A day in the life of a Practice Manager.
So you want to be a Practice Manager?
It’s an exciting role, with a lot of responsibility and plenty of career rewards. Unless you’ve specifically looked into becoming a Practice Manager, you might not even know that the role exists.
A Practice Manager is one of the most critical and highly valued members of the team in any practice. Whether that’s a general practitioner’s office, a medical clinic, department of a hospital or another healthcare institution, a Practice Manager is the glue that keeps the whole operation together.
Also known as Medical Managers, Healthcare Administrators or Healthcare Executives, a Practice Manager holds an important role and is depended upon by patients and practicing medical professionals alike.
What does a Practice Manager do?
A Practice Manager’s role can differ widely depending on the business they’re working for. Generally, a Practice Manager’s job involves implementing standard policies and procedures that keep the practice running smoothly, while also responding to any unexpected issues that regularly crop up.
Staffing and scheduling usually fall under the role of the Practice Manager, sometimes along with other human resource requirements such as managing leave and even onboarding new employees.
In many smaller practices, some financial tasks will be dealt with by the Practice Manager, such as managing the revenue cycle, overseeing different budgets and ensuring that the practice has all the necessary resources to continue operating effectively.
Privacy and security management is a large part of the Practice Manager’s role. They’re responsible for ensuring that patient records are kept confidential and overseeing the policies that allow its release to the right people when required.
Some business management and analysis tasks are often expected of Practice Managers. This can include suggesting ways in which to lower overheads, improve operating efficiency and increase the overall margins of the business.
Many Practice Managers are responsible for a number of other staff within the organisation. This can include medical receptionists, secretaries and clerical workers who handle medical billing and relationships with insurance companies and other third parties. These management responsibilities mean that any Practice Manager needs to be prepared to handle disputes between employees as well as any other staff grievances.
The buck stops with the Practice Manager. As a result, they need to be able to step into other roles to cover for employees or when the practice is short-staffed. Understanding aspects of every administrative role within the organisation will greatly assist a Practice Manager in carrying out their responsibilities.
What skills do you need to be a Practice Manager?
Much like Office Managers, Practice Managers need a wide variety of skills, many of which are taught while earning their qualifications. However, some of the most important skills required can be transferred from other roles.
Practice Managers take on a number of responsibilities each day to ensure the running of a clinic, hospital, dental practice or community health establishment. Find out what skills do you need to be a Practice Manager in our previous blog post!
Administration and Management
As voted by employers, administration and management skills are the most important for a Practice Manager. Understanding basic administrative processes and having the ability to manage people in an office place go a long way in excelling in the role as a Practice Manager.
English Language Skills
Understanding the English language, including basic grammar, composition, and spelling is an important aspect of managing a healthcare practice. Composing emails, internal communications and managing correspondence with patients and third parties are all common tasks for a Practice Manager.
Customer and Personal Service
In small practices, the Practice Manager may be the face of the organisation. They’ll deal with patients scheduling appointments and processing payments. Understanding customer needs, providing a high level of service and seeking to improve customer satisfaction levels are all part and parcel of managing a practice.
Managing patient records and filing systems, transcribing orders, and data processing are a large part of daily life for Practice Managers. Having a good understanding of basic clerical work will help greatly in getting through each day without additional difficulties.
Personnel and Human Resources
The Practice Manager is often responsible for human resources within an office. This includes recruiting new employees and training them in their roles. In addition, a Practice Manager needs to be able to manage a number of employees and their requirements (annual leave and sick leave).
Monitoring this, and ensuring scheduling keeps the office adequately staffed is critical to avoid unnecessary hiccups that can affect patient experience and medical practitioners’ ability to do their jobs.
Dispute resolution can also be a part of the Practice Manager’s role. Because they take on all of the responsibilities often attributed to a human resources manager, the Practice Manager will need to be able to set an example and maintain harmony in the organisation.
What is the Job Outlook for Practice Managers?
According to the Australian Government Department of Employment, there are over 27,000 people employed as Practice Managers across Australia. The past five years have seen a strong, above-trend increase in the number of jobs available, with 31,300 new jobs expected to open by May 2022.
The workforce is mature, with the average Practice Manager at 49 years old. This may drive further job openings as the current generation retires. Average earnings hover around $1,200 per week and are greatly influenced by experience in the role.
What qualifications do you need to be a Practice Manager?
You don’t necessarily need a university degree to work in the medical industry, and gaining a job as a Practice Manager is no exception. A HLT57715 Diploma of Practice Management is the ideal qualification to position yourself for a career as a Practice Manager. It will prepare you for the daily challenges you’ll face when you’re employed, and equip you with the industry-relevant skills that will allow you to excel.
You’ll study a range of courses relating to professional development, risk management, team leadership, recruitment and induction, human resources, budgeting and performance management. Furthermore, you’ll get an introduction to working in a healthcare environment, such as understanding medical terminology and legal and ethical compliance.