Interpersonal Skills for Healthcare Managers

Healthcare management involves interfacing with a variety of people and personalities. It also requires a knowledge base that covers both the business and medical operations of healthcare organizations. Without solid people skills, these leaders will fail to resolve conflict and inspire confidence in their workforce.

An advanced business degree with a focus in healthcare management will equip professionals with the necessary skills to lead healthcare organizations with an entrepreneurial approach that has employees’ and patients’ best interests in mind.

Mitigating the Risk of Miscommunication

What makes a successful healthcare manager? It is essential to possess a set of communication and interpersonal skills that allow everyone involved to understand the vast complexities of the industry. This entails a desire to advocate for both colleagues and patients. When managers can effectively communicate with their staff, patient errors do not occur and their lives are not put at risk. However, miscommunication between managers and nursing staff can cause big mistakes.

According to Medical GPS, research by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that “the majority of medical errors are due to communication failures. Medication errors were found to be the most common communication-driven mistakes, accounting for over 50% of all medical errors.”

Mixing up patients’ medications or erroneous treatments can lead to problems that put lives at stake. Certain medications do not mix well with others and can cause a patient’s condition to worsen. In addition to medical errors, though, these communication mistakes also put the hospital or health system at risk for legal ramifications.

Alternatively, avoiding medication errors allows patients to perceive their care as satisfactory. This fosters their trust in a healthcare team, thus increasing the likelihood they will adhere to their treatment protocols — both in the hospital and when they return home.

Clear communication also ensures essential information is neither omitted nor misinterpreted by other nurses within the facility. It can be stressful when there are many tasks to complete throughout the day, as well as many patients to monitor. However, the most efficient healthcare managers get their job done while establishing a communication-first environment for their employees.

Skills for Real-World Applications

The most important skill healthcare managers need in their toolkit is being able to speak to patients in a manner that informs their condition but also keeps them at ease. Of course, anyone can “inform” the patient, but what makes an effective manager stand out is the ability to relay this information in a way that makes the individual feel comfortable.

Chron states, “in many cases, patients are nervous, scared and anxious when they meet with a doctor or nurse. If the healthcare professional can explain what is happening to them and what they can expect, it helps the patient to have more confidence in their care.”

In most cases, it is beneficial to simplify specific pieces of information. Many patients will not know the medical terminology for specific illnesses or diseases and will need the nurse or manager to speak in terms they can comprehend.

Still, it’s crucial for the patient to fully understand what is going on and what their treatment and recovery options are. This allows the patient to be more involved in their care because they form a bond with their healthcare team. No patient wants to be kept in the dark, even if they don’t know certain medical terms.

Ready to Move Up? Earn Your MBA With a Focus on Healthcare Management

Those who wish to further their career in management — and hone interpersonal skills — will benefit from earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Those enrolled in the MBA with a Specialization in Healthcare Management online program at Youngstown State University will learn to combine a broad managerial business background with specific leadership skills applicable to all healthcare industry segments.

Students will examine the supply-and-demand nature of healthcare services while also analyzing various aspects of planning and fiscal management across the evolving healthcare marketplace. The program allows all students to develop their interpersonal skills by applying best practices in a variety of professional contexts.

For example, the program’s Leadership course explores situations in which students can apply their own approaches to managing, leadership and followership. Likewise, in the Planning and Fiscal Management in Health and Human Services course, students develop their own strategic management plan, one that is collaborative and community oriented.

With the program’s accelerated nature, students can complete the program in as few as 12 months. Upon graduation, each future healthcare manager will obtain the knowledge required to take on increasing managerial and leadership responsibilities within the industry, improving the patient experience.

Learn more about Youngstown State University’s online MBA with a Specialization in Healthcare Management program.

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