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MSN Careers: What Does an Outpatient Clinic Manager Do?

A master’s in nursing online may qualify you for exciting jobs in this growing and lucrative field.

As the healthcare industry balances escalating medical needs with shrinking budgets, the outpatient clinic is proving to be a cost-effective and popular method for delivering medical services. Of 24,000 healthcare jobs added to the economy in April 2018, 17,000 were in ambulatory services, which includes outpatient clinics.1

With this growth comes an increased demand for nursing school graduates to step into outpatient clinic management positions. Jobs for medical and health services managers are projected to grow 20%, from 352,200 to 424,300, between 2016 and 2026, far more than employment in the economy as a whole.2 A master of science in nursing with a public health nursing specialization can prepare you for this employment boom. And online nursing schools offer a flexible and convenient path to valuable MSN degrees.

MSN Careers: What Does an Outpatient Clinic Manager Do?

But there’s more than economics behind the growth of outpatient clinics. Research suggests that for patients with certain conditions, outpatient clinics may deliver better results. In one study, patients with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure achieved greater success managing their conditions in outpatient clinics than in a primary care setting.3

What Are Outpatient Clinics?

Outpatient clinics serve patients who seek a diagnosis or treatment but don’t require overnight care. Services may include wellness visits, diagnostic and laboratory tests, and minor surgical procedures. Clinics can be privately operated or publicly funded and operated, providing a range of career opportunities for public health professionals. An outpatient clinic can be an independent facility or affiliated with a hospital.

What Are an Outpatient Manager’s Duties?

The outpatient clinic manager job description spans a spectrum of responsibilities, all of which require a high level of versatility. Working in both administrative and medical capacities to ensure clinics operate efficiently, managers monitor patient volumes and the quality of care. Clinic managers often may handle the business side of smaller clinics. Outpatient clinic managers may be involved in managing staff and identifying areas for improvement in employee performance. They also work to meet established goals and budgets, track patient satisfaction, develop and implement policies, and coordinate purchasing. Each day can bring its own singular challenges; if you embrace variety, this is a nursing career option you may want to explore.

What Skills Will I Need?

Leadership skills are essential, as outpatient clinic managers must coach staff to deliver high levels of performance while still meeting organizational and financial goals. Managers must have the ability to multitask, a skill many adult learners have already mastered in balancing their many daily responsibilities. Analytical skills are critical, too. Managers must have a 360-degree view of clinic operations and find ways to improve patient care and identify financial and administrative efficiencies. Employers also seek strong spoken and written communication skills. Students pursuing a master’s in public health nursing from an accredited online university can develop and hone these and other in-demand skills while taking courses like Interprofessional Organization and Systems Leadership.

What Are My Job Prospects?

Driven by an aging population, demand for healthcare services is expected to multiply, creating a highly competitive market and the possibility of higher wages. The median annual salary for medical and health services managers was $98,350 in May 2017.2 California, New York, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are the top 5 states in medical and health service manager jobs.4

A master’s degree in nursing is generally required for clinic managers, and online MSN programs offer an innovative and convenient path from RN to MSN. Accredited online colleges like Walden University are helping to meet the growing demand for outpatient clinic managers. Walden's MSN Public Health Nursing specialization can position you for a fulfilling career as a nurse leader in an outpatient clinic setting. Let a master’s in public health nursing elevate your aspirations and job prospects and lead you to a rewarding career.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing degree program with a Public Health Nursing specialization. Expand your career options and earn a degree online in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,