VIII Glossary

Acuity-based staffing: A patient assignment model that takes into account the level of patient care required based on the severity of a patient’s illness or condition.

Affordable Care Act (ACA): Legislation enacted in 2010 to increase consumers’ access to health care coverage and protect them from insurance practices that restrict care or significantly increase the cost of care.

Budget: An estimate of revenue and expenses over a specified period of time, usually over a year.

Capital budgets: Budgets used to plan investments and upgrades to tangible assets that lose or gain value over time. Capital is something that can be touched, such as buildings or computers.

Co-pay: A flat fee the consumer pays at the time of receiving a health care service as a part of their health care plan.

Deductible: The amount of money a consumer pays for health care before their insurance plan pays anything. These amounts generally apply per person per calendar year.

Economics: The study of how society makes decisions about its limited resources.

Evidence Based Practice (EBP): A lifelong problem-solving approach that integrates the best evidence from well-designed research studies and evidence-based theories; clinical expertise and evidence from assessment of the health care consumer’s history and condition, as well as health care resources; and patient, family, group, community, and population preferences and values.

Floating: An agency strategy that asks nurses to temporarily work on a different unit to help cover a short-staffed shift.

Health disparities: Differences in health outcomes that result from social determinants of health (SDOH).

Health care disparity: Differences in access to health care and insurance coverage.

Mandatory overtime: A requirement by agencies for nurses to stay and care for patients beyond their scheduled shift when short staffing occurs.

Medicaid: A joint federal and state program covering groups of eligible individuals, such as low-income families, qualified pregnant women and children, and individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). States may choose to cover additional groups, such as individuals receiving home and community-based services and children in foster care who are not otherwise eligible.

Medicare: A federal health insurance program used by people aged 65 and older, younger individuals with permanent disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Off with benefits: An agency staffing strategy when a nurse is not needed for their scheduled shift. The nurse does not typically receive an hourly wage and is not expected to report to work, but they still accrue benefits such as insurance and paid time off.

On call: An agency staffing strategy when a nurse is not immediately needed for their scheduled shift. They may have options to stay at work and complete work-related education or stay home.

Operating budgets: Budgets including personnel costs and annual facility operating costs.

Pay for Performance: A reimbursement model, also known as value-based payment, that attaches financial incentives based on the performance of health care agencies and providers.

Resource stewardship: Using appropriate resources to plan, provide, and sustain evidence-based nursing services that are safe, effective, financially responsible, and used judiciously.

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH): Conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play, such as unstable housing, low income areas, unsafe neighborhoods, or substandard education that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.

Team nursing: A common staffing pattern that uses a combination of Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LPN/VNs), and Assistive Personnel (AP) to care for a group of patients.


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