You might not correlate the nursing profession with finance. Yet, nurses must have basic knowledge of the economic and financial structures that impact their jobs, their patients and the system in which they work.
According to Kathy Douglas, MHA, RN, “Nurse leaders control the largest part of a hospital labor budget, in some cases the largest part of the overall budget. The effectiveness of overseeing this responsibility can mean the difference between an organization’s financial stability and financial turmoil.”
What Is Healthcare Economics?
Harvard Business School states, “health care economics seeks to understand the role that individuals, health care providers, insurers, government agencies, and public and private organizations play in driving these costs.”
This is a budgeting process that is continuously evolving within a health system. As advances in medical technology and treatments continue worldwide, there will be more developments in how to approach budgets.
Currently, Sigma delineates that the “top budget development strategy involves the following steps”:
- Collecting relevant data
- Planning services
- Planning activities
- Implementing the plan
- Monitoring the budget
- Taking corrective measures when necessary
The downside is that many nurses do not know about the strategy because it stays at the nurse manager level. Nurse managers are the ones who typically deal with the financial aspects of the hospital or health system, even though nurses not in leadership positions are affected by this strategy.
In some ways, it’s somewhat of a “hidden” budget development process. Still, non-manager nurses can take steps to learn budgeting and financial limitations so they can contribute to those conversations and ultimately be more effective in their nursing practice.
Importance of Economics Skills
Nursing professionals and nurse leaders must have skills in economics and finance because they will be better able to serve the patients that they help within their healthcare facility.
Many patients are unsure of getting checkups or having a procedure done because of the cost of healthcare and what they might have to pay for an expensive stay at the hospital. Often, this turns patients away because they do not know about the alternative payment options that can lessen the financial burden.
When nurses are knowledgeable about finances and economics, they can connect with their patients on a different level. This, in turn, allows the patients to see them as more compassionate. They will perceive the nurse as someone who is trying their best to help them through the complications of medical payments.
One such area is that hospitals have seen a rise in unaccounted-for supplies. Nurses are not always aware they should note the items they grab from supply closets or storage. Educating nurses about this practice will help hospitals stay accurate and up to date with the number of products they have within their facility regarding reimbursements.
Upgrade Your Nursing Career With a BSN Degree
One way to cultivate economic skills as a nurse is to further your career and earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Those who enroll in the Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN online program at William Paterson University (WP) will apply economic and management principles in leadership roles to promote an affordable method of healthcare.
Students will collaborate with patients, families and other healthcare providers to design, manage and coordinate healthcare. They can complete WP’s program in as few as 10 months.
This intensive program allows all students to participate in seminars that further their knowledge of nursing and healthcare from an economic perspective. For example, the Healthcare Economics course covers topics such as demand management, concepts of efficiency, impact regulation, healthcare policy and economic decision-making in the healthcare field. Graduates will be able to apply these concepts in influential nursing roles such as pediatric nurses, hospice nurses, nurse case managers, critical care nurses or surgical nurses.
Graduates of WP’s online RN to BSN program will obtain the knowledge required to empower diverse patients through expert care and compassion while emphasizing the basics of economics within the healthcare system.
Learn more about William Paterson University’s online RN to BSN online program.