Think About It

A forum for discussion of the latest news and ideas in nursing management and healthcare.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Preparing for an uncertain future

Over the past few years, healthcare reform laced with economic unrest may have brought us the feeling that there's something bad looming. And the election process may have accentuated these fears. It doesn't matter if you voted for or against the President-elect, the change that will occur with a new President will affect all of us. And this gives us anxiety about the unknown. The change may be positive or negative – whichever, it's still looming.


I just read an article posted on Fierce Healthcare, which gives us further reason to be anxious. We should prepare for a potential recession that will impact hospitals with even more fiscal uncertainty than is happening now. We're in the middle of healthcare reimbursement changes that result in hospitals and other healthcare organizations sitting on shifting fiscal sand. The future of Obamacare is uncertain and now we have a possible recession to add to the financial unpredictability.


Hospitals will be challenged to deliver low-cost, high-quality care with good outcomes. Being fiscally conservative, tightening belts, and making do with less will be the norm. As nurse leaders, we'll be stretched to care for our patients with fewer resources and less staff. It sounds gloomy, but this new reality may push the nursing profession even more toward creativity and innovation. Our usual care models will be challenged and our processes will require greater efficiency. Nurses have always risen to the challenge and we'll be proactive in creating the best care environment for our patients.


Caryl Goodyear-Bruch, PhD, RN, NEA-BC

Senior Director, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo.

Nursing Management Editorial Board Member