I am a new director of nursing. When I was hired, I was told that I was not responsible for developing the supply budget. But as of this week, there is a new administrator who now tells me the supply budget is my responsibility. What should I include?

First of all, relax. It is actually a good thing to develop and have a say in the budget. As a DON, you will have a better idea of what your units are using, and what items or equipment may need to be replaced in this next budget year.

Supplies are broken down into three areas: medical, central and nursing.

Medical supplies are the items used by one resident ordered by their doctor, such as special dressings, colostomy supplies, tube feeding equipment (not the food)  and urologicals. These items are reimbursed by the resident, either by Medicare B (resident 20%) or private pay.

Central supplies are personal care items and are included in the in-room rate. They cannot be charged to the resident and include medicine cups , gloves, syringes, masks, shields, isolation gowns, bandages, thermometer covers, spoons, glucose monitors, cups and straws, to name a few.

Capital budget items are pieces of equipment or items that cost more than a certain amount of money (get this number from the administrator) and  are reusable. They include tube feeding pumps, wheelchairs, geri-chairs, med carts, suction machines, whirlpool tubs, beds and nebulizers.

Call a  seasoned DON you know if you want someone to talk about budgets or want to ask them specific questions. Being accountable for your budget actually gives you power. Don’t fret about it. Learn about budgets and ask your administrator to assist you with developing your first one, if you’d like. With some due diligence, I am sure you will become an expert.