Preparing For Your First Travel Nursing Assignment

Preparing For Your First Travel Nursing Assignment

Your first assignment as a travel nurse can be both exciting and intimidating. Getting the opportunity to explore new places, meet new people, expand your knowledge, and advance your career can be thrilling — but preparing for your first job in a city and medical facility you may be unfamiliar with can feel overwhelming.

Whether you’re contemplating where you’d like to start your travel nursing career or recently accepted your first assignment, we’re here to help you gear up for the job. Read on for valuable tips that’ll help you set yourself up for career, financial, and personal life success as a travel nurse.

Do Your Research

Although travel nursing can be an incredibly rewarding career, it does have its drawbacks, including some you may not anticipate — which is why doing your research is essential.

Spend some time online learning about the travel nursing profession. Read blogs, watch videos, or join groups where you can network with other nurses who are currently on assignment. Learning from others in similar positions will allow you to get a good feel for the pros and cons of the job, what to expect throughout your assignment, and what to watch out for.

Preparing for your first travel nursing assignment can be incredibly overwhelming. But with the right tools and attitude you can start the travel nursing career of your dreams.

Choose Your Travel Nursing Agency Carefully

You don’t have to work with a medical staffing agency to land a travel nursing job, but most nurses do, and using one can be advantageous for many reasons. Not only do agencies have connections with medical facilities looking for travel nurses, but they typically also handle the bulk of your job-related paperwork.

More importantly, many agencies offer contract nurses highly competitive pay and attractive benefits that may include:

  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Living stipends
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Bonuses and referrals
  • 24/7 support

Some agencies also offer housing support to help travel nurses find secure short-term rentals near their work locations.

Keep your options open as you compare multiple agencies and connect with prospective recruiters. Only make a commitment when you’ve found an agency with policies, pay, and benefits that align with your best interests.

Get Specialty Experience and Earn Certification(s)

Diversifying your areas of expertise will not only open up more assignment opportunities and make you a more attractive candidate, but will also increase your potential pay.

You may want to gain experience in specialties that typically have a high demand for travel nurses to get your foot in the door. Or, if you know you’re interested in something specific, you can start by earning a certification in that specialty, so you’ll be well-positioned to secure assignments working in the department you’d prefer.

Be Flexible

Keep in mind that as a new travel nurse, you may not be offered your ideal assignment simply due to your lack of experience. You’ll need to be as flexible as possible concerning the work locations and facilities you’ll consider accepting contracts at.

As you continue working in the industry, you’ll be able to be more selective about the contracts you accept.

inside of airplane

Thoroughly research destinations before you make your final decision.

Research Destinations

Moving to and working in a new city can be exhilarating, but living in a new place will only be as satisfying as you make it. To help give yourself the best shot at having a good work-life balance, take time to research potential destinations thoroughly before you commit, so you can plan for activities that’ll allow you to enjoy your days off.

Plan Ahead for Your First Day

When you find a location you like and accept your first assignment, make a plan for a simple and streamlined first day. This may include:

  • Finding out when you need to arrive for your shift, where to clock in, who you should meet for orientation, and what you need to bring to work
  • Completing any required training modules or certifications
  • Determining how long your commute will take to ensure you arrive at work on time

Tour the Facility You’ll Be Working At

If possible, arrange a tour of the facility before your start date. While you’ll likely undergo some form of orientation during your first few hours on shift, gathering some basic details in advance can help you hit the ground running.

nurse with a face mask

Don’t forget to reach out for help on your new travel assignment. You’ve got this!

Be a Team Player, Express Gratitude, and Stay Positive

When you arrive for your first day on assignment, be cognizant of the fact that full-time staff and other travelers may already be stressed and at capacity. Be a team player and let your coworkers know you’re there to do whatever you can to help.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions when you need to, and when your teammates are helpful, openly express your gratitude. Make a genuine effort to get to know your coworkers and do your best to get along with everyone.

As a nurse, you’ve no doubt encountered your share of difficulties on the job and learned it’s best to be flexible and ready to handle anything that comes your way. Gearing up for and working your first travel nursing assignment will be no different. Prepare as well as you can, be open and willing to help, build experience, and do your best to forge positive relationships along the way.

Author bio: Garrett Norman is Vice President of Operations at SkyBridge Healthcare. With over a decade of experience in the staffing and recruiting industry, Norman has developed a passion for building successful teams, facilitating connections between healthcare clients and candidates, and driving revenue growth at SkyBridge Healthcare. While overseeing day-to-day operations is his primary job function, Norman also enjoys golfing, reading and spending quality time with his family.

Additional Recommended Reading:

Charge Nurse Role: What You Need To Know

Charge Nurse Role: What You Need To Know

Charge Nurse Role: What You Need To Know

One of the most important things to know about being a charge nurse is that effective communication and strong leadership skills are essential. As a charge RN, you will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the nursing staff, ensuring proper patient care, and addressing any issues or conflicts that arise.

The functionality of the nursing unit depends on having a charge nurse with the skills to lead. Great charge nurses are known for keeping the department organized and running efficiently while encouraging great teamwork and inspiring a team of nurses to perform at their best.

“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” -John Maxwell

What Is A Charge Nurse?

A charge nurse, also sometimes referred to as a charge RN, is a nurse who oversees an entire team of nurses in a particular hospital unit or department. They serve as a liaison between nurses, upper administration, nurse educators, and other hospital clinicians.

Charge RNs are needed to manage hospitals, residential care facilities, nursing homes, surgery centers, and outpatient units. Although they can give direct patient care- and often do if the unit is short-staffed – they mostly work peripherally to bedside nurses and within a more administrative role than medical professionals.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities usually have several charge nurses who are responsible for various health services managers in different departments and specialties.

Charge Nurse Duties And Responsibilities

Some duties include the following:

  • Managing nurses
  • Supervising and assisting nursing staff when needed
  • Providing administrative support
  • Assigning nurses to patients
  • Creating nurse schedules
  • Managing the in and outflow of patients to a unit
  • Being flexible and responsive to nurses’ needs on the unit
  • Prioritize patient care needs, especially during urgent or emergent situations
  • Document nurse performance
  • Work with upper administration to address any hospital issues or issues with staff

Other ancillary charge RN roles might include:

  • Checking the crash carts daily in the unit
  • Counting medications in the Pyxis or other automated drug dispenser once a shift
  • Working with the facility’s patient placement
  • Attend a daily staff meeting with social workers, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, and doctors to make sure patients get what they need for discharge and ensure a timely discharge

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

How To Become A Charge Nurse?

To become a charge RN, you must already have several years of nursing experience and a deep understanding of the workflow and population where you work. You need to master your nursing skills and, if possible, become as involved as possible with team-building activities in your workplace.

It is also imperative that you express your desire to be promoted to management and ask them precisely what you need to do to earn the position.  Each facility is different.

Note:  It is more challenging to start as a charge RN on a unit where a nurse has never worked before, even if they have many years of nursing practice under their belt. It helps to know many of the nurses already personally, as it helps to build trust as a leader. Knowing other ancillary medical professionals, such as respiratory therapists, social workers, case managers, nurse practitioners, and doctors on the unit, will also help you get started on the right foot.

Tips To Prepare For A Charge Nurse Role:

  • Become certified in your nursing specialty
  • Master your workflow as a nurse
  • Become an expert on nursing skills needed in your unit
  • Offer help to other nurses whenever you can
  • Become a preceptor for new nurse graduates on the unit
  • Express your desire to be promoted into a charge nurse role to administration
  • Take leadership classes, either online or through your facility if they have them
  • Join the Unit Practice Counsel UPC – if your unit has one
  • Offer to help in all team-building projects on your unit

The Difference Between A Charge Nurse And A Unit Manager

A unit manager is sometimes referred to as a unit director. And while both charge RNs and unit managers are leadership positions, they are still very different positions and require different levels of education.

A unit manager oversees the entire nursing unit, including all of the charge nurses. Unit managers also handle more of the business management of the unit than charge RNs do. Also, unit nurse managers typically work more closely with the upper hospital administration to keep the unit aligned with the goals of the entire organization.

Charge nurses must have an ADN or BSN to hold the position.  A unit manager often holds a master’s degree (MSN) or higher, usually with an emphasis on leadership and hospital management.

Additional recommended reading:  Travel Nursing 101:  The Pros, The Cons, And How To Get Started

What Is A Charge Nurse’s Salary?

Charge RNs often make a few dollars an hour more than floor nurses.  However, there are many other factors at play when it comes to earning potential.

