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Whoever holds the purse strings holds the power

Nurse managers need to have a budget, understand and control it, and trust management to stand behind the

An average ward has a budget of about £1 million a year for staffing and supplies. With responsibility for its allocation often with the ward manager or sister, budgeting skills are essential.

Associate director of nursing at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust Jane Naish says matrons will have responsibility for a group of wards and, while not the budget holder, will need to understand spreadsheets to reduce agency spend while maintaining safe staffing levels.

Directors of nursing in all settings need to have an oversight of the nursing budgets, and understand complex financial arrangements such as in cost improvement programmes and commissioning arrangements.

Monthly meeting

Ms Naish says that nurses can learn some of the skills needed on the job, but also need training. ‘Good practice for ward sisters is a monthly meeting to go through finances with their business accountant,’ she explains.

‘Groups of ward


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