healthcare employees in a meeting
Apr 02, 2019 | Sharon Buchbinder, RN, Ph.D.

In the past, healthcare management students were not required to demonstrate competencies to graduate. They were required to go to lectures, take tests, and pass courses. Over time, however, employers began to question this approach to professional education. Many of the graduates seemed to be heavy on theory and light on real world skills to apply to those theories. Employers were not pleased with the quality of the skills of the applicants coming to them, no matter how high the graduate’s GPA. Many healthcare management education programs have responded to these concerns with competency frameworks and outcomes measures that address this issue.

According to the Healthcare Leadership Alliance (HLA), healthcare leadership and management competencies for healthcare managers fall within five domains.

  • Communication and relationship management
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Knowledge of the healthcare environment
  • Business knowledge and skills

Since these domains can have a wide range of interpretation, specific criteria within each domain are measured. The ideal approach to measuring these competencies includes faculty, classmates, and external stakeholders’ observations. Here are a few examples of these measurable competencies within each domain.

  • Communication and relationship management: Writing Skills: Prepare effective written and business communications
  • Leadership: Ability for Honest Self-assessment: Demonstrate reflection through self-assessment
  • Professionalism: Cultural Competency: Recognize cultural differences and treat everyone with dignity and respect
  • Knowledge of the healthcare environment: Health care issues and trends: Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the health care industry and trends involved in provision, coverage, and access to care
  • Business knowledge and skills: Problem-solving and decision-making: Formulate questions and apply models to address issues and problems

When looking at graduate programs in healthcare management education, here are some questions you should ask.

  • Does the program have a mission, vision and value statement that drives a competency based curriculum?
  • Does the program obtain input into the curriculum from all stakeholders, including employers, community partners, students, alumni, and advisory board members?
  • Does the program use this input to adjust its competencies and curriculum?
  • Does the program directly measure, i.e., assess, these competencies?
  • Does the program address shortcomings when students don’t perform well?
  • Does the program have a strategic plan that incorporates environmental factors?
  • Are the competencies relevant to the populations and communities served?
  • What is the employment rate of the program’s graduates?

The answers to these questions can guide you to find a program that’s a good fit for you. Musician and composer Billy Joel said it well, “I am, as I've said, merely competent. But in an age of incompetence, that makes me extraordinary.”

If you want to become an extraordinary healthcare manager, look for a graduate program that supports your journey to competency mastery and success. Start your journey now with the MS in Healthcare Management at Stevenson University.

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