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A Look at Communication Careers in Healthcare

Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can be a fast track to upper management and higher salaries. With today's data-driven business environments, an MBA's analytical skills are an advantage. But professional-level communication skills can be the key to business success. This is especially true in healthcare.

MBAs with a talent for communication may want to consider a healthcare communications career. Southern Oregon University (SOU) offers an online MBA with a Concentration in Healthcare Administration that prepares graduates to advance in this field.

SOU's program builds business management skills specific to healthcare settings. It also equips graduates with an understanding of key healthcare communications topics.

Who Handles Communications in Healthcare Organizations?

There is more to the communications profession than the media and reporting. A career in communications offers diverse job opportunities in many industries, including healthcare. Communications specialists, such as public relations (PR) managers, focus on shaping an organization's image.

If PR sounds a lot like marketing, it is because both fields involve boosting brand loyalty. PR specialists in healthcare play a critical role in engaging the community and building trust. In this way, a PR specialist serves as a spokesperson for the organization.

A 2019 Gallup poll points to the value of public relations in healthcare: 80% of Americans polled responded that they worried a "great deal" or a "fair amount" about healthcare. Healthcare topped a list of 15 problems that included drug use, unemployment, the environment and availability of guns.

Those who enjoy a fast-paced environment may feel right at home in a healthcare communications career. Typical activities include:

  • Monitoring the public's view of the organization
  • Planning and implementing strategies to increase visibility, engage patients and improve public opinion
  • Writing press releases and handling media requests
  • Creating content, including social media content
  • Supporting the executive team in drafting speeches and preparing for interviews
  • Ensuring marketing materials align with the organization's mission, vision and strategic goals
  • Implementing communications initiatives to engage staff in achieving the organization's mission, vision and strategic goals
  • Managing crisis communication, such as with natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks

Job titles in healthcare communications vary. A few examples include:

  • Manager of Content Development
  • Director of Communications and Public Affairs
  • Senior Communications Specialist
  • Vice President of Strategic Communication
  • Communications Director (or Manager)

MBA grads considering a healthcare communications career may find that their social media skills give them an edge. The Pew Research Center reports that 72% of the public uses social media. Hospitals are getting on board with social media to connect with patients, share relevant information and build trusted relationships.

MBA grads who pursue a healthcare communications career will also find opportunities for innovation. Shriners Hospitals for Children, for example, hosts a hospital podcast series with information and inspiring stories for parents, patients and families.

An MBA in healthcare administration often leads to careers that focus on finance, accounting and operations. For those who want to take their career in a different direction, healthcare communications provides an opportunity to promote the trusted relationships that quality healthcare depends on. SOU's MBA in Healthcare Administration program provides the business acumen, healthcare knowledge and communication skills for success.   

Learn more about Southern Oregon University's online MBA program with a Concentration in Healthcare Administration.


Gallup: Healthcare Once Again Tops List of Americans' Worries

Pew Research Center: Social Media Fact Sheet

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Chicago: Podcasts

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