function of healthcare organizations



Kenneth R. White, Ph.D., FACHE; Dolores G. Clement,

DrPH, FACHE; and Kristie G. Stover, PhD




Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter, the reader should be able to

• understand the role of healthcare professionals in the human resources management function of healthcare organizations;

• define the elements of a profession, with an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the healthcare professions in particular;

• describe the healthcare professions, which include the majority of healthcare workers, and the required educational levels, scopes of practice, and licensure issues for each;

• relate knowledge of the healthcare professions to selected human resources management issues and systems development; and

• comprehend the changing nature of the existing and emerging healthcare professions in the healthcare workforce, particularly the impact of managed care.


Healthcare professionals are central to the delivery of high-quality healthcare services. Extensive training, education, and skills are essential in meeting the needs and demands of the population for safe, competent healthcare. These specialized techniques and skills that healthcare professionals acquired through systematic programs of intellectual study are the basis for socialization into their profession. Additionally, the healthcare industry is labor intensive and is distinguished from other service industries by the number of licensed and reg- istered personnel that it employs and the variety of healthcare fields that it pro- duces. These healthcare fields have emerged as a result of the specialization of medicine, development of public health, increased emphasis on health promo- tion and prevention, and technological advances and growth.

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C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 8 . H e a l t h A d m i n i s t r a t i o n P r e s s .

A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . M a y n o t b e r e p r o d u c e d i n a n y f o r m w i t h o u t p e r m i s s i o n f r o m t h e p u b l i s h e r , e x c e p t f a i r u s e s p e r m i t t e d u n d e r U . S . o r a p p l i c a b l e c o p y r i g h t l a w .

EBSCO Publishing : eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost) – printed on 2/1/2022 4:15 PM via WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY AN: 237620 ; Fottler, Myron D., Fried, Bruce.; Human Resources in Healthcare : Managing for Success Account: s8993066.main.ehost



Because of this division of labor within medical and health services de- livery, many tasks that were once the responsibility of medical providers have been delegated to other healthcare personnel. Such delegation of duties raises important questions for the industry: Should healthcare providers other than those specifically trained to practice medicine be considered professionals in their own right? To what extent should their scope of practice be extended?

In this chapter, we respond to the aforementioned questions by defin- ing key terms, describing the healthcare professions and labor force, explain- ing the role of human resources in healthcare, and discussing key human re- sources issues that affect the delivery of healthcare.

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