[Excerpt from author] 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.