Nursing is the largest group within a health care organization. For this reason, knowing the bases of the elaboration, development and follow-up is fundamental for the adequate management of the nursing area.
A budget must be seen as one more constant in any of our lives. We prepare budgets of many types and for many purposes. A budget is, in general, a forecast of all those activities that the health organization, or our department or unit will carry out in the future and that will require an allocation of resources. Therefore, to elaborate a budget is to carry out the planning of the expense in a future stretch of our activity as a nursing manager.
One of the keys to making a good budget is to use good sources of information, to know the organization, area or unit, to know the past needs and the problems that have occurred and, of course, to have good planning concepts.
A budget, although traditionally associated with chapters of economic expenditure, should be seen as something more, like the needs of care, people and materials of our unit or department.
The budget helps to coordinate the different units by determining when spending should occur, how and by whom this spending will be controlled. It will also help us make strategic decisions about what actions in terms of care we want to prioritize. A good budget will help us to meet objectives, to address and react to unforeseen events and to the overall sustainability of the organisation.
Budget planning is done for a specific period of time, essentially for a fiscal year, although it can be divided into shorter periods of time that suit our needs to better manage our unit or nursing area. Always under the vision of completing a cycle of activity within the organization.
The budget must be as realistic as possible, as otherwise it will lose its usefulness. On the other hand, factors such as seasonal fluctuations in health processes make it difficult to foresee long-term needs, which is why it is so important to prepare tight and realistic budgets in the short term. The manager-nurse must review and monitor compliance with the various expenditure items so that she has the necessary information to redirect the situation before an unavoidable deviation from the budget occurs, since this will end up having a direct impact on patients.