Nurses, once they leave a report, are on the floor, working hard their entire shift. In and out of each room, with hardly a moment to spare to use the restroom, they are charged with keeping themselves armed and prepared for any situation they may encounter — roving caretakers. While most facilities provide mobile workstations, this does little for the nurse who is not at their cart the moment they need something. Follow along in today’s post as we discuss the 10 nursing supplies that no nurse can make it through a shift without.
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Chapstick is the only personal item on our list today. What may seem trivial when you begin reading this list, becomes critical halfway through a 12-hour shift when you have been too busy to drink as much as you should. Applying chapstick is a tiny self-care action that can make the difference between struggling through your shift and comfortably making it to end-of-shift report. Pick one that is moisturizing without becoming tacky and can keep you feeling fresh while allowing you to keep your best face forward.
A penlight comes in handy for a few different procedures, mainly assessing pupils, but also for peeking into ears, nose, and throat, when there is no otoscope within arms’ reach. You can also use your penlight to better observe things in less-than-ideal lighting where there is no overhead spotlight available or turning on the room light would open a can of worms you aren’t prepared to wrangle.
It is wise to have at least two colors of ink pens on you, ideally a few more. These come in handy when keeping your thorough shift notes. Use black to write the facts, blue to write what you did, red to write what needs to be done, and highlight any significant facts. You can carry several different pens or a multi-tip pen.
Hopefully, this one is all too obvious. Any good medical professional has a stethoscope at the ready to complete a thorough assessment. Use it to listen to hearts, lungs, and stomachs. There is no standard that prescribes you to drape it around your neck, which can actually get heavy and rub uncomfortably over a long shift, not to mention swing in your patient’s face if you are bending over. You can use specially created hip holders or it fits perfectly in side cargo scrub pockets.
Medical tape is a must-have for most medical professionals to carry at all times. There are so many tubes, lines, tabs, and dressings to keep gently secured to a patient’s skin. There are so many forms of medical tape, and for the most part, what you keep on your person comes down to a simple matter of personal preference. Commonly carried medical tape types include paper tape, clear surgical tape, or dupore tape. What you carry will depend on what is readily available at your facility and your own personal preference.
Shears, while made to cut clothing off in an emergency situation, come in handy in a variety of settings. Over the course of your shift, you may use them to cut off bandages, shorten tape strands, or open packages. It is wise to clean them after every use to prevent your shears from harboring dangerous bacteria. Shears are curved with a lip and without a pointed tip to prevent accidental poking or stabbing when it is being carried in pockets.
Band-aids are one of the most basic medical tools and have a place in even the most acute inpatient settings. You may use a band-aid to cover your own papercut, apply pressure on a fresh IV line removal site, or hand one over to a patient’s family member or passerby. In the eyes of the community, as a nurse, you are essentially a medical Boy Scout, and should always be prepared.
Alcohol swabs are arguably one of the most useful medical supplies a nurse can have access to. You will use so many throughout your shift, you may want to ensure that you have access to an entire box of them. You will use them to prepare an arm for a blood draw, to clean off medication vials and ports, and for cleaning random areas of concern, like your shears.
Gauze 2×2 pads are useful in a variety of settings including putting pressure on needle pokes or removing tape residue off of skin. Clean gauze pads can be used to create a temporary bandage in a pinch. Having easy access to larger gauze pads can be used to cover larger areas. They may be saturated with sterile water or saline to clean wounds.
Medical lubricant is a rather useful medical supply that makes the nurse’s job easier and the patient’s role in uncomfortable procedures a little safer and more tolerable. A nurse’s role is full of all sorts of tasks that make lubricant necessary. Lubricating jelly can be used to check a prostate, insert a suppository, or perform a check for cervical dilation.
A nurse’s shift is packed full of tasks and assessments that keep you busy from the moment you clock in until well after you leave the facility. When you miss meals and bathroom breaks to take the best care of your patients, you need quality medical products you can count on. HR Pharmaceuticals’ HR Lubricating Jelly is a quality medical lubricant you can trust and is available in a wide variety of sizes and packaging.