The language of business: A key nurse executive competency

Joan Thomas, Allison Collins, Denton Collins, Donna Herrin, Deborah Dafferner, Julie Gabriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The ability to interpret fiscal data pertaining to patient outcomes, human resources, customer satisfaction, and financial positions is a vital evidenced-based nurse executive competency. The ability of nurse leaders to influence and contribute in health system executive decision making requires fluency in accounting, "the language of business." After examining challenges faced by nurse executives, faculty at the Loewenberg School of Nursing at the University of Memphis integrated intensive accounting education into a new executive MSN program. Woven throughout the management accounting course is the concept that accounting data must be relevant and accurate for use by organization decision makers. Evidence-based decision making is emphasized when teaching planning and control activities. In addition, fluency in accounting is enhanced which leads to greater skill in patient and nursing advocacy. As competency in management accounting increases through the semester, executive MSN students are encouraged to apply cost accounting course content to their practice settings and to analyze how planning or control activities improve quality outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-127
Number of pages6
JournalNursing Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


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