Roles and Functions in Healthcare Management

Healthcare management has been defined in the literature as the profession that is primarily concerned with the provision of leadership and directions not only to institutions that deliver personal healthcare services but also to the various components, entities, and sections that are usually found within those institutions (Buchbinder & Thompson, 2009). Because healthcare managers are appointed to positions of authority with the intended objective of enabling them to make and implement important decisions (Plsek & Wilson, 2004), this paper attempts to define the roles and application of management functions that are instrumental for contemporary healthcare managers in assisting them to make and affect these decisions.

Healthcare managers implement a multiplicity of management functions as they carry that the process of management, with the most important functions consisting of planning, organizing, staffing, and decision making (Buchbinder & Thompson, 2009). In terms of application in the management of others, it is important to note that the planning function requires the healthcare manager to determine organizational priorities and set performance targets, with the view to coming up with an appropriate direction for the organization towards the accomplishment of set goals and objectives. The organizing management function is important not only in allowing healthcare managers to comprehend the overall design of the organization or the specific division, unit, or service for which they are responsible, but also in designating reporting relationships, designing internal patterns of interaction, as well as determining positions, team assignments, and distribution of authority and responsibility (Buchbinder & Thompson, 2009; Lombardi & Schermerhorn, 2007).

The staffing function applies in the management of others as it is primarily concerned with acquiring and retaining human resources, as well as developing and maintaining the workforce through the application of various strategies and approaches. Lastly, the decision-making function is critical especially in terms of making effective decisions concerning employees and the organization and implementing them based on consideration of advantages and the disadvantages of alternatives (Lombardi & Schermerhorn, 2007; Plsek & Wilson, 2004).

Healthcare managers undertake multiple roles in practice settings, such as facilitating the management of talent, ensuring high performance, and guaranteeing effective succession planning in the organization or unit (Buchbinder & Thompson, 2009). While these roles have their own merits, it is argued here that the most important role for a healthcare manager and leader in the diversified healthcare industry entails ensuring that high levels of performance are met and sustained. The overarching objectives of most healthcare managers in contemporary healthcare contexts include maintaining a high quality of care and ensuring that patient needs are successfully met. However, these objectives cannot be successfully met in a low-performance environment, thus the need for managers to develop specific, measurable, meaningful, and time-oriented goals which will ensure that high performance is achieved and maintained in critical spheres of governance and strategic management, clinical quality, clinical organization, financial planning, human resources, and information services, among others (Lombardi & Schermerhorn, 2007).

Lastly, on a personal account, I would like to gain useful insights into how I can develop the capacity to lead and influence others without necessarily employing a lot of control mechanisms to force compliance. Although the control function is equally important for healthcare managers, it may lead to disempowered staff, high turnover levels, and low job satisfaction if the manager employs oppressive mechanisms to monitor staff activities and performance (Plsek & Wilson, 2004). By taking this class, I intend to gain knowledge that will assist me in effectively controlling staff members using approaches and mechanisms that will only enhance their motivation and wellbeing rather than disempowering them. This way, the management role of ensuring high performance will be attained with much ease.


Buchbinder, S.B., & Thompson, J.M. (2009). Career opportunities in healthcare management: Perspectives from the field. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC.

Lombardi, D.N., & Schermerhorn, J.R. (2007). Healthcare management: Tools and techniques for managing in healthcare environment. Hoboken, NJ: John Willey & Sons.

Plsek, P.E., & Wilson, T. (2004). Complexity, leadership, and management in healthcare organisations. British Medical Journal, 323(7315), 746-749.

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