What is a Hierarchy in healthcare?
Currently, most health-care organisations, including the National Health Service (NHS), use a hierarchical, pyramidal leadership structure. Hierarchical leadership is defined as “a clearly defined chain of command from the lowest to the highest levels of an organisation.”
Structure of Hierarchy in healthcare.
Larger businesses and organisations typically have a hierarchical structure. It is based on different levels of authority and a chain of command that connects multiple management levels within the organisation. The decision-making process is typically formal and top-down.
What is the hospital hierarchy?
The hospital hierarchy varies depending on location, but generally consists of the general manager and medical directors at the top and medical assistants at the bottom.
The following is a list of the typical hospital hierarchy, beginning with senior positions and progressing to lower-level roles:
- Manager in charge:
A hospital’s administration is overseen by this top-tier hospital official. They are in charge of creating and implementing hospital policies that promote patient safety and recovery. They are also responsible for the financial stability of a hospital in terms of budgets and the operational sustainability of various departments within the hospital.
- Medical executives:
Many large hospitals have multiple medical directors, whereas smaller hospitals may only have one or two. Medical directors are responsible for developing safe and effective healthcare policies.
They should always strive for high patient care quality. Medical directors oversee nearly every aspect of inpatient and outpatient care. Some may be in charge of specific teams of specialised doctors, while others may be in charge of more general care. Every physician in a hospital reports to a medical director as their immediate superior.
- Department head:
Department heads are doctors who specialise in specific areas of medicine, such as orthopaedics, oncology, and paediatrics. In hospital settings, these are the leaders of these fields of medicine.
They may devise and coordinate medical strategies, and then attending physicians follow their lead. They may also fill in for an attending physician if that physician is occupied by an emergency or a more serious matter.
- Attending physician:
In a hospital setting, attending physicians are senior doctors. They are the doctors in charge of the patients’ treatment plans. All attending physicians have at least three years of residency experience, and the majority work in specialised fields.
- Nurse Practitioner:
A nurse practitioner typically works directly with patients and is in charge of providing urgent, primary, and specialty care to a specific population.
This includes, among other things, children, women, and the elderly. Their responsibilities include documenting and tracking patient medical histories, collecting patient samples and data, ordering lab tests, and performing a variety of direct patient tasks.
- Pharmacist in a hospital:
A pharmacist dispenses prescription medications to patients and advises them on how to use their medications safely. They may also perform health and wellness screenings, administer immunisations, and supervise the medications given to patients in the hospital.
- Specialist in clinical nursing;
A clinical nurse specialist may order tests, make diagnoses, administer basic treatments, and, in some states, prescribe medications for patients in a hospital setting. Aside from that, they may provide expertise and support to a nursing team.
- Nurse technician:
A nurse tech has additional medical training beyond that of a regular nurse. This enables them to take on more technical and diverse tasks. They insert catheters, remove stitches or staples, and operate advanced medical monitoring equipment.
- Registered nurse:
In a hospital, a registered nurse, or RN, is responsible for a wide range of tasks.
These activities include preparing patients for exams and treatments, administering medications, operating and monitoring medical equipment, educating patients and their family members on treatment, and supervising practical and vocational nurses.
- Assisting in the medical field:
Medical assistants are among the lowest-level positions in hospitals. Their job entails a variety of administrative tasks. They might be tasked with contacting patients to set up appointments or follow-up care. Medical assistants also assist with bookkeeping and billing. The majority of their work is done at a desk.
Why is hierarchy good in healthcare?
A hierarchy’s basic function is to help us make sense of the world, simplify information, and make decisions. Consider it in terms of evolution: When someone said, “Throw the spear now to take down the mammoth,” it was important to acknowledge their leadership.
An effective hierarchy holds leaders accountable for results and makes provisions for replacing failed leaders with new ones, sometimes through internal promotion. That is how hierarchy, including owners, managers, and employees, ultimately serves the success of the organisation as a whole.
What is the purpose of hierarchy in healthcare?
The higher an employee is in the hierarchical structure, the greater their level of authority. Authority is required wherever leadership is required. Authority ensures that everyone reporting to a manager will work towards the organisation’s goals — or face discipline.