Making your management count
Despite not being accountants, high performing clinical managers understand the money side of their business. You do not have to be an accountant to manage budgets at the unit level – and the more involved clinicians are in developing and managing the budget at this level, the less likely their organisation will fall into the red.
Every one of your systems will be a bit different so we can’t tell you specifically about your system.
The principles and processes you learn here will help you with the building blocks when you get back.
To do this you need to be prepared to be active learners.
How does knowing my budget empower me?
I am assuming that none of you are accountants; that, in fact, you started nursing not to manage budgets but to care for patients. Many of you have, to date managed to avoid the whole icky conversation about managing money in your units. We get that.
But by developing this basic financial language and practice – it gives you the ticket to negotiate for a better deal for your team and your patients.
It will give you credibility. You will be more successful in your requests and you can argue from a stronger, more informed position.
Whether you work in healthcare, aged or community care, you will have noticed that increasingly there is an expectation that the principles of commercial business management are applied. And the reality is, you are managing a business, often with very large budgets. These business get their funding from a variety of sources: the key sources are from public taxes through governments, and private service users and investors.
And like any normal commercial business, the external financial and economic environment will flow into the internal financial environment. Since the GFC, this environment has been incredibly uncertain driving policy and funding changes as all levels of government. Most areas of health, aged and community care are now subjected to the harsh discipline of commercial management – the newest area to experience this is the disability sector with the introduction in Australia of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
All these complexities affect you, your team and your patients/clients and residents.
This is when you as a manager need to create certainty. You need to know what’s happening and how to position your team to take full advantage of this. You need to understand the parameters you are working within – the ones you can change and the ones your can’t.
Graduates of this program have said that by doing this program, it is like they have been given a key to a room that has always been closed to them – the room where the resources are discussed and negotiated; where decisions are made about what will actually happen in their units. And once they are in the room, they suddenly understand the language that is being spoken for the first time. And they can hear whether the conversations reflect reality or not. They feel a sense of confidence to contribute and even correct the assumptions that are made about what resources are needed in their unit.
When unit and front line managers understand the finances, they get the key to the room and a seat at the table – because they are speaking the right language. When managers are given responsibility to manage their budgets, they have more control over what is spent – and can more effectively rein in expenditure or find ways to grow their revenue.
In the discussion forum, share your biggest concerns in regards to managing budgets at the unit level.