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Choosing Your Healthcare Leadership Setting

B.E. Smith Team | June 28, 2023

By Debra Wood, RN, contributor

A multitude of leadership roles in healthcare exist in an array of settings, from acute care to physician practices to long-term care. Both permanent jobs and interim leadership positions are available as turnover continues at a high level.  

“Whether working in an in-person hospital setting or for a remote practice, leaders need to be okay with being in the support role, understanding different perspectives, and prioritizing kindness while interfacing [with others],” said Joshua Host, founder of the telehealth platform Thrivelab, in San Clemente, California. 

Finding the right candidate for a leadership position remains vital to the well-being of the organization in all types of healthcare facilities. 

“Those who are most successful are those who know how to listen to their patients’ wants and needs,” said Gina Iovenitti, growth operations manager with Carda Health in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. “While it’s important to be able to multitask and to be detail-oriented, one may argue soft skills are just as important. The ability to work as a team, for instance, ensures there isn’t a missing link in your patients’ care.”

Healthcare leaders must motivate as well as manage, show empathy, communicate well, be flexible, have vision, and be skilled at weighing the facts and making decisions. 

Leadership Roles Across Healthcare Settings

Clinical and nonclinical healthcare management roles exist in a variety of settings. Hospitals typically have a “C-suite,” with chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief strategy officer, chief quality officer, chief human relations officer and chief information officer, in addition to the clinical positions of chief medical officer and chief nursing officer.  

A second layer of healthcare leadership exists in acute care settings, such as nursing directors, directors of marketing, facility management, supply chain, laboratory directors, imaging directors, surgical directors and nursing managers. 

Healthcare management roles in medical practices usually include a business or office manager, perhaps a medical director and, in large practices, senior vice presidents or a director of marketing or supervisor of case management or clinical services.  

In post-acute care, including long-term care facilities, administrators lead the team, which usually includes a director of nursing and department heads.

Throughout the healthcare industry, a variety of leadership opportunities can be found in several types of healthcare facilities. Executive search firms like B.E. Smith can help candidates find the opportunities, facilities and locations that best fit their goals.

Hospital Leadership: Challenges and Rewards

Many leadership opportunities exist in acute-care settings across the country, with high CEO turnover continuing, according to AMN Healthcare’s 2023 report “ Healthcare’s C-Suite Responds to Change: Emerging Roles and Competency Requirements.” Previous AMN Healthcare studies have shown when the chief executive leaves, other C-suite leaders often depart as well. Nearly half of the people in leadership (46 percent) who took part in AMN’s 2022 Healthcare Trends Survey indicated they would potentially make a job move within the next year. 

As of June 20, 2023, <>Becker’s Hospital Review reported that 167 hospital CEOs have already changed positions since the year began.

Clinical leadership roles are gaining in importance. In addition to traditional responsibilities, leaders in the hospital and health system settings are dealing with telehealth, value-based care payments, an emphasis on the patient experience, and shortages of clinical and allied personnel. 

New positions have developed to address these issues, such as chief clinical transformation officers, chief patient experience officers and chief wellness officers, who lead efforts to reduce burnout among the staff, according to the AMN report. 

Amid the challenges, the rewards are many as hospital leaders play a role in improving patient outcomes and satisfaction with their care. 

Leadership Opportunities in Primary and Specialty Care

Leadership roles in healthcare include clinic and primary care business and/or office managers and medical directors. Healthcare management roles include dealing with insurance contracts, ensuring prompt and accurate billing and revenue tracking, while supervising employees and throughput. 

Primary care and specialty clinics lack the multiple layers of management in a hospital or healthcare system. Healthcare leaders in this setting are often required to be more “hands-on” than in some acute care positions. 

Leadership Roles in Post-Acute Care

Long-term care settings such as rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes often include top administrators and some nursing leaders. Nursing home administrators lead nursing homes. They must take a qualification examination. Clinical and nonclinical supervisors and department heads report to the nursing home administrator. 

Leaders in long-term care facilities must be prepared to juggle constant changes in regulations and reimbursement policies, create a welcoming environment for patients and families, and minimize the rate of staff turnover. An August 2022 report by the Long-term Care Community Coalition showed that the average nursing home turns over more than 53 percent of its staff in a year.

CEOs and directors of home care and hospice lead their respective agencies. Executives in this healthcare arena are responsible for growth and oversight of the overall business, strategy and operations, while providing inspiration company-wide.

Leaders in home health and hospice organizations need to remain alert to quickly take advantage of opportunities in a marketplace that is rapidly changing to bring more care into the home. For instance, >InsightAce Analytic projects a global hospital-at-home market compound annual growth rate of 47 percent from 2023 to 2031. 

Finding a Healthcare Leadership Job in Your Ideal Setting

Depending on each person’s leadership style, job goals and personal tastes, an abundance of leadership jobs in various healthcare facilities are available, including at new entities in the telehealth and retail spaces. 

Finding the right fit may take time, but the experienced recruiters at B.E. Smith, an AMN Healthcare company, are here to help. Both permanent and interim leadership positions are available. Placements for interim leaders give candidates an opportunity to explore different settings and locations, while organizations benefit from the new perspectives and talents an interim appointee can bring. 

Contact a B.E. Smith recruiter to take the next step in your healthcare leadership career.



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