I am a registered nurse who has worked in several departments in the hospital setting taking care of ER, Med Surg and ICU patients. As a result, I have seen it all and then some. And I still see new things that shock me everyday! That is why it is so important to be prepared with the right nurse supplies to succeed no matter what happens.
I created this list of my favorite essentials I use as a nurse to help other nurses keep their professional nurse game on point!
I bought a 3M Litmann Classic in nursing school and I have been using it ever since. They are available in many different colors and have a “non chill” rim so you don’t shock your patients with a cold stethoscope. Whether you are trying to obtain a manual blood pressure or listening to lung sounds, every nurse needs to have a stethoscope.
Keeping your stethoscope around your neck can get in the way sometimes. I love the Koala-Qlip stethoscope holder because it attaches firmly to my scrubs and it takes the weight of the stethoscope off my neck.
Nikes are my favorite shoes to wear for 12 hour shifts when I know I’m going to be on my feet all day long. Wearing sturdy, no-slip shoes that help cushion your feet during 12 hour shifts is an absolute must!
Compression stockings are often overlooked as a way to prevent some of the chronic issues that come from working in a profession where you are on your feet for such long hours. Wearing compression socks helps to prevent varicose veins, improve venous blood flow, decrease the risk of blood clots and decrease swelling of the ankles and feet. I have found that compression socks with 20-30mmHg is the right compression strength for me as a nurse.
At work, I use the Apple Watch as a stopwatch, a timer, and as an alarm to remind myself of tasks I might forget when my shift gets crazy busy. I can also receive and send text messages on it without having to carry my cell phone with me. But my favorite thing about the Apple Watch is that it records how much I stand, exercise and move throughout my shift (it breaks them down into colorful rings) and tells me how many total steps I get in a shift. My record so far is 22,000 steps during a single shift!
Comfortable under scrub t-shirts are great because it can get cold in the hospital. This brand is especially great because they have thumb holes in the sleeves. I have them in multiple colors and I have several so that I always have a clean one to put on under my scrubs.
As a nurse and mom, I start my days very early, usually by 0530. And then I’m usually on the road to get to work no later than 0600. Which doesn’t leave a lot of time to sit for coffee. I have used the same Contigo coffee mug for over a year and it is still in great condition. It is 20 oz, is stainless and and has a lockable lid that is leak proof. Best of all it keeps my coffee hot for up to 7 hours!
My Hydro Cell Water bottle is another item I have with me at all times. It is 32 oz and has a leak proof wide mouth lid. Nurses often forget to drink enough water during busy 12 hour shifts, but having this water bottle helps me stay hydrated.
I have this crossbody bag which is technically not a bag that is just for nurses. But I love the design. I use it to hold my nursing badge, stethoscope, water bottle, coffee mug, breast pump, pens, and all work-related paperwork that I need.
Making my own lunch everyday has several benefits. I eat healthier, I don’t reach for junk that is in the break room because I pack my own healthy snacks, and I save a lot of money. I’m also a foodie and hospital food just isn’t my cup of tea. So I pack my lunch in my favorite lunch bag every evening before my shifts and I’m good to go.
The Raptor Shears look like a fancy pair of scissors. But these functional and handy shears are actually 6 tools wrapped into one:
Many nurses I work with in the emergency room have the Raptor Shears and we use them frequently in emergency situations. You can hook it to a belt or secure it using the pocket clip. It also has a 25 year limited warranty and will last you throughout your nursing career or longer. They also make a great nursing gift for a new graduate!
These retractable 4 color pens are great in case you need something to stand out in your work notes. Or use different colors for different patients when taking report. These pens are also great for color coding notes and flashcards for when you are studying for certifications! I always have a few in my work bag and one on me while I am at work.
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