Going into Healthcare Operations and Management as a Graduate

There are more sides to the healthcare industry than just the doctors and nurses that we see – there is the operations and management side too, and it requires a different skill set.
Gradsingapore Author Team
The gradsingapore Team

An essential part of the healthcare sector, healthcare operations and management is what keeps every aspect of the healthcare system in Singapore running effectively and smoothly, from budgeting to hospitals and the ambulances on the road. Ensconced behind the scenes, nothing short of an army of professionals ensure systems are operating well, buildings are secure and both staff and patients are happy and healthy.

With more and more hospitals and nursing homes to open in Singapore, the healthcare operations and management scene is proving to be a dynamic one, and is a wonderful place for graduates to commence their career path in management and improving the lives of those on the frontline as well as patient treatment.

Areas of work

Because this part of the healthcare industry is so broad, you don’t necessarily need a degree or an academic background related to healthcare to get into healthcare management, and organisations usually recruit graduates with leadership qualities to manage areas much like human resources and facilities.

Singapore’s healthcare system is grouped into three clusters – known as the Central, Eastern and Western regions – and while these clusters make up the biggest graduate employer, other options in the private sector are available.

Entering the industry

While there are no graduate schemes in Singapore for healthcare management and operations, SingHealth – the biggest public healthcare group in Singapore – offers the Healthcare Management Executive Programme.

On the other hand, the other way to get into the industry is to directly apply for an entry-level graduate job in the organisation and area you are looking at. Training may be taken on in-house or in-service, especially if the role is supervisory or managerial.

Qualifications and skills

Most employers look for a good degree in any discipline, though a related qualification may give you an advantage – for example, a degree in business or finance may help you clinch a position in finance in healthcare management.

However, as most jobs in healthcare require teamwork, showing a prospective employer that you are willing to collaborate as well as are warm and approachable is essential. Empathy and good judgement are also needed as in the future, you may need to make tough decisions – budgets mean that all new projects or treatments may not be within reach and you may need to make a choice. Customer focus is also important as the patient in this sector is the most important factor, as is the commitment to helping people and continuously trying to improve their lives.