ANA, AONL: Cutting nurses will decrease care quality — instead, allocate resources wisely

Nursing and finance leaders must improve mutual understanding to agree on methods for allocating nursing resources, according to a new report published Jan. 21 by the Healthcare Financial Management Association. 

The 19-page report was co-written by the HFMA, the American Nurses Association and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership. It was endorsed by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

The authors write that improving mutual understanding between nursing and finance professionals can make it easier to work toward shared goals. The report asks healthcare leaders to pioneer evidence-based nurse staffing approaches, evaluate the effects of new technology on all stages of care, strive for collaboration and agree on key principles when allocating nursing resources. These principles include recognizing that nurse staffing makes a critical difference in patient experience, safe nurse staffing leads to better patient outcomes, and optimal staffing improves nurse retention, which reduces the cost of care.

"Finance and nursing leaders today realize that cutting nurse staff can work against efforts to improve quality of care and reduce costs," Joseph Fifer, HFMA president and CEO, said in a news release.

Collaboration will help prioritize quality of care, consider resource allocation holistically, yield more reliable data, and prevent and resolve conflict, the authors conclude.  

"It is time to shift the nurse staffing paradigm so that the contributions of nurses to positive patient outcomes are understood, valued and viewed as a priority investment rather than a discretionary expense," Ernest Grant, RN, PhD, president of ANA, said in the release.

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