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Nurse Survey Finds Hospitals are Making Cost-Cutting Moves

Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media, March 11, 2010

HCPro, Inc., the parent company of HealthLeaders Media, recently conducted a survey among 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 offers 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 that specific units helped their facility cut back on spending—for example, 78% of the respondents said overtime was reduced.

Even though a vast majority of the respondents reported cutting back on spending, and finding alternative ways to save money, many facilities worked on staff morale by offering verbal recognition from managers and above (72%); and nominating an employee of the month (51%).

There is good news though. 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.

Sheryl Tripp, MSN, RN-BC at OhioHealth in Columbus, OH, is not surprised by the results.

"We all know the age of the nurse is older and wiser and in several years those masses will be retired and perhaps another nursing shortage can be expected. But as for addressing the economy, I think everyone had to do something," she says.

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