Clinical managers may come to the position with a nursing degree and a history in medical care or they may simply be drawn to working as a manager or administrator in the healthcare field. A professional in this role is responsible for running a healthcare facility, whether it’s an outpatient clinic or an inpatient or other department of a hospital.
As a clinical manager, you’ll need to be highly versatile. One minute, you may be leading a meeting and in the next you may be called to a patient examining room to help a medical professional clarify some concerns the patient has. You’ll also monitor the volume of patients in the clinic so you can manage numbers and be required to ensure that each patient is receiving the best care possible.
In your role, budgets, policy implementation, and purchasing are a large part of your day. You may occasionally sit down with your clinical staff members to discuss areas for improvement.
What is a Clinical Manager?
As stated before, in this career path you would be in a management position overseeing either an entire clinic or one department of a larger healthcare facility. You’ll be responsible for establishing clinical work policy. Then, you ensure that it is upheld by clinic employees and professionals. You establish the clinic’s goals (patient care, improving the practice) and you also determine procedures for your department. You may be required to evaluate the quality of each staff member’s work and you’ll work on the clinic’s budget, which involves developing a budget for the upcoming calendar or fiscal year. You may not develop, but you will need to review financial reports. Even if you don’t have a medical or nursing degree, you can still gain the qualifications to work as a clinical nurse manager.
As a clinical director, you may be responsible for leading the clinic’s staff care facilities in areas such as service improvement, clinic operations, ensuring compliance with accreditation standards, creating a collaborative relationship with clinicians (doctors, medical director, or regional partner), and starting the development of or revision of policies and procedures related to patient care.
You’ll manage clinic personnel and you may work to recruit new staff, create and carry out staffing models, ensure that ongoing feedback is happening regarding how effective each staffer is in their position, find clinical learning opportunities for students completing internships in your facility and monitor their performance alongside medical and nursing faculty. You will also support the planning of clinical research as needed, evaluate the use of clinic rooms, and recommend improvements.
Clinical Manager Educational Requirements
You’re required to earn at least a bachelor’s degree to be employed in a medical clinic as its clinical manager. A Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences provides you with the tools and education you need to work in this profession.
If you have a goal of earning a Master of Science in Health Sciences, some universities do have an accelerated, dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in this field. You will be able to earn both degrees in less time than if you had gone the traditional route. A traditional pathway takes close to six years.
Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management (BA or BS-HM)
This degree will help you understand what’s needed to run a healthcare facility, which covers government regulation, patient care and quality of care, and much more. For some of your classes you can choose to do online classes and training or from a traditional university.
- Introduction to Healthcare Management I
- Healthcare Terminology
- Healthcare Law
- Professionalism & Communications in the Healthcare Setting
- Medical And Health Services
- Leadership Skills
- Leadership Development
Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BS-HS)
This degree would be a good step for those who already have an associate degree in the same field or with to build on their experience in health sciences as lab techs, nurses, radiographers, or therapists. It builds critical thinking skills, problem solving, and leadership capacity.
- Health Science Leadership
- Management of Human Resources in Health Sciences Organizations
- Finance for Health Care Managers
- Finance for Health Care Managers
Bachelor of Science in Business-Healthcare Management
Earning a BS in Business with a focus on healthcare management provides the skills you’ll need to lead a clinic in the healthcare discipline. You’ll learn and practice risk management, quality assurance, and understand overall healthcare operations.
- Fundamentals of Leadership
- Evidence-Based Healthcare Management
- Foundations and Future of Healthcare Delivery Management
- Business Administration
- Cultural Competence in Healthcare
Master’s in Healthcare Administration
By earning your master’s in healthcare administration, you’ll not only be able to lead a clinic, you’ll also be able to advance to an executive position within clinical leadership.
Today and well into the future, healthcare is growing rapidly. By deciding you want both a leadership role and to be an executive in the clinical organization, you’ll be able to offer your employer continuity and expertise in leadership and management.
If you’re not interested in working directly in a nursing or medical position, then working as a healthcare administrator may be the right choice for you. In your master’s degree program, you’ll be exposed to informatics, finance, economics, policy, law, and strategic planning. Healthcare administrators are required to bring with them a willingness to abide by a set of ethics and principles that filter down to management and department supervisors, as well as clinicians.
A master’s in healthcare administration also teaches you to use your leadership and communication skills as your clinic develops or revises its mission statement and creates new strategic goals.
- Healthcare Informatics
- Marketing, Communications Strategies, and Outreach
- Global Health and Diversity
- Healthcare Quality and Improvement
- Health Policy and Law
- Healthcare Finance and Reimbursement
- Medical And Health Services
- Clinical Leadership
Similar Roles to a Clinical Manager
Healthcare manager, clinic manager, clinic administrator, hospital healthcare manager - whatever your job title is, your management role may differ depending on the skills and roles the executive directors say they need. You may be responsible for administering an entire facility or you may manage the hospitals entire department. You will also need to have some basic understanding and training for technology and computer basics in a management role of this nature.
