Becoming a Pediatric Clinic Manager - Education, Training & Responsibilities
Registered nurses who desire a leadership role in pediatrics can pursue a rewarding career as a pediatric clinic manager. Pediatric clinical managers are responsible for overseeing the delivery of clinical services for infants, children, and adolescents. For a registered nurse, a career in pediatric clinic management means a shift from providing care directly to patients to managing teams of nurses and working with other healthcare managers to create policies to improve care.
To ensure that teams of medical professionals (including medical assistants, nurses, and physicians) are prepared to deliver comprehensive care to children, pediatric clinic managers handle training and operations procedures for pediatric clinical facilities. The dynamic field of healthcare requires that pediatric clinical managers be well-informed about changes to healthcare laws, regulations, and technology and know specific healthcare facility accreditation standards to serve the needs of pediatric patients and providers.
Beyond professional growth, there are two compelling reasons to become a pediatric clinic manager.
First, clinical managers earn higher salaries. Data from PayScale.com (2020) reports the average annual salary of a clinical nurse manager in pediatrics to be $78,627, which is approximately $15,000 more than the average annual salary for a registered nurse (RN). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report specific salary data for pediatric clinical managers, but it does report average annual salary data for the related career of medical and health services managers at $113,730 (BLS 2018).
The second reason to consider a career in pediatric clinic management is the projected career growth. The BLS (2018) estimates that careers in medical and health service management will grow 18 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is predicted to create 71,600 new jobs and is much faster than the national average for all occupations.
Registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree and a desire to transition into a managerial role may want to explore the fulfilling and stimulating career of pediatric clinical managers. Read on to learn more about a day in the life of these healthcare leaders.
Work Environment of Pediatric Clinic Managers
Pediatric clinic managers work in a variety of healthcare facilities that deliver specialized healthcare to children. Some pediatric clinical managers lead teams of healthcare professionals in children’s hospitals, while others provide leadership in specialty clinics such as pediatric cancer research and treatment hospitals. Other work settings include primary care clinics, special needs facilities such as schools for children who are blind or deaf, or home healthcare providers who make house calls to patients’ homes.
Some pediatric clinic managers work for government healthcare facilities including public hospitals, public health agencies, community health clinics, and military facilities dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of children and their families. Pediatric clinic managers can also find work in health sciences colleges and university settings as teaching faculty or clinical care coordinators in on-campus, health or daycare facilities.
The BLS reported the following data on the top employers of medical and health service managers, a field closely-related to that of pediatric clinic managers:
- Hospitals: state, local, and private: 33 percent
- Offices of physicians: 11 percent
- Nursing and residential care facilities: 10 percent
- Government: 8 percent
- Outpatient care centers: 7 percent
The unique responsibilities of healthcare managers require pediatric clinical managers to work with a variety of clinical teams comprising different types of professionals. Depending on the number of employees in a healthcare setting, pediatric clinical managers oversee the work of small or large teams of physicians, registered nurses, and medical assistants. In some specialty clinics, pediatric surgeons, physical therapists, laboratory technicians, and research teams may also be a part of a clinical manager’s team.
In addition to supervising, pediatric clinical managers are responsible for reporting back to senior-level leadership regarding the work of their teams. Pediatric clinical managers may also interact with child patients and their families and advocate on their behalf with insurance companies or coordinate healthcare delivery with other medical professionals.
Typical Daily Responsibilities of Pediatric Clinic Managers
To work as a pediatric clinical manager means to perform a wealth of management tasks and responsibilities. Examples of typical daily responsibilities of pediatric clinic managers include:
- Setting goals and objectives for a pediatric clinic
- Performing efficiency audits of a pediatric clinic’s daily operations
- Ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and maintaining healthcare facility accreditation
- Hiring, training, and supervising the work of new and current employees
- Setting and managing work schedules
- Overseeing financial spending related to patient and insurance billing
- Preparing budgets and managing the finances of a clinic
- Ensuring that patient and clinical employee records are current and accurate
- Representing the clinical team at senior-level leadership meetings
- Performing annual employee performance reviews
Typical daily tasks of pediatric clinical managers vary depending on the nature of the pediatric clinical work environment. For example, a charity-funded pediatric research hospital could require pediatric clinical managers to interview families to highlight patient stories or profile clinical professionals for the purpose of fundraising for hospital operations.
Required Skills and Knowledge
Most pediatric clinic manager positions require at least a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) or a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. Some positions require advanced training or degrees such as an advanced practice nurse (APN), a master’s of business administration (MBA) with a healthcare specialty, a master’s in healthcare administration (MHA), or a master’s in public health (MPH).
Many organizations prefer to hire candidates with some previous clinical experience in pediatrics or some business administration training such as accounting, management, health economics, or health information systems.
The multifaceted nature of pediatric clinic management demands that applicants be able to demonstrate specific skills related to pediatric healthcare to be successful. Below is a common list of skills required of pediatric clinic managers:
- Clinical skills – Many positions require previous experience as a medical assistant or nurse to fully understand the daily operations of a clinical environment and the clinical nature of the work they will be supervising.
- Communication skills – A good manager must effectively communicate with their team members as well as senior leadership staff, partners, stakeholders, patients, and families. They are responsible for building trust with their teams to ensure honest feedback and efficient clinical operations to provide optimal patient care.
- Technical skills – A clinical manager must be well-versed in the latest information technology security protocols to safely access, store, and retrieve electronic health records.
- Analytical skills – In order to solve problems effectively within the confines of local, state, and federal facility laws, pediatric clinical managers must have strong analytical skills and be able to adapt to ever-changing policies as well as communicate changes to their teams.
Certification for Pediatric Clinic Managers
Certification requirements for healthcare managers vary by position and state. Candidates seeking pediatric clinic management positions are advised to research state-specific certification and licensure information when applying for jobs. Some states require healthcare office management professionals to carry certification from organizations such as the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM). Certain pediatric clinic management positions also require applicants to be registered nurses (RN) or hold current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification.
Since 1989, the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) has offered certification exams for pediatric nursing professionals. The Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) credential is the most recognized for pediatric registered nurses. The CPN exam verifies that nurses have specialized knowledge and experience in pediatric nursing in the following four content areas:
- Physical and psychosocial/family assessment
- Health promotion
- Management of illness/clinical problems
- Professional role
More than 25,000 nurses with degrees ranging from diplomas to associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in nursing can become eligible to take this exam as long as they meet one of two pediatric nursing experience eligibility pathways. Nurses with CPN credentials practice in several clinical management roles including care coordinator, administrator, direct caregiver, charge nurse, educator, consultant, and advocate.
Why should registered nurses pursue certification? When job searching, having a CPN credential can help distinguish job seekers in the applicant pool for clinical pediatric management positions as well as empower them to negotiate higher salaries if offered a position. Employers seeking professionals who hold CPN credentials can know that these certified professionals are held to high ethical standards and commitments to continuing education as outlined in the PNCB certificant code of ethics.
The PNCB offers three additional certification credentials:
- Primary Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-PC)
- Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-AC)
- Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS)