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Medical superintendents supervise the everyday operations of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes. They focus on improving the quality of patient care by ensuring the facilities are well-staffed and finances well-managed. This career is suitable for professionals with excellent administrative skills and a background in healthcare administration.
Using the Necessary Skills
Medical superintendents occupy a position of leadership. As such, they require strong leadership and supervisory skills to guide and manage a healthcare facility's workers. Planning and problem-solving skills are crucial to these superintendents as well, because their work involves directing and coordinating a variety of health and medical services, as well as providing solutions to the day-to-day challenges that healthcare organizations face. Medical superintendents also require good communication and interpersonal skills to interact productively with healthcare practitioners, such as doctors and nurses.
Managing Facility Operations
The main duty of a medical superintendent is to ensure the healthcare facility operates efficiently. In a newly established eye hospital, for example, the superintendent may begin by setting the facility's operational strategies. This involves setting the working hours for the facility's staff, developing institutional policies and working procedures, and establishing prices for various healthcare services. She will then oversee the recruitment of practitioners such as optometrists, orthoptists and vision scientists, and other workers. After the hospital begins receiving clients, the superintendent will periodically authorize the purchase of medical supplies and inspect buildings to ensure they meet safety requirements.
Meeting Legal Requirements
Since the healthcare industry is heavily regulated, medical superintendents have a duty to ensure all operations in healthcare facilities adhere to relevant health laws. To achieve this, they must monitor legal changes affecting the healthcare industry or hire compliance officers to do the job. Medical superintendents also maintain communication between the facilities and local and state medical governing boards, and attend meetings and industry conferences. Effective superintendents must also keep up with technological developments in the healthcare field.
Getting There and Getting On
Prospective medical superintendents must obtain a bachelor’s degree in health administration and management, public health or a closely related field. Employers also often consider practicing nurses with a diploma in nursing administration for this position. Medical superintendents can obtain the healthcare facility manager certification, which is offered by the American Hospital Association, to enhance their job competence. They can also complete a master’s degree in health or business administration to qualify for employment in large hospitals. Other medical superintendents can secure jobs as health services managers in government departments, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.