1. Section Editor(s): Alexander, Mary MS, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN

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Happy Nurses Week! This year, our celebration (May 6-12) focuses on the economic impact of nursing and how we can make the case for our economic value. It's a tough subject for some of us to talk about; we're used to demonstrating only our profession's social value.

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will be fully implemented by next year, has placed a great deal of responsibility on nurses' shoulders. Patient loads may grow as a result of the additional 32 million individuals who will be covered by insurance when the ACA takes effect.


We're already aware of the reimbursement rules put in place by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which make it incumbent on nurses to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, hospital-acquired infections.


The focus on providing high-quality patient care while saving money provides opportunities for infusion nurses to validate our skills as well as economic value to organizational executives and policy makers. For instance, we know that when nurses manage care coordination, it decreases costs.1 We also know that infusion nurses save money by minimizing waste of catheters and supplies and maximizing valuable nursing time.2 When nurses' skills and knowledge are tapped to the maximum extent, patients fare better.


While we nurses know these facts, the people in the "C-suites" need to be informed and shown evidence of our economic value. To do this, each of us must be knowledgeable about health care policy, financing, and the issues brought to the fore by the ACA's implementation. In the past, I have urged readers to participate in work-force planning, data collection, and research; doing so now is more important than ever before. Advocate for nurses at all levels and support efforts to expand their areas of practice when feasible. Be visible and be vocal to help nursing move forward.


The Infusion Nurses Society (INS) can help you amplify your voice. As your professional association, we provide you with resources, such as meetings and publications, to help you keep abreast of the latest advances in infusion therapy and the changes happening in the health care system. But we need engaged members to influence policy. Volunteer to run for a seat on the Board of Directors, join one of our task forces, or participate on one of our volunteer committees. Fill out the surveys we e-mail to you. We want to hear your thoughts and opinions so that we can make INS even more relevant to your practice.


For nurses, the patient is the focus of our work as health care professionals. Our skill and expertise, coupled with the economic value we provide, positively affects patient care, safety, and quality. What better time is there than Nurses Week to recognize those qualities? To all my nurse colleagues, thank you for all you do-without question, you're worth it!


Mary Alexander




1. Owens MK. Costs of uncoordinated care. In: Young PL, Saunders RS, Olsen LA, eds. The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2010:109-140. [Context Link]


2. Roszell S, Jones C. Intravenous administration issues: a comparison of intravenous insertions and complications in vancomycin versus other antibiotics. J Infus Nurs. 2010;33(2):112-118. [Context Link]