Just so you know – I am not an accountant. But I have managed ward level, project and hospital budgets ranging from $12M to $36M.
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.
And you will need to because there seems to be a total scorched earth approach to financial policy at all levels of government and in our organisations. Sometimes it seems that the finances are more important than the patients! You know that:
- Productivity saving expectations are increasing.
- There is uncertainty and insecurity in many areas.
- The ongoing cost shifting and discourse between Federal and state governments makes like incredibly uncertain.
- Targets are imposed which are sometimes difficult to attain.
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 our Make Your Management Count 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 conversation 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 nurse 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 nurse 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.
Share your biggest concerns in regards to managing budgets at the unit level.