Clinical Nurse LeaderMany professional nurses including nurse managers serve as leaders and as fiscal stewards.  The Clinical Nurse Leader™ (CNL) is certified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to improve accountability and the quality of patient care.  The AACN White Paper on the Role of the Clinical Nurse Leader  (2007) identifies good fiscal stewardship as an important element of the CNL role.

What Is a Fiscal Steward?

Nurses who are fiscal stewards link the quality of care to the resources that are needed.  For example, purchasing equipment and devices that prevent the development of decubitus ulcers saves money while dramatically improving care in many adult nursing units.

Nurses who are fiscal stewards improve performance, reduce waste and increase profitability.  For example, a preoperative clinic can help ensure that surgical patients are appropriately prepared for their procedures on admission.  This innovation helps keep the operating room on schedule and leads to better patient outcomes.

Nurses who are fiscal stewards are effective advocates and can get funding for patient care projects.  Nurses must make a convincing business case to finance devices to reduce decubitus ulcers, a preoperative clinic or other innovations.  It is essential to know how to apply evidence and estimate the costs, savings and profits resulting from these projects.  My textbook, Economics and Financial Management for Nurses and Nurse Leaders, 2nd ed. helps CNLs and other nurses gain these important skills.

CNLs must become effective fiscal stewards who save and generate money while improving patient care.  A basic understanding of health care financing and learning to develop a business case can transform nursing practice.

Economics and Financial Management for Nurses and Nurse Leaders, Second EditionSusan Penner is the author of Economics and Financial Management for Nurses and Nurse Leaders. Read more by her on our blog or check out her title. Also, stay up-to-date with the latest trends in inpatient and outpatient care - Susan Penner will be discussing this critical trend on our blog next month.