By Crystal Norris, R.N.
We nurses do love our accessories! One of the essential qualities of a nurse is always preparing for the unexpected. The best way to do that is to ensure that you have the correct tools on hand for the job. Below are some suggestions of exceptional items to keep stocked in your nursing bag for both everyday use, as well as those unexpected situations.
Stethoscope and scissors - Probably one of the most commonly suggested items, consider buying your own stethoscope versus using the disposable ones your unit may provide. Not only are you reducing medical waste, but typically you will have a better quality stethoscope to assess your patients better. A pair of blunt-tip scissors can come in handy for cutting difficult to open medication packaging, wound dressing changes, and cutting through clothing during emergencies.
Small pocket notepad - Keep a small pocket notebook that will fit in your scrub pocket to take down quick notes or as a reference guide for things you have trouble remembering. What's the phone number for the pharmacy again? Who do I contact for Social Work? Creating your own directory to carry around will keep you from scrambling to locate those things that you can't quite store in long term memory.
Clipboard - A clipboard with built-in storage or a foldable clipboard for all your loose paperwork is a handy thing to carry around. These are also good for when you need a hard surface to write on that has not been exposed to your sick patients.
Lots of your favorite pens, pencils, highlighters, and dry-erase markers - A nurse should always have a black pen, a pencil, a highlighter, and a dry-erase marker in their pocket. Personalize these items to spot them easily so pen thieves can be detected quickly. A dry-erase marker will come in handy for updating your patients' whiteboards with vital information.
Your personal pharmacy - Be prepared for any ailment that may arise in your 12-hour shift. Headaches, common cold symptoms, tummy troubles, allergies, and aches and pains can pop up at any moment so try to prepare. Unscented lotion, lip balm, feminine products, mouthwash, and a toothbrush and toothpaste are also great things to keep on hand.
Extra scrubs - Keep a set of scrubs for any incidents that may occur during your shift. You never know what may splash upon you unexpectedly. Having an extra set in your bag or car will prevent the need to wear hospital-issued green surgery scrubs.
Snacks and water bottle- Things can get busy and something you may not have time to eat a full lunch. Keep high protein, healthy snacks available for emergencies or when you feel your sugar may be running a little low. Also, keep a water bottle to stay hydrated during your busy day.
Being prepared for anything will give you the peace of mind that you can survive your shift. All of these things can benefit both new and experienced nurses. What are some things that you can't live without as a nurse?
About The Author
Crystal Lynn Norris RN - Crystal has been a Registered Nurse specializing in Labor & Delivery for the past three years. Her favorite part of her profession is being able to help women to find their strength bringing new life into the world. Crystal is a wife and mother to her sweet daughter Ruby. In her free time, she enjoys writing, traveling, and spending time with family.