Women in Hospital Chief Executive Officer Positions: Fact or Fiction

By Hoss, Mary Ann Keogh | Advancing Women in Leadership, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

Women in Hospital Chief Executive Officer Positions: Fact or Fiction


Hoss, Mary Ann Keogh, Advancing Women in Leadership


Abstract

Are women represented in hospital CEO positions? Twenty-three hospitals in three counties were surveyed to answer this question. Surveys were done to determine the number and percentage of women in hospital CEO positions. Also identified were the beds controlled by women hospital CEOs within each county. From the county with the lowest percentage of women in CEO positions, an American College of Healthcare Executives survey, Gender and Career in Healthcare Management (GCHM), was conducted.

Two counties were above the national average for women CEOs at 23.3%. One county was at 25% and the other county was at 33%. The first county was at 52% and the second county was at 27% for control of percentage of beds by women hospital CEOs. The third county which was below the national average for women was at 11% with 1.3% of the beds controlled by women. In the results of the GCHM, women respondents were satisfied with advancement, infrequently engaging in informal networking within their current organizations, and perceived male stereotyping and preconceptions of women's roles and abilities as the primary barrier to advancement. More research needs to be conducted on the counties with women hospital CEOs to identify the strategies that helped make these women in CEO positions a fact.

Women in Hospital Chief Executive Officer Positions: Fact or Fiction

Women in senior executive management positions have been a topic written about for many years. The barriers preventing women from executive management have been referred to as the "glass ceiling." The literature for healthcare has mirrored business in regards to women obtaining senior executive management positions. This study looks at three counties for women in hospital CEO positions. This study initially sought to look only at Spokane County in Washington. It was expanded to include two additional counties, one within the state of Washington and one midwest county in Ohio. The percentage of women as hospital CEOs and number of beds controlled by women were determined for all three counties. Women in leadership positions in the hospitals and healthcare systems in the past and currently in Spokane County in Washington were surveyed to determine their thoughts regarding gender and careers in healthcare management. The responses of women surveyed from Spokane were compared with national results from the surveys conducted by the Foundation of American College of Healthcare Executives (2002).

Background

Spokane, Washington is located in the heart of the Inland Northwest and serves as the medical hub for Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon, North Idaho, Western Montana, and Southern portions of Alberta and British Columbia in Canada. Spokane is on the eastern side of Washington bordering Northern Idaho. Healthcare plays an important role in the Spokane economy. The hospitals serve as large employers within the community. A recent study stated that "health care is the leading industry in Spokane County," and that healthcare accounts for 22 % of the county income (Bunting & Jones, 2004, p. 4). Statistics from the State of Washington Employment Security Department for the first quarter of 2004 showed that 78% of the hospital and clinic workforce for Spokane County were women. The city of Spokane is home to some 195,500 residents. There are around 416,000 residents in the metropolitan area. The median household income in the county in 2003 was $36,446 according to the US Census Bureau 2003 American Community Survey. Spokane is the second largest city in the state of Washington and is the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis. Within Spokane County there are nine hospitals. Four of these hospitals are specialty hospitals, one is a rural hospital, and four are acute care hospitals. The CEO category for all areas in the 2000 census from Spokane County, in the detailed occupations of the civilian labor force, identified 1,165 individuals. …

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