office. Are you a bookish type who gets a thrill from imparting wisdom? Good, our schools could use teachers like you.

The healthcare industry attracts a veritable mixture of personalities. Nurses tend to be, well, nurturing. Pharmaceutical reps tend to be more about flash. In my experience, the personalities of hospital administrator are a bit more flexible. There are, however, a few traits that any administrator is going to need to possess if that person wants to be successful in her/his work. Here are a few of those traits.


Yes, that word again. Don’t tell me about your stressful work schedule unless you know someone who works at a hospital. Hospital employees are completely unfamiliar with the concept of “regular work hours,” and even when they aren’t actually inside the hospital, frequently they’re on call. Being a health professional requires you to be willing to sacrifice a large amount of your personal time.

The Ability to Communicate Effectively

Admittedly, flexibility is a necessary trait for ANYONE looking to find a job in the healthcare spectrum. The ability to communicate effectively doesn’t qualify to everyone though. Yes, it would be ideal if everyone in the world possessed this skill, but this isn’t an ideal world. I’ve met some doctors who are walking definitions of socially awkward.

Hospital administrators need to be able to communicate effectively with anyone. On a daily basis, here are the people an administrator will have to communicate with: doctors, nurses, patients, insurance representatives, pharmaceutical representatives, lawyers, janitorial staff, do you catch my drift? Communication breakdowns with any number of these people can prove to be disadvantageous in actual life and death situations.

Business Acumen

If you ever saw an episode of “House,” you probably noticed Dr. Lisa Cuddy doing a lot of medical work and little else (outside of rejecting Dr. House’s lewd advances). The business aspects of her job were absent for the most part. In reality, a hospital administrator is as much CEO as he/she is doctor, sometimes more so.

Assuming the role of hospital administrator means keeping a mindful eye on business expenses and the hiring/firing of personnel. This is stuff that’s not taught extensively in most medical schools. That’s why it’s advantageous for a hospital administrator to have studied more than medicine as a student. There are some programs like Ohio University where you can study both business and medicine simultaneously, of course.


A typical hospital employs hundreds of people, but the hospital ultimately will assume the personality of the administrator in charge, the same way a sports team is the product of the coach on the sideline. Because of the levels of stress people in hospitals have been known to reach, a hospital needs to exude professionalism.

Just because a good administrator needs to instill this environment of professionalism, it doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun at all. You do have to pick the time and place however.

Thirst for Knowledge

Medicine isn’t static. You notice how nurses aren’t carrying around buckets of leeches anymore? We’ve made some massive strides in the healthcare sphere.

Healthcare is a rapidly changing business, and procedures a doctor learned in medical school can quickly become antiquated. As a result, a competent hospital administrator must always stay in tune with recent developments in medical technology. This in and of itself can feel like a full job at times, but the need is paramount.

Every medical professional is different in the end, but there are some commonalities to be found in every individual role. This is not only true in healthcare, but in practically every industry. A great hospital administrator should possess all of the above qualities.

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