The pricing of nursing care


  • Joyce Hendricks BAppSc (Nursing) GradDipEd MNS RN RM,

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer, Griffith University, Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Southport
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  • Pierre Baume rn rpn mhp PCH1

    1. Associate Professor/Director, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Belmont Hospital, Carina, Queensland, Australia
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Joyce Hendncks, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, PMB 50, Gold Coast Mail Centre, Southport QLD 4217, Australia


Despite the poor performance of the general economy, the health care industry in Australia has experienced constant growth for several decades. Overall, Australia's expenditure on health is relatively high and, with an increasingly aged population, this expenditure is not likely to decrease. With the current concerns over cost-containment in the health sector it is important to assess the value of nursing care in economic terms. This paper explores the issue of valuing of nursing care within the framework of the Australian Health Care System. Questions are posed of nurses as to whether they are prepared to confront the realities of the health care arena and whether they are ready to value nursing practice in terms of economic value. As well as answering these questions, the paper argues that nursing costs are not sufficiently reimbursed under the current Australian health benefits, and that this poor estimation of the worth of health care may stem from the historical and social influences of nursing and the care provided by nurses. The paper concludes that the Australian health care system is clearly no longer static and that the public cannot afford to support the costs associated with a growing health care industry. Moreover, nursing can no longer afford not to be viewed as an entity in it's own right. A greater awareness of nursing's output will result if organisational or institutional changes are encouraged for the benefit of the Australian society, as a whole, as well as for the nursing profession.