March 24, 2010 | | Comments 1
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Study looks at the 2009 economy in nursing

A recent benchmarking report posted on the Strategies for Nurse Managers Web site surveyed 179 nursing professionals in the healthcare industry regarding the effects of the 2009 economy. The results illustrate how the tumultuous 2009 economy had varying effects on facilities of all sizes in acute care, critical access, long-term care, ambulatory, home health, and rehabilitation settings.

Although the data reported do not dissect the particulars at any one institution or among any one age group of nurses, they provide a comprehensive look at the issue among a variety of facilities. The data also provides a glimpse into how each facility dealt with the economic downturn and where they stand in 2010.

The results show most facilities were affected in some way by the economy, as 60% reported cutting back on travel expenses along with renegotiating supplies in 2009. Facilities also reported individual ways specific units helped their facilities cut back on spending—for example, 78% of the respondents said overtime was reduced.

In addition, two of the most common measures were to renegotiate supply costs and to partner with staff to reduce expenses.

More than 100 respondents reported they were cutting travel expenses in addition to renegotiating supplies, and the third most common method was trimming education expenses (89).

Additional measures facilities took include:

  • Mandatory paid time off for a few days throughout the year
  • Decreasing employee pension contributions
  • Eliminating management and executive board bonuses
  • Not filling vacant positions
  • No longer matching retirement fund (401k)

Even though a vast majority of the respondents reported cutting back on spending, and finding alternative ways to save money, many facilities worked on keeping staff morale up in these difficult times

The top ways organizations recognized nurses were:

  • Verbal recognition from managers and other leadership (125)
  • Thank-you notes (97)
  • Nominating an employee of the month or similar recognition (88)

Despite facilities having to cut back on the spending, the outlook for the future looks bright. Seventy-four percent of respondents said their facility is currently hiring, while 65% said they plan to travel to one to two conferences in 2010.

Do any of these statistics come as a surprise to you? What are some ways your facility cut back its spending in 2009?


Source: Strategies for Nurse Managers


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Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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  1. From Economic Impact on Nurse Managers | The Healthcare Staffing Blog on Apr 16, 2010

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