Is a Rural Healthcare Administration Graduate Certificate for Me?

The Graduate Certificate in Rural Healthcare Administration is designed to not only prepare people for leadership positions in hospitals, critical access facilities, healthcare facilities, and nursing facilities, but also to help promote networks among learners, reducing the isolation that can be part of the rural healthcare administration job. Learners may be preparing for a promotion to a leadership position, or may already be in a leadership position looking to enhance his/her skills.

Courses are delivered online with some field experience, typically at the beginning and end of the program. The online courses will include opportunities to build relationships, share current issues, and interact with one another in real time.

Classes taken in the Rural Healthcare Administration Certificate program can be applied toward a Master of Science in Leadership or a Master of Science in Management at Southwestern College Professional Studies.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this certificate, the learner will:

  • Understand the importance of governance in a healthcare setting and explain principles of board education, negotiation, and management.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the roles, perspectives, and expectations of clinical practitioners, how they differ from non-clinical staff, and identify the challenges these differences present for management.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and effective decision-making through financial management, strategic planning, economic analysis, and quality assessment and improvement.
  • Demonstrate ethical choices, values and professional behavior in healthcare management roles/decision making.
  • Articulate technology’s role in the evolving healthcare setting and present evidence of innovative solutions to rural health challenges.

Courses

RHC 510 Leadership in Healthcare Administration
RHC 565 Leading for Quality in a Rural Context
RHC 575 Financial Decisions in the Changing Healthcare Landscape
RHC 580 Organizational Development and Culture
RHC 585 Information Technology to Lead
RHC 590 Rural Hospital Administration from the Medical Perspective

Course Descriptions

RHC 510 Leadership in Healthcare Administration

This course studies a range of issues and related problems faced by CEOs in the rapidly changing healthcare/health services delivery system. The course offers an introduction to various leadership styles and traits with application to working in the modern healthcare industry. Challenges to leadership include managed care, the ethics of healthcare, the aging population, technology integration, and compliance issues.

RHC 565 Leading for Quality in a Rural Context

The rewards and challenges of urban hospital administration are different from those of rural hospital administration. This course explores the barriers to quality innovation and how to dismantle them. Topics include limited resources to achieve great need; high performance leadership; the multiple roles and responsibilities for a rural hospital CEO; community outreach and relationship building; the outsider status in an insular environment; and stability, credibility, entrenchment, and trust, internal and external.

RHC 575 Financial Decisions in the Changing Healthcare Landscape

This course prepares current and future hospital administrators with a full understanding of financial planning, control measures and financial management to effectively examine and address the complex financial challenges within the healthcare sector. The courses focuses on concepts to include demand (from physicians, patients, and families), supply distribution, utilization of resources, and cost-benefit analysis as they apply to the healthcare industry. Analysis and identification of healthcare financial trends, finance sources and reimbursement models, including current and future payment systems for healthcare, such as Medicare and Medicaid, are addressed.

RHC 580 Organizational Development and Culture

The primary focus of this course is to understand the fundamentals of managing a healthcare environment. Healthcare CEOs must understand every level of hospital administration, from the maintenance staff to board elected by the community. The course examines the organizational process, including intervention strategies, and the role of organizational development in creating the changes that improve individuals, teams, and the organization itself. Key topics include diversity in the community and in the workplace, managing patients and staff, fundamentals of compliance, and adapting internal processes to external regulations.

RHC 585 Information Technology to Lead

This course introduces information system design and structure principles specific to healthcare delivery. Topics include understanding contemporary information system technologies specific to healthcare, including electronic medical records, electronic reimbursement, patient information security, communication and diagnostic tools. The course also focuses on gathering and analyzing relevant institutional data for decision making. Strategies for financing continuing upgrades to information systems will be explored, and the course will cover the impact of technology on diagnosis and treating illness and disease and preparing for ways technology will continue to change medicine. The course includes a focus on the implementation and training needed to implement information technology and to further evidence-based healthcare and data driven decisions.

RHC 590 Rural Hospital Administration from the Medical Perspective

A fundamental challenge to all rural hospitals is attracting and retaining qualified medical personnel. Understanding the needs, both professionally and personally, of physicians, nurses, and other clinicians will enable a CEO to know how to productively recruit potential candidates and how to provide an enticing package, to include compensation, schedules, professional development, and family considerations. This course provides the administrator with a thorough understanding of medical personnel needs and concerns about rural medicine. In addition, the course provides a basic understanding of some of the medical issues today, equipping the CEO to speak a common language with the physician and his/her staff.

Admission Requirements

Anyone interested in completing the Rural Healthcare Administration Certificate may complete a Southwestern College Professional Studies Graduate Application for Admission. The six courses comprising the Rural Healthcare Administration Certificate can be completed in two years or less in convenient twelve-week classes.

Individuals completing the Rural Healthcare Certificate at Southwestern College may apply all of these 18 credit hours earned toward a Master of Science in Leadership or a Master of Science in Management.