The Nurse Leader's Guide to Business Skills

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The Nurse Leader's Guide to Business Skills

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The Nurse Leader's Guide to Business Skills
Strategies for Optimizing Financial Performance

Pamela Hunt, BS, MSN, RN; Deborah Laughon, RN, BSN, MS, DBA, CCRN

Take your knowledge of your department's financial management to the next level

Innovative concepts to help you plan, forecast, and evaluate nursing return on investment (ROI)
Take charge of your department’s financial health and take your knowledge of healthcare management to the next level with The Nurse Leader’s Guide to Business Skills. Authors Pamela Hunt, BS, MSN, RN, and Deborah Laughon, RN, BSN, MS, DBA, CCRN, provide tools to build skills and broaden understanding of the healthcare environment beyond basic budget and financial management. Forecast your department’s financial resources with ready-to-use nursing tools, time-saving strategies, and sample case studies.

Not ready for The Nurse Leader’s Guide to Business Skills?

Get the basics with Finance and Budgeting Made Simple: Essential Skills for Nurses

This book will help you understand your unit’s budget, plan appropriate staffing, get involved in setting budgets, and make budgeting presentations to senior staff.


  • The only basic guide to finance and budgeting written for nurse managers and nurse leaders
  • Comprehend the financial side of healthcare through easy-to-understand advice
  • Eliminate guesswork with straightforward descriptions of each section of important financial forms and reports
  • Save time with plain English definitions of potentially confusing financial terminology
  • Secure executive buy-in with concise explanations of how the nursing department’s financial performance affects the entire organization
  • Handle the budget process with quick and helpful field-tested tips and reminders
  • Prepare budget presentations and build business plans with simple and easy-to-follow instructions
  • Obtain adequate financial support for the department through right-way, wrong-way tips
  • Provide time-saving insight to ancillary leaders who also need financial training

Bonus tools included with your book:

  • Sample Hospital SWOT
  • Sample Payer Mix
  • Sample Surgical Department SWOT
  • Sample Agenda for Critical Care Department Planning Retreat
  • Sample Schedule for Planning Session
  • Sample 15-year Plan Spreadsheet
  • Fixed Costs Chart
  • Variable Costs Chart
  • Total Costs Chart
  • Planning Checklist
  • Staff Planning Workbook
  • Plan, Do, Study Act Plan for Rapid Cycle Improvements
  •  “Five S” Strategy
  • Core Performance Metrics Grid for Concise Communication
  • Sample HCAHPS Composite Score Trending Presentation

Understanding the fundamentals of staff planning is important, but it’s easy to get bogged down with calculations. This book makes the work easy by including a staffing model toolkit to do the work for you. You’ll find 8- and 12-hour staffing model spreadsheet calculators and a productivity worksheet so you can stay within budgeted target hours and evaluate different shift and skill mix percentages without doing the math!

Table of contents:

Today’s Nurse Manager Responsibilities
Challenges Facing the Nurse Manager

Strategic Planning
Goals and Objectives
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
Goal Development
Holding Planning Sessions or Retreats

Labor Budgets
Full-Time Equivalents
Calculating Productivity
Specific Departmental Labor Needs
Variance Justification
Matching Productivity to Quality

Capital Budgeting
Capital Justification
Unexpected Expenses
Budgeting for Operating Expenses

Developing a Business Plan for New Services and Products
The Business Approach
Humanistic Approach
Presentation of Plan

Outside Controls On the Practice of Nursing
Presenting Your Case to the Decision Makers
Tools for Rapid Cycle Improvements
Case Study: Changes in Guidelines for Perinatal Care

Managing Resources
Supply Management in Nursing
Par Levels
Best Practices in Supply Chain ManagementTechnology Considerations
Staff Involvement

Bidirectional Accountability and Responsibility
Communication and Data Sharing Strategies with:
-Department Staff
-Nursing Leaders
-Executive Team

Learning objectives:

  • Discuss the changing responsibilities of the nurse leaders related to finance
  • Identify key areas of nursing that impact the financial standing of the organization
  • Calculate the number of FTE on the current schedule
  • Calculate the number of FTE needed to cover average volume of work
  • Calculate and trend productivity for unit
  • Identify variances and how to correct them
  • Develop a 15-year capital budget plan for a department
  • Obtain components necessary for a complete capital equipment justification
  • Write and defend a justification for capital equipment purchase
  • Demonstrate the use of the three methods for operational budgeting
  • Evaluate and justify variances that occur between budgeted dollars and actual dollars spent
  • Identify the difference between fixed and variable costs
  • List examples of what expenses should be charged to a new service
  • Explain revenue sources for a service or product
  • List at least five departments that need to be involved when a new service is being implemented
  • Identify key financial opportunities and possible solutions for improvement related to supply/inventory management
  • Discuss strategies to actively engage staff in the improvement process
  • Identify key partnerships to support awareness and collaborative decision making to ensure successful financial operations
  • Discuss strategies for effective communication to support collaboration and accountability for financial performance across all key stakeholders


About the authors:

Pamela Hunt, BS, MSN, RN, is vice president of patient services/chief nursing executive at The Indiana Heart Hospital in Indianapolis. She has lectured nationally and internationally on the challenges of nursing leadership. Her articles regarding healthcare leadership have been published in nationally recognized journals, including Nursing Management, Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, OR Nursing, and AORN Journal. She authored the learning module entitled “The Nurse Manager and Business Plan Development with Cost-Benefit Analysis” for Sigma Theta Tau.

Deborah Laughon, RN, BSN, MS, DBA, CCRN, is the ANCC Magnet Recognition Progam® manager at Florida Hospital. She has a unique background combining cardiac, acute, and emergency care clinical expertise with broad analytical and financial management in a large community institution. She coordinates publications and research to support evidence-based practice and extends the science of nursing to achieve ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® designation. Previously, Laughon served as director of emergency and cardiac service, patient flow, systems improvement manager, and clinical manager for the coronary care unit, cardiac interventional unit, adult admissions unit, catheter lab recovery unit, and clinical dietitians. Laughon also serves as faculty for the University of Phoenix, Central Florida and College of Natural Science and Nursing. She has been published in national healthcare and nursing journals and has presented to healthcare organizations nationwide and for national professional associations.

Faculty Disclosure Statement:
HCPro Inc. has confirmed that none of the faculty/presenters, planners, contributors, or their partners/spouses have any relevant financial relationships to disclose related to the content of this educational activity.

Continuing Education:

If you would like to find out about the availability of nursing contact hours on this or any other HCPro nursing book, please visit our Continuing Education information page, here.

Published: September 2011