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Nurses must play bigger role in cost control

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Susan J. Penner, R.N. discusses why hospitals must educate their nurses about saving money. She teaches a course in financial resource management in theĀ Masters of Science in Nursing ProgramĀ  at the University of San Francisco.

She writes in Hospital Impact:

“Every day hospitals waste money, and the non-personnel expenses for a medical-surgical nursing unit at a typical hospital in America are thousands of dollars over budget. The nurse manager might investigate and find that one reason for the rise in costs is poor handling and labeling of lab tests, leading to repeat testing that is usually not reimbursed. Another potential reason is that nurses are taking far more supplies than are needed to patient rooms, often forgetting to charge for these items. The supplies cannot be used for other patients once they are removed from the storage room, and the hospital loses reimbursement, as charges are not reported.”

“Nurses are often completely unaware of the costs of care in their inpatient or outpatient settings. Few staff nurses have any background or education in healthcare finance, and often resist the idea that they need to think about the cost of nursing care. However, in these times of rapid change and ever more scarce resources, it’s time for nurses to realize that their performance affects not only their patients’ health but the financial health of their institution.”




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