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Economic incentive in community nursing: attraction, rejection or indifference?

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Author(s): Kingma Mireille

Journal: Human Resources for Health
ISSN 1478-4491

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 2;
Date: 2003;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background It is hard to imagine any period in time when economic issues were more visible in health sector decision-making. The search for measures that maximize available resources has never been greater than within the present decade. A staff payroll represents 60%-70% of budgeted health service funds. The cost-effective use of human resources is thus an objective of paramount importance. Using incentives and disincentives to direct individuals' energies and behaviour is common practice in all work settings, of which the health care system is no exception. The range and influence of economic incentives/disincentives affecting community nurses are the subject of this discussion paper. The tendency by nurses to disregard, and in many cases, deny a direct impact of economic incentives/disincentives on their motivation and professional conduct is of particular interest. The goal of recent research was to determine if economic incentives/disincentives in community nursing exist, whether they have a perceivable impact and in what areas. Conclusion Understanding the value system of community nurses and how they respond to economic incentives/disincentives facilitates the development of reward systems more likely to be relevant and strategic. If nurse rewards are to become more effective organizational tools, the data suggest that future initiatives should: • Improve nurses' salary/income relativities (e.g. comparable pay/rates); • Provide just compensation for job-related expenses (e.g. petrol, clothing); • Introduce promotional opportunities within the clinical area, rewarding skill and competence development; • Make available a range of financed rewards. - Direct (e.g. subsidized education, additional leave, insurance benefits); - Indirect (e.g. better working conditions, access to professional support network, greater participation in decision-making bodies).
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