Economics and Financial Management for Nurses and Nurse Leaders, Second EditionThis is the final post in a three-part series explaining how nurses can make a business case for health care.  Last month gave tips on writing a business plan. This month helps nurses make a business case by writing a grant proposal.  Grant proposals are a way to get resources for community health programs.

How do grant proposals differ from business plans?

Business plans and grant proposals are both ways that nurses can make a business case.  However, business plans focus on profitability and financing for a health care setting.  For example, a business plan shows how a hospital can generate savings by providing follow-up for patients discharged with congestive heart failure (CHF).  Grant proposals focus on cost-effective approaches for community needs.  For example, senior populations need community programs for chronic conditions such as CHF.

How do nurses find funders?

When writing a grant proposal, an important first step is to identify a funding agency for application.  Resources such as the Foundation Center can help in locating a government or private institution to review and fund the grant proposal.  The nurse decides to apply to a local private foundation that sponsors programs for the elderly.  The nurse prepares the grant proposal with a team of community stakeholders who care about this problem.  Senior center directors and a cardiologist are stakeholders on the team preparing the grant proposal.

What are the next steps in writing a grant proposal?

The nurse must demonstrate evidence for the community problem, and develop a feasible solution to present in the proposal.  A nurse gathers evidence from senior center directors about elderly persons who would benefit from CHF education and support.  The team prepares a grant proposal for funding to support nurse-led CHF education and support groups in local senior centers.

Grant proposals require a clear explanation of the community need, and a clear description of the proposed program.  The local senior center directors voice a need for this program, and the nurse also uses research evidence to explain the community need.  The team proposes funding a part-time nurse to lead CHF education and support groups for two hours each week at three senior centers in the city over the next two years.

The proposal requires a budget for resources needed by this program, including nurse wages and educational materials.  Funders like to see community collaboration. The team explains how this program will be coordinated with the local hospital telephone follow-up program for CHF patients.  Letters of support from the senior centers and the local hospital are included to reinforce that this program addresses an important need in the community.

Economics and Financial Management for Nurses and Nurse Leaders, Second Edition  has more information for nurses who want to write successful grant proposals.  The book provides sample grant proposals and additional guidance on making a business case for nursing care.