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Job Description of a Central Supply Clerk in a Nursing Home

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

With the rising population of baby boomers and the elderly, nursing homes will need more personnel to ensure they operate efficiently. This includes more central supply clerks charged with keeping supplies and equipment in stock and complying with government ordering policies. Nursing home central supply clerks earned average salaries of $38,000 as of 2014, according to the Indeed.com job site. However, your actual salary will vary by employer size and geographical location.

Primary Responsibilities

A nursing home central supply clerk is responsible for selecting vendors, negotiating prices and creating purchase order forms for all items they order, including diapers, underwear, bed pans, call bells, examination gloves, wheelchair cushions, walkers, pillows, linens and bath benches. They also ensure the proper departments are charged for specific orders. In addition, central supply clerks prepare claims for damaged merchandise, make corrections when the wrong items are shipped and store all supplies according to nursing home standards. Nursing home central supply clerks also research information about new equipment and arrange for demonstrations to administrators. Most assist nursing home departments with keeping their expenses within budget.

Work Environment

Most nursing home central supply clerks work during regular business hours -- Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- because many of their suppliers operate during these hours. Because of the number of shipments required to keep nursing homes adequately stocked, supply clerks may spend many hours on their feet, lifting boxes and reaching and kneeling to place items in storage containers. Work can get stressful because nursing home supply clerks must constantly track inventory to ensure they maintain the necessary supplies and equipment. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration provides guidelines for the number of lifting devices nursing homes should have based on the size of the facility. Nursing homes must also meet sanitation standards, such as keeping intake and exhaust ducts clean to prevent the entrance of dirt, dust and contaminants.

Education and Qualifications

Nursing home central supply clerks typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers may prefer hiring those with one or more years of experience in purchasing, inventory management and cost control. Supply clerks with at least seven years of experience can become Certified Materials and Resource Professionals by taking and passing the CMRP exam through the American Hospital Association. Essential qualities to succeed in the job include attention to detail and organization, communication and computer skills.

Advancement Opportunities

The next level up for a nursing home central supply clerk is the position of central supply manager. In nursing homes, these managers hire, train and oversee the work of central supply clerks. While qualifications vary by employer, central supply managers usually need at least one or more years of experience as nursing home supply clerks to qualify. In 2014, nursing home central supply managers earned average salaries of $46,000, according to Indeed.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a job category specific to nursing home central supply clerks. One similar occupation it does track -- Material Recording Clerks -- is expected to see a 1 percent increase in employment from 2012 to 2022, which is much slower than the 11 percent projected growth rate for all occupations. A better indicator for central supply clerks in nursing homes is the 21 percent increase in jobs expected for nursing assistants. Demand for nursing assistants will increase as more Americans reach their elderly years and need to live in nursing homes.