Why Nurses and Doctors are Pursuing a Health Care MBA

Why Nurses and Doctors are Pursuing a Health Care MBA

As the health care system becomes more complex, doctors and nurses need more than a clinical background to be leaders in the industry. They need to know about the business of health care.

Knowing what drug to prescribe a patient for a specific ailment is necessary, but in addition to treating the ill, hospitals and clinics need to run smoothly and make a profit. If doctors and nurses want to lead change, they need to know about the business of health care as well as everyday operations and the way technology is affecting health care administration. Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management prepares students to meet these challenges.

Improving the Health Care System

Doctors who want to make a difference in how the hospital does what it does need to learn more about business. “To be effective, MDs need to learn how to use Excel, read a balance sheet, make a financial model, synthesize data into understandable presentations, and understand how value is created for customers and enterprises,” Bob Kocher told the Healthcare Blog in an article about ‘Why Your Doctor is Thinking of Getting an MBA’.1 He “wanted to help patients, but began thinking that maybe I could help them more if I made the hospital work better for them.”

Kocher is a hospital consultant perhaps best known for his work on the Affordable Care Act in collaboration with Zeke Emanuel and others. “MD’s benefit a great deal from business training,” he says, and an MBA is an effective approach to get that kind of training.

Moving into Management or Administrative Roles

Throughout much of their schooling, doctors and nurses focus on patient care and the best approach to meet patient needs, but the financial aspects involved in the administration of that patient care and the management of caregivers is often lacking.

If a nurse wants to move into a supervisory role, learning more about the science of business and how to communicate effectively are essential to their success. For many, gaining the skills to effectively manage a group, set expectations, and follow through is one of the most valuable lessons they take away from health care MBA courses. A nurse with an MBA can work in several positions.

  • Director of Nursing ($60,397 – $119,725)
  • Nurse Manager ($51,558 – $94,453)
  • Facilities Coordinator ($32,938 – $62,065)
  • HR/Talent Acquisitions ($42,665 – $90,077)
  • Practice Manager ($41,950 – $83,511)
  • Policy Researcher ($39,172 – $79,741)
  • Consultant ($39,149 – $204,25)

Doctors are also well trained on the clinical aspects of healthcare, but often lack understanding of how the business side of healthcare works. Moving into administrative roles in hospitals and other settings can challenge them, but an MBA can help develop the skills necessary to succeed in healthcare management.

Doctors with an MBA can move into leadership roles like:

  • Hospital Administrator ($50,481 – $173,396)
  • Hospital CFO ($67,786 – $217,242)
  • Sourcing Executive ($62,323 – $119,861)
  • Medical Director, Oncology ($100,382 – $295,553)*

For either a doctor or a nurse looking to transition into a more administrative role, the business knowledge gained from an MBA in healthcare management will impact their career significantly.

Leading Change

Change in health care involves more than just triage, diagnosis, and treatment. “now it’s not about getting paid for the antibiotic for your cold,” Dr. Ivan Salgo told the Boston Globe in an article about Doctors Seeking MBAs,2 “but for curing your cold.”

The health care MBA taught Dr. Salgo how to analyze big data, and using that analysis he created a new way to predict cardiac outcomes. “Physicians with business training can help lead the change,” he says.

Curing ailments is not the only way an MBA helps doctors and nurses lead change. Healthcare is a primarily a business, and as the healthcare system undergoes reform, patients have to be treated more like customers who have choices about where they are going to take their business.

Doctors and nurses with an understanding of customer service and business efficiency can lead internal change in practices, decreasing wait times and improving patient experiences.

As physicians age, they are likely to transition into administrative positions, and their understanding of the clinical needs of a hospital or facility are extremely valuable. However, to lead change in administrative policies, they need to speak and understand the language of boardrooms, and an MBA can certainly help them in this area.

Health care professionals who wish to move into leadership roles or management positions should consider an MBA in Health Care Management such as the one offered online by Marylhurst University. Graduates will take away a number of skills that are sure to bring value to the organizations they work for.

*All salary data courtesy http://www.payscale.com/. Salary data may vary greatly by location and the organization a candidate works for. This information is provided only as a general estimate of compensation.