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Nursing Leadership and Management – organizational structure of healthcare organizations

NURS4455 Nursing Leadership and Management

Module 1 Assignment 4

Question 5

What is unique about the organizational structure of healthcare organizations? (very specifically discussed in video) Identify the type of organization and explain its meaning.

Hospitals require precision in the execution of job responsibilities and multiple layers of accountability in order to function. To accomplish this, hospitals use a vertical organizational structure with many layers of management.

The vast majority of hospital workers are service providers: doctors, nurses, orderlies, physical therapists, laundry workers and the many other people required in order for a hospital to function. They provide patient care, maintain records and ensure that the hospital is able to deliver care to patients in an effective manner.

Understanding hospital organizational structure ensures that hospital employees know their own responsibilities, the responsibilities of those around them, to whom they report and who to talk to about particular responsibilities or fields of knowledge.

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The Organizational Structure of Hospitals

All hospitals include some form of governing body responsible for making high-level decisions about the organization. A hospital’s board of directors is often drawn from the healthcare community and is made up of experts in their respective fields. Religiously affiliated hospitals often include clergy on their boards of directors. Teaching hospitals often include university faculty from the medical school with which they’re affiliated.


Hospital executives are responsible for managing the organization, making financial decisions and overseeing business strategy. Medical and health services managers may oversee entire practices or clinical areas. A hospital typically has a chief financial officer who tends to the financial health of the business and a chief operating officer or chief executive officer responsible for high-level business strategy and decision-making.

Department Administrators

Department administrators report to the hospital executives and manage the day-to-day operations of specific departments within a hospital. The chief of surgery, for example, is responsible for overseeing daily activities within the surgical department as well as performing surgery. A chief of surgery might engage in public relations activities, fundraising and recruitment. Non-medical departments within a hospital, such as food services or switchboard personnel, also have department administrators.

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