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Pinching Pennies: How the Economy is Effecting LVNs and ADNs on the Job

Swabs, gauze and tongue depressors line the counters in doctors’ offices and fill supply closets in hospitals. I never much thought about it (except when I was a child I wanted to take all those jars full of goodies home and make a bunch of craft projects… okay, I still think that would be fun.) Anyway, many hospitals are pinching pennies and LVNs and ADNs on the frontlines have to cut back and be more frugal with their resources.

According to an article by Marylisa Kinsley on Nurse.com, “during the past few years, hospitals have begun to teach staff that every Band-Aid affects the bottom line. As hospitals close their doors because of financial failure, those that remain have focused on educating nursing staff about the business of healthcare.”

I’m not a business person. I don’t think I’ve ever held a Wall Street Journal in my hands and the thought of even balancing my checkbook makes me fall asleep. One thing I forget is that overall, health care is a business. I get side tracked with the politics of nurse benefits and patient to staff ratios, but numbers and dollars are always at the forefront.

Now why should nursing students care to think about this? Why does it matter if you use one or two Band Aids on a patient? Times are changing and students need to know what to expect in the upcoming health care industry. Nursing strikes, hospital politics and job benefits can hinder or help the skills that you learn in nursing school.

“Kimberly Glassman, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, senior vice president of patient care services and CNO at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, says the shift began more than 20 years ago. ‘In the mid-80s when Diagnosis Related Groups were established, hospitals moved from a per-diem payment system to a payment based on a limited number of days.’ This meant hospital reimbursement was based on the national average cost of caring for a patient admitted with a particular diagnosis, adjusted for regional differences, instead of a daily rate.

“About the same time, Glassman says, care pathways began to be developed to reflect best practices. She says that nurses always have looked toward navigating the best path through hospital services for patients. Conservation of resources is a natural byproduct of this type of planning.”

Basically, the less resources used and the better informed the patients are by LVNs and ADNs, the lower the cost and chance for relapse for the patient.

To read the complete article referenced in this post, you can visit