Healthcare Project Manager Career Skills

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Faced with an ultra-competitive labor market and with unemployment expected to rise, it's becoming harder to stand out from the growing pile of resumes. Many of the unemployed are considering learning a new skill to gain an advantage or to cross over to another field. Many people have certain skill sets that are already transferable to project management.

Project Management Is a "Hot" Career

In a ranking by U.S. News & World Report, project management was seen as the third most valued skill by employers, behind only leadership and business analysis. Kiplinger's Magazine ranked project management as one of the Top 10 Hot Careers to have in 2010-2020. This might take job seekers by surprise, but according to Anderson Economic Group, project management is a discipline being adopted in almost every industry, including healthcare. Unemployed workers who want to cross into other fields should look at their skill set and see what their strengths are and what areas need to be developed.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) outlined six project management skills that are transferable and will give you an edge over other candidates who may also seek a transition into the healthcare field in a project management role.

Communication Skills and Teamwork

The core of good project management revolves around the interactions of the team and their communications. Establishing lines of communication that run up and down the command chain, across the team and out to all stakeholders can increase a project’s success rate. This is also a skill that is needed in almost every industry, but especially in healthcare, where care teams consist of a wide range of professionals with varying backgrounds and education levels.

As a project manager, you may need to communicate with everyone from janitors, to physicians, to hospital CEOs in an effective way.

Risk Management

Many people just identify a risk. But the important questions: “What is the potential impact of the risk” and “Who ‘owns’ the problem and will be responsible for resolving it?” are the questions that need to be asked. A strong project manager will always assess the risk and create a plan to mitigate the chance for risk and detect future risks. The risk is involved in all industries — information technology (IT), construction, professional services, but especially in healthcare, where so many human lives are at stake at a facility, at any given time.

Team and Individual Leadership

The ability to lead individuals on your team and within the organization is critical, as is the ability to lead a cohesive team and direct them on a long-term project toward a successful conclusion.

In healthcare project management, you will be required to lead a group of individuals of varying degrees of experience and education. Therefore, you must be able to lead many different personalities and intellects.

Conflict Resolution

There will always be differences to resolve, and is skilled at resolving conflict can lead to personal and professional growth. People who are skilled at conflict resolution often have increased understanding and awareness of the situation and their colleagues’ goals. They also develop stronger mutual respect and a renewed faith in their ability to work together, which sharpens focus and enhances effectiveness.

Negotiation and Influencing

Negotiation skills are needed in almost every area of work and project management. Compromise is often required, and being able to influence people in helping them make mutually beneficial decisions is part of the job.

Organization and Planning

Business operations are ongoing; projects come and go. It is important to see how individual projects fit with an organization’s overall goals in order to plan accordingly. Almost all projects are subject to some sort of timetable, scope, and budget that need to be considered. With the appropriate planning and organization skills, you will be able to manage a project all the way through to completion while also benefitting the organization’s bottom line.

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