Along with the competence in motivating employees and ensuring high-quality care, leader nurses are expected to be conversant in financial issues related to health concerns. As proposed by the American Nurses Association (ANA), financial awareness promotes a greater understanding of the ways to improve care and reduce costs (Halladay, 2015). Considering that US healthcare is one of the most expensive ones worldwide, this issue becomes critical. The leader students can assess both direct and indirect costs by a range of means, including Productive hours and costs, a patient-level analysis, a unit-level investigation, et cetera.
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Speaking the Financial Language
Today, the clinical area represents the rapid emergence of the need to study and promote the financial literacy of leader nurses and their employees. According to Noh and Lim (2015), the identification of patient needs and potential treatment options should be accompanied by stating and following the financial priorities. In this regard, cost-effectiveness is the key goal to be achieved, which sets the opportunity to make services more affordable for wider populations. The evaluation of direct and indirect costs, as well as their impact on healthcare, is the strategy that is likely to lead to a more conscious and informed resource utilization.
To increase financial awareness, leaders are expected to clearly understand the nature, causes, and effects of expenses. The direct costs include supplies, personnel, and other resources that are unswervingly associated with the practice change (Campbell et al., 2014). For example, the variable direct costs may depend on the number of patients covered to provide asthma education, while non-variable ones may be the time allocated to generate monthly reports. In their turn, administrative resources, technology, and utilities can be mentioned among the indirect costs. It is possible to take the transformation of the primary care clinics into patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs), the costs of which can be assessed via a cost analysis model. The article by Halladay (2015) demonstrates that costs per full-time provider, by the phase of PCMH transformation (design, application, and maintenance), application for PCMH recognition, and total costs should be studied.
The leader students can evaluate indirect and direct costs of the evidence-based practice change by using various data collection and analysis methods, such as interviews with patients and nurses or the statistical analysis of data related to change. In particular, one can state that by conducting the structured interviews, they can better understand the impact of costs (Bai et al., 2017). The overall increase in the productivity of care institutions or one of its departments would indicate the positive influence of direct costs, yet the growing indirect costs may lead to patient dissatisfaction by the need for additional spending. The costs are also essential for personnel since the promotion of their financial literacy is likely to result in a better understanding of budget, remuneration, and other links between their performance and finances.
To conclude, there is a need to reduce direct and indirect costs yet increase care quality to meet modern standards set by the ANA. Payment for services, working hours, analyses of patient data in dynamics, and other components can be evaluated by leader nurses to comprehend the costs of change practices. The two most common methods to collect and analyze them are interviews and the statistical means of revealing the difference before and after change implementation. In terms of the rising number of patients and diseases, the need for financial awareness of leaders cannot be overestimated.
Bai, Y., Gu, C., Chen, Q., Xiao, J., Liu, D., & Tang, S. (2017). The challenges that head nurses confront on financial management today: A qualitative study. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 4(2), 122-127.
Campbell, J. D., Ghushchyan, V., McQueen, R. B., Cahoon-Metzger, S., Livingston, T., Vollmer, T.,… Nair, K. (2014). The burden of multiple sclerosis on direct, indirect costs and quality of life: National US estimates. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 3(2), 227-236.
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Halladay, J. (2015). Understanding the direct and indirect costs of transformation to medical homes. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Web.
Noh, W., & Lim, J. Y. (2015). Nurses’ educational needs assessment for financial management education using the nominal group technique. Asian Nursing Research, 9(2), 152-157.