Financial and Strategic Management for Nurses in Leadership Roles

Nursing is one of the most challenging professions in the world today. They have to provide care to patients; they have to monitor the progress of healing and improvement; more often than not, they also perform tasks that are beyond their usual routine just to ensure that patients receive the due care that they need. As nurses tackle the different challenges of their profession, they cannot help but find themselves in situations where they have to learn addition skills in dealing with such challenges.

A nurse may be thrust into a leadership role within the organization he serves.

In this case, he will have to assume roles that are not totally related to nursing, but is related to management and business administration. As the nurses tackle management, they will have to deal with budgets, management of personnel and other resources as well as solving the problems that the organization faces. Because of the necessity of managing the resources of a healthcare organization, a nurse put into a leadership role will have to learn financial management.

Manager Nurses and Financial Management Nurses are not only called upon to deliver health care services to the patients who need it.

Instead, they are also being asked from time to time to look at the health care delivery process from end to end. This involves looking at the processes behind the scenes such as the purchase of medical tools and equipment, making provisions for training of hospital and clinic personnel for more effective delivery of services, maintenance of equipment, computers and other necessary gadgets in delivering health care to those who need it. The process of managing the health care process therefore requires finances and financial management (Zelman, et. al, 2003).

The nurse as manager also has to understand financial management. The connection between financial management and the job of the nurse manager may not be very direct at first. Yet, financial management is still involved in the job of the nurse manager. The nurse manager has to oversee the allocation of resources, of assigning the nurses to certain departments in the hospital or clinic. The equipment needed by these nurses, including the tools that they will use. These activities also require financial management. The manager nurse also plays a role in the inventory of the hospital.

Medical supplies, tools and equipment should be monitored regularly by the manager nurse so that the hospital will not have any trouble in delivering health care services to different patients. At first nurse managers may be hesitant to learn about financial management because it may seem to be not in line with the nursing practice. Yet as the nurse manager continues to monitor the assignment of nurses together with the activities that they have to perform, financial management will then become an important part of routine and of the tasks of the nurse manager (Ginter, Swayne & Duncan, 2002).

Executive Nurses and Financial Management Financial management is more closely related to the tasks of executive nurses than to the manager nurses. This is because the executive nurse has to look at the whole health care service delivery from end-to-end, meaning, he has to consider all the processes, equipment, tools and procedures of service delivery. The executive nurse deals more with bureaucracy and the management processes compared to the nurse manager. For this reason, he is expected to display a greater level of skill in financial management. One of the most important roles of the executive nurse is strategic planning.

He does not only consider the service delivery of health care to patients, he also has to look at the overall development and growth of the organization (Chua & Preston, 1994). As part of strategic planning, the executive nurse has to plan for the allocation of resources, cutting of costs, improvement of revenue and the overall financial performance of the organization. If the health care organization performs excellently in terms of its finances, then it has better capabilities in ensuring that patients and clients receive the care that they need and deserve.

As the organization continues to function and it manages to deliver good service, financial management becomes even more crucial to the whole organization. The best thing about the executive nurse is that he is aware of the needs of the organization. Hence, the planning, strategies and overall financial management of the organization can be better managed by the nurse executive (Chua & Preston, 1994). The nurse manager and the nurse executive both need financial management skills. Perhaps the only difference between the way that the manager and the executive uses financial management is the scope in which they use it.

The nurse manager uses financial management less than the executive. Furthermore, such manager also deals directly with clients and the day-to-day operations of the health care organization. The nurse executive on the other hand deals with the higher level of the organization and does not deal much with the day-to-day operations. The overall operations of the organization and financial performance are the concern of the executive nurse. The tasks of the nurse manager are directly affected by the decisions and the activities of the executive nurse. Manager Nurses, Executive Nurses and Financial Management

Financial management and the tasks of the nurse managers and nurse executives are not necessarily exclusive from each other. In fact, financial management pervades the nursing profession thoroughly even if nurses are not aware of how pervasive financial management is in the health care organization. There are several areas of nursing practice, particularly in the tasks of the nurse managers and nurse executives in which financial management can be readily seen. Nurse managers in hospitals are aware of the difficulties that their organization is facing.

As they go about their day-to-day practice, they also become more aware of the importance of financial management. Inside the hospitals or clinics, nurses are bound by policies in using the resources of the organization because each equipment and resource used entails costs and financial implications. Patients usually have their health insurance and their Medicard coverage and such instances require careful financial management for the nurses handling such cases. All aspects of nursing practice involve financial management one way or another.

Hence, financial management is very important in both the tasks of the manager and executive nurse. Financial management simply cannot be done away with in the nursing profession. In fact, nurses should be equipped with the necessary financial management knowledge and skills as well as awareness of accounting principles so as to deal with the challenges in their work (Weech-Maldonado, Neff, & Mor, 2003). The problem, however, is that nurses tend to be afraid of the process of financial management. They feel daunted by the requirements of such management because they feel that they are not trained for that purpose.

They do not see the connection between financial management and their nursing practice. If this kind of thinking pervades nurses, then financial management can become a big problem in a health care organization. Equipping Nurses with Financial Management Skills The health care sector is very challenging nowadays. The nursing profession is already challenging in itself but if nurses have to deal with financial management, too, they may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. As such, the health care organization should implement a training and awareness program that can be easily understood and grasped by the nurses.

This may take some time and resources but through this, the organization will be able to develop leaders and enhance the overall situation of the healthcare organization (Berger, et. al. , 1996). Nurses should be equipped with knowledge in financial management. This way, when they become managers or executive, they will have an idea of the tasks awaiting them. As the management identifies possible talents and proteges that could be promoted in the near future, they will undergo financial management training so that they can start handling financial management tasks that can help prepare them for bigger responsibilities.

Nurse managers and executives will have to look after the operations of the organization. Hence, they have to have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle their jobs well. As the organization develops and grows, they should also train other nurses so that an effective succession plan would be in place. Reference Berger, A. M. , Eilers, J. G. , Pattrin, L. , Rolf-Fixley, M. , Pfeifer, B. A. , Rogge, J. A. , Wheeler, L. M. , Bergstrom, N. I. , & Heck, C. S. ( 1996). Advanced Practice Roles for Nurses in Tomorrow’s Healthcare Systems. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 10 (5), 250-255. Chua, W. F. ; Preston, A. (1994).

Worrying about Accounting in Health Care. Accounting, Auditing ; Accountability Journal, 7 (3), 4-17. Ginter, P. M. , Swayne, L. E. ; Duncan, W. J. (2002). Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations. New Jersey: Blackwell Publishing. Zelman, W. N. , McCue, M. J. Millikan, A. R. , ; Glick, N. D. (2003). Financial Management of Health Care Organizations: An Introduction to Fundamental Tools, Concepts, and Applications. New Jersey: Blackwell Publishing. Weech-Maldonado, R. , Neff, G. , ; Mor, V. (2003). The relationship between quality of care and financial performance in nursing homes. Journal of Health Care Finance, 29 (3), 48-60.

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