Women in Healthcare Administration: Attaining Leadership Roles
Women are stepping into new leadership roles, and the face of health care is far more diverse than it was fifty or even ten years ago. Nearly 80% of healthcare workers are women. In the area of health care administration specifically, the number of women in executive roles continues to grow.
However, women are still under-represented in the highest areas of health care leadership. In addition, according to a 2008 report by the Journal of Healthcare Management, there is still inconsistency in salaries received by men and women working in healthcare administration.
According to a survey conducted by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), women executives are more likely than men to work as a department head or other staff member. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to fill roles such as chief executive officer (CEO), president, or vice president. Over a fifteen-year period represented by ACHE's surveys, the proportion of female CEOs did not improve significantly. Similarly, over that fifteen-year period, the salary gap between men male and female healthcare executives did not diminish significantly.
Another study, conducted by the University of Michigan, examined the gender of chief hospital administrators in the United States. The 100 hospitals used in the study were hand-picked for their progressiveness and high quality. Only 24% of chief administrators at these hospitals were women. Over 60% of the hospitals employed only one or no women chief administrators. Only 15 of the hospitals had a female CEO.
What might be the reasons for women's underrepresentation in top healthcare administrative roles, as well as for the discrepancy in salary? According to the Journal of Healthcare Management, current research seems to indicate that "gender differences in mentoring and leadership succession planning are key barriers that need to be addressed." Perhaps healthcare needs to invest more time and effort toward mentoring opportunities and leadership development for women.
In the absence of an infrastructure that provides opportunities for women to move into top administrative positions on par with their male counterparts, women have been creating these opportunities for themselves. The "A-team" was created in the mid-1980s when a small group of female healthcare professionals decided to develop a strategy to help one another attain top administrative positions within their healthcare organizations. In a few short years, nearly half of the women were CEOs. Today, dozens of similar groups provide support, concrete guidance and key information to female healthcare professionals.
Regardless of the present gender imbalance in healthcare administration, men and women all have to go through the same programs, pass the same exams, and gain the same types of experience in order to qualify for administrative roles. Women who are just starting out in healthcare administration can give themselves a head start by planning their career goals, while staying flexible to the changing needs of the health industry.
For example, women who want to become nurse administrators and advance significantly in their career will need a Master's degree in Nursing, so it makes sense to plan their educational path in the most efficient way possible. Nursing degree programs include many options, such as LPN to RN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN and RN to MSN. The appropriate degree program should be selected in the context of one's ultimate career goals, rather than momentary convenience or cost.
Many women are choosing online healthcare administration degree programs to achieve the needed educational qualifications to move into management roles. This is a wise move, as online degree programs typically take less time to complete and frequently offer more personal attention and a higher caliber of practical content.
As healthcare administration starts to overcome the key barriers that have contributed to the decade-spanning stagnation of women's roles, more leadership roles will become available for female healthcare workers. In order to be prepared for those roles, women entering health care should focus on attaining the best education possible.
Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare career school—and students are at the heart of everything we do.
100% Online & No Standardized Testing
- Doctor of Business Administration: Healthcare Management
- MS: Human Performance: Clinical
- MS in Exercise Science: Nutrition and Wellness
You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.
At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to: www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures
- Bachelor's (BBA) - Healthcare Management
- MBA - Healthcare Management
- Master's Healthcare Management
Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults.
Located in Fairfax, Virginia, George Mason University is the largest public research university in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Saint Joseph’s University is a comprehensive, regionally accredited university. Our national rankings and AACSB accreditation in the Haub School indicate the high quality of our undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs both online and on campus. Guided by a faculty committed to both teaching and scholarship, students develop intellectually, spiritually and emotionally through a unique curriculum, and advanced study in a chosen discipline.
The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs. You can choose one of six degree programs from a selective institution ranked among the top 10 master’s universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.