Posted: March 22nd, 2023
Financial and Resource Utilization Issues in Developing a Nursing Program Proposal
Appropriate resource utilization is an important aspect of nursing. The process entails finding the optimal methods that would save resources and achieve the expected healthcare outcome in various areas, including therapy, medical procedures, and treatment techniques. It also encompasses the proper use of medical technologies to avoid wastage. One of the resource utilization issues that must be considered when developing a proposal includes the cost of nursing as a resource since it constitutes 75% of total hospital costs. Significant resources related to nursing are hours of care and wages, where the monthly working period and labor costs for nursing are categorized per patient nursing hours and costs (Welton & Harper, 2017). Besides various approaches applied in assessing resource utilization, examining how nursing care is offered to each patient and measuring the total costs of care provided based on the outcome is a more effective approach in revealing the successes and weaknesses of a system.
Secondly, the financial management skills of nursing managers should be considered when developing a nursing program proposal. Notably, nurses influence decisions in healthcare and advocate for effective resource allocation. Financial competency assists nurse leaders to maintain high standards since they are responsible for some level of management, such as analyzing financial statements, managing financial resources, and educating nurses on the application of financial knowledge (Noh & Lim, 2015). Therefore, to meet such standards, financial management education for nurse managers and nurses should be enhanced.
Another resource utilization issue that arises is the capacity building of the faculty entrusted to train the nurses. The procedure entails a process in which the faculty obtains, improves, and maintains the knowledge and skills required for training and guiding nursing students. Notably, the effectiveness of the nursing program can only be achieved through the development of leadership competencies (Kang, Ho, & Nguyen, 2018). Hence, effective leadership and resource capacity can influence nursing programs.
Fiscal and Resources Available
Resources can limit the achievement of effective and efficient services. Health care resources include personnel, supplies, drugs, funds, facilities, and equipment used in healthcare service provision (Olsson & Ransom, 2017). Fiscal resources can be categorized into three groups. The first one is environmental resources, which comprise physical rooms and space in the facilities and their costs, such as air conditioning, electricity, and heating systems. The second part entails equipment resources, which include audiovisual gadgets, machinery, training, supplies, and computers among other facilities. While the third group contains personnel resources, which entail part-time and full-time staff, fringe benefits, taxes, insurance, and compensation among other aspects (Williams & Wilkins, 2019). Since resources are scarce, proper utilization and allocation should be encouraged.
Nurse staffing is the most vital resource, which constitutes the highest cost proportion within the health sector since health is a labor-intensive field. However, many countries are facing a shortage in nurse staffing, leading to an increase in operating costs of health centers, which ultimately affect the quality of care provided (Heydari, Najar & Bakhshi, 2015). Therefore, the effective utilization of resources available has a significant financial impact on the resources available.
Resource Utilization Strategic Decisions by Nursing Leaders
Resource utilization should be strategic considering that healthcare resources are scarce. The process can be categorized into policy level, organizational level, and micro-allocation strategies. Within the health centers, strategic decisions on resource utilization are based on policies, protocols, and clinical practice. However, micro-allocation strategies involve decision-making by nurses to investigate when distribution strategies are not in place (Olsson & Ransom, 2017). Therefore, nursing leaders are engaged in strategic policymaking at the organizational level and supervise nurses who develop micro-allocation strategies.
Medical resources need proper management to control overall hospital costs. It is worth noting that the management of these resources is the responsibility of all staff in the health facilities, including nurses, under the supervision of nursing leaders. Therefore, an organizational culture needs to be developed within the hospital in a way that nurse leaders and nurses adopt a sense of futurism when using resources (Heydari, Najar, & Bakhshi, 2015). Such initiatives are possible if financial education is incorporated into nursing programs.
Some practices within the health centers are detrimental to efficient resource utilization. It is worth noting that drugs should not be stored behold their expiry date. Therefore, nursing leaders should learn inventory management and the financial processes to teach the other workers on the strategies to avoid some of these practices as well as make strategic decisions on the procurement of supplies. The learning should be accompanied by designing and implementing a systematic supply chain strategy to ensure that a hospital can access quality supplies with the right quantities. Hence, some of the approaches that nursing managers should consider when enhancing proper resources utilization and management may include monitoring performance of other nursing staff on their usage of resources, training the nurses on protection and maintenance of hospital equipment, learning about equipment and supplies prices, and being careful on usage of equipments and supplies (Heydari, Najar & Bakhshi, 2015). The implementation of such strategies is expected to reduce the costs of health facilities and improve the quality of care.
Tracking the Impact of Strategic Decisions and the Tools Available for the Process
Monitoring the impact of strategic decisions is vital in ensuring that outcomes are desirable, strengths are appreciated, and limitations are addressed. One of the ways that nursing leaders can improve this process is through auditing and monitoring the usage of resources as a process of controlling costs. Nurse executives should learn accounting systems to manage the cost, and hence supervise the effective use of supplies and equipment. While monitoring can be conducted monthly, the main audit should be done every year (Heydari, Najar, & Bakhshi, 2015). Hence, these processes should identify possible problems in resource utilization within the centers.
Some of the tools used by nursing leaders may include resource management software that tracks information, such as skills and availability of nursing staff. However, the data in the software might be limited or fail to obtain some vital resources, especially indirect resource utilization, which is necessary for resource evaluations. Hence, in such cases, the nurse leaders can obtain the information empirically by using self-reported questionnaires, interviews, and observation, such as physical stock count, among other approaches. These instruments should collect data, such as resources utilized, the number of visits made to see the doctor, and days spent in the hospital. Knowledge of this information should assist in calculating the costs of that particular resource, and hence contribute to making final estimates (Leggett et al., 2016). Therefore, the monitoring process should be done monthly at a smaller scale, while a major evaluation can be conducted yearly. Analyzing information will identify possible failures in resource utilization and suggest measures to implement.
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