As a healthcare manager, you are at the forefront of planning and coordinating the health services your clinic offers to patients. Depending on your exact position, you may also manage the office itself. Generally, you will set accessible goals for your clinic or department, improve its efficiency, and ensure it is up to date on the newest laws or regulations governing healthcare.
You may hire and supervise staff, create work schedules, and work with department heads if you manage an entire clinic. Perhaps one of the most important responsibilities you carry involves monitoring clinic budgets and making sure billing operations accurately and in a timely manner.
Is it possible to move from a nursing position into a healthcare management role? It definitely is. With nursing experience, you’ll hold a unique knowledge that will serve you and your clinic well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the US will need more than one million new registered nurses just to keep up with demand and replace retired nurses. As a nurse manager, you may be a part of hiring nurses who have the skills you need.
In your nurse manager role, you’ll supervise newer nurses in either a clinic or hospital. You’ll review patient care, plan and schedule meetings, make personnel decisions, make budget and management decisions, and create new work schedules.
While you may not have nursing or medical experience, you’ll need to hold an appreciation for the work that doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, and radiographers do to succeed in this position. Being in a leadership role, you’ll let the medical professionals do their work while you administer the clinic in which all of you are employed.
While you may not have contact with patients every day, you are still able to make a positive impact on their lives by managing the hospital or clinic in such a way that they receive the healthcare they need.
As you administer a health clinic, no matter what services it provides, it’s one of your jobs to make it as easy as possible for patients to navigate all departments, from triage to billing. Meeting this goal means you are making a positive change in their lives.
As you set a goal to make the healthcare experience as positive as possible, you’ll have these responsibilities: making sure your clinic is complying with legal regulations, internal policies, and medical rules; overseeing the staff, human resources policies (hiring, scheduling, and performance reviews); monitoring record keeping, health informatics, and hiring policies; overseeing patient care experiences; and managing the finances of the clinic.
Hospital Healthcare Manager
Working in this environment, you will be busy every day that you are on duty. You may manage a unit that has issues with understaffing and work to restructure the nursing personnel or schedule to help fix the issue. You’ll coordinate doctors and nurses so that patient needs are met quickly.
Certification and Continuing Education Requirements for Clinical Managers
Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) Certified Medical Manager
This certification and exam have been recognized across the country as being the example of excellence for clinical managers. When clinical managers take the examination, they are being evaluated for their knowledge within 18 areas of the administration of medical practice.
These areas include financial management and human resources management, among others. If you take and pass this exam, you and future employers will know that you possess the skills you need to manage a healthcare clinic. The PAHCOM CMM study course and exam are a good choice for you as you decide what certification you’re going to need.
Once you receive your certification, you possess the knowledge and experience you need to administer an ambulatory health clinic and it shows you are committed to managing any clinic so that it offers the best in healthcare and that you support the healthcare administration standards as established by PAHCOM.
Certified Medical Manager
American Institute of Health Care Professionals (AIHCP)
Certified Health Care Manager
AIHCP makes available a high-quality and comprehensive continuing education and certification program intended for healthcare managers who are qualified to study for and take the exam. The material in the program has been designed for both healthcare professionals and paraprofessionals who are seeking to add skills and knowledge to their resumes.
The program is aimed specifically for front-line managers and healthcare managers who administer the healthcare roles for that department. Once earned, the certification allows certified healthcare managers to be highly competitive in this sector of the job market.
The certification program’s objectives are to offer high-quality credentials for healthcare professionals and paraprofessionals. It also creates quality standards and requirements for recertification of members who are already certified. This allows healthcare managers to continue pursuing both skill and education attainment in healthcare management.
In addition, the program offers a bevy of seminars, continuing education, independent study, and other educational activities, which helps to ensure that high quality standards are consistently met.
Licensure is not required for clinical managers who come from a non-medical field. Because they hold specific management responsibilities, they may be required to earn certification that is specific to clinical managers. In their role, they establish and ensure policies and procedures are met, develop budgets and written reports, and evaluate staffers’ work.
Some clinics may require that clinical manager applicants hold a professional license as either a social worker or registered nurse; if, for instance, they will be hired as a nurse manager, they’ll need to maintain their licensure continuously.
Not every health clinic requires their clinic managers to be certified. However, if they opt for certification, this will likely make them more attractive to hiring facilities.
Clinical Manager Salary and Career Outlook
The career outlook for medical and health services managers is sitting at a growth rate of 18%, which is much more rapid than that of any other single occupation in the US. One factor for this is the aging of the baby boomer population, along with the increasing tendency of people to stay active into their later years. Both of these combine to create a higher demand for healthcare overall.
This demand drives a need for healthcare workers and doctors, healthcare facilities, and various medical procedures. Clinical managers organize medical staff and medical information for the patients they are sworn to care for. Healthcare professionals may work long hours, evenings, and/or weekends due to the ongoing demand for services. Healthcare professionals may need to remain on-call to handle after-hours emergencies for patients as well.
The overall average annual salary of a clinical manager is $71,000. Their early-career salary average is $48,000 and their late-career average salary is $90,000.