The education and training of future healthcare executives are at a crossroads: 1) Leading practitioners advocate for new directions in education but a declining number are willing to serve as mentors for new graduates; 2) An increasing number of graduate programs in health administration are not accredited by the federal government agency recognized for this purpose, which raises doubts about the potency of national accreditation; 3) About 25% of graduates from accredited master's programs do not have entry-level positions within three months of graduation; and 4) University faculty do not agree on the appropriate model and content for their curriculums. These are the significant issues at the crossroads. Their resolution will have a huge impact on the competency and supply of skilled healthcare executives in the future.
For many of the stakeholders, the options for the future are confusing and conflicting. They certainly are challenging for traditional career paths in healthcare management. These observations are included in a Report on Graduate Health Management Education 2001-2011 and Recommendations for Improvement. The report was commissioned by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership to document developments and emerging issues in graduate health management education since a National Summit in 2001.
Key questions emerge from interviews and published reports. What should be the appropriate education and training for aspiring healthcare executives? What should they be able to do? How do potential employers know their new recruits are competent? How can communication between practitioners and faculty be improved? These questions need to be answered to prepare careerists for effective leadership in healthcare organizations.