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November 2012, Volume 42 Number 11 , p 52 - 55


  • Jeff Strickler MA, RN, CEN, CFRN, EMT-P, NE-BC


IT'S A SLOW MORNING on the unit when JM and SK take a quick break over coffee to express their dissatisfaction with a recent decision to forgo purchasing a new I.V. pump. The device had several features that would have made their work easier.JM says, "They never spend a dime to make our job easier."SK adds, "I don't understand why we can't have the new pumps. They've forgotten what it's like to work at the bedside. They just want the budget to look good to the boss."JM continues, "You know, I was on the committee that evaluated the pump. We told the director that it would make the work go faster."SK concluded, "They just don't seem to care about us or our patients!"Many of us have been involved in a conversation like this that focuses on our own perspective and ignores the difficulties of such decisions. The healthcare environment is full of opportunities for new equipment-some that improve patient care and some that don't, despite what slick advertisements may claim. Staff must make difficult decisions about where to invest a hospital's limited resources.If you're in a position like JM and SK's, perhaps the first step should be to ask yourself if you made a strong case for your perspective. This article will show you how to organize a business proposal to increase the likelihood that you'll get what you want and need.Many proposals are made weakly and without supporting data. Generally, clinical staff members describe the advantages of their proposals in general descriptions of workload, patient care, and safety instead of quantifying the advantages and clarifying the reasons to support the proposal. Direct care nurses need to understand this concept because they now have a greater voice and role in these decisions than in any time in our profession's past.Before writing a proposal, the first step is to know your unit's current financial and quality performance so you can clearly articulate your business case. From a financial perspective, you should know how your

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