Inventory Management


I recently transitioned into the role of HSA. One of the things that always troubled me as a staff nurse was supply/inventory management. In my facility, space is an issue, and we don't have a actual stock room, just supply cabinets. We have always used logs, but with varying degrees of success. However, we seem to have too much stock of infrequently used supplies and run out of supplies early. We encounter some of the same struggles with out pharmacy supplies.

What are you methods for inventory management/tracking? An automated system is out of the question for me right now. Any cost/time effective manual systems out there that are successful... the traditional log books just aren't cutting it!

Neats, BSN

682 Posts

Specializes in Case Manager/Administrator. Has 14 years experience.

When I was HSA I too had supply issues, I had a case of old Chelation therapy bags???!! We did use them as training material though but it was awful expensive training.

Common supplies I had the nurses write down on an individual basis what they used for 120 hours (5 days) I approached them on an individual basis and explained about the importance of obtaining true supply use and to report directly to me if the supplies were not available that same day. The data I received was so valuable and we ordered according to what was commonly being used. There was hiccups of 4X4 gauze, 2 different size needles, tagaderm, tape, and band aids it was unclear why those items. The nurses complained that all their work was for nothing, and nothing changed. We had a meeting and I brought the data to the meeting...they were shocked at what they truly hand out, what they truly use, we decided to conduct another trial of supply use, this time the data we received was spot on. When the supply person places the supplies in the rooms the last 3 items have bright neon stickers on them, this is an indication that the staff person who is using this should take the time to write that supply down on the re-order sheet, the nurses have three times to write this supply down (by the way they are all banded together, if used one they must band the remainder two together for the next use). I do spot checks if I see the neon ones not banded I will just take them, it is up to nurses to work together to ensure the supplies they need are available.

Pharmacy is different I have a staff position on each shift designated (rotated each quarter) to review pharmacy supplies on a daily basis, if they run out I can go directly to the staff who worked that position.

Lastly, I would never hold someone accountable for lack of supplies unless they did not do their job, documentation/logs are key if they did their checks and it is on the log then I can go directly to the supply person. If it is not on the log the check was not performed, this reflects on the nurses and their evaluation.

We are all in this together, following policies/procedures will get us home safely to our families.

Thanks for the feedback! I have been using the historical reports and order forcasting from our supply companies to determine need, but finding that to be inaccurate for certain items, because of over and under ordering in the past.