The salary of a charge nurse can vary depending on several factors, including geographic location, years of experience, level of education, certifications, and the specific healthcare setting. In general, charge nurses earn a higher salary compared to regular staff nurses due to their additional responsibilities and leadership roles.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for registered nurses (which includes charge nurses) was $76,600 as of May 2021. However, it’s important to note that this figure encompasses all registered nurses across various specialties and positions.

Nurses in states with a higher cost of living, such as California or New York, usually make a higher hourly wage, while other lower cost of living states, such as North Dakota or Iowa, might make less than the median U.S. pay.

It’s best to consult reliable salary resources specific to your location and healthcare system to obtain more accurate and up-to-date information on charge nurse salaries. Additionally, factors such as overtime pay, shift differentials, and benefits can also impact the total compensation package for charge RNs.

Qualities Of A Great Charge Nurse

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”  –

John Maxwell

There is no question that a charge nurse’s role is extremely challenging at times. But a great charge nurse needs to be able to see through the stress and inspire other registered nurses to rise above and perform at their best. Here are three qualities of a great charge nurse.

Resilience – When the work gets tough, great charge nurses get even tougher and push through.  Some days will seem impossible, but resilient leaders persevere.

Emotional Intelligence – The dictionary describes emotional intelligence as: “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and sympathetically.” Many great leaders say emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

Decision-making capabilities – Charge nurses need to be able to make quick decisions. The hospital setting moves quickly, and patient safety depends on taking action fast, especially in an emergency.

Certifications To Be A Charge Nurse

To become a charge nurse, you must first be a registered nurse who has graduated from an accredited program. There are several ways to do this – including achieving an associate degree  (ADN), a 2-year degree, or a bachelor’s Degree In Nursing (BSN), which takes a minimum of four years to complete.

While many of the same topics taught at the ADN level are covered in a BSN, a four-year program will provide a deeper set of skills and education. The field of nursing is becoming more competitive and more employers require newly appointed RNs to hold.

There are no national or state certifications to become a charge nurse. However, many charge nurses are certified on the specialty floor where they work. In most cases, the charge nurse worked as an R.N. on the floor for several years and has a clear understanding of the clinical setting and how the unit functions.

Charge Nurse Career Outlook

According to the BLS, the nursing profession is expected to grow by 6% from 2021-2031, which is about as fast as average. That means that there will also be plenty of opportunities for nurses to take on charge roles.

Charge Nurse Frequently Asked Questions

What is the charge nurse’s role?

A charge RN is a registered nurse who takes on additional responsibilities and leadership roles within a healthcare setting, typically on a particular shift or unit. Their primary responsibilities include overseeing the nursing staff, coordinating patient care, and ensuring the smooth functioning of healthcare facilities in the unit.

What is the difference between a charge nurse and a regular nurse?

The main difference between a charge RN and a regular RN is the additional responsibilities and leadership role that a charge nurse assumes. While regular nurses focus primarily on direct patient care, charge nurses have supervisory responsibilities and coordinate the activities of the nursing staff.

Who is higher up than a charge nurse?

In the nursing hierarchy, a charge RN typically falls below a nurse manager or a nurse supervisor. Nurse managers or supervisors are responsible for overseeing multiple units or departments and have broader managerial responsibilities.

What power does a charge nurse have?

Charge nurses have the authority to assign patient care responsibilities to other nurses and healthcare professionals. They coordinate admissions, admissions and discharges,, and transfers, ensure proper documentation, address any conflicts or issues that arise during the shift, and serve as a resource for the nursing staff.

Is a charge nurse over an RN?

A charge nurse is an RN who takes on additional responsibilities and leadership roles. While a charge nurse is an RN, they have specific responsibilities related to overseeing the unit and coordinating patient care, which regular RNs may not have.

Is a charge nurse your boss?

A charge nurse may have some supervisory responsibilities over other nurses and healthcare professionals on the unit, but they are not typically considered the direct boss of the nursing staff. They work alongside nurse managers or supervisors who have broader administrative responsibilities and managerial roles.

How long does it take to be a charge nurse?

The timeline to become a charge RN can vary. Typically, it requires several years of experience as a registered nurse to develop the necessary skills, knowledge, and leadership abilities. Some charge nurse positions may also require additional education or certifications. The exact duration depends on an individual’s progression and professional development.

Is it hard to be a charge nurse?

Being a charge nurse can be challenging as it involves juggling various responsibilities, managing the nursing staff, coordinating patient care, and addressing any issues that arise. It requires strong leadership skills, effective communication, critical thinking, and the ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment. However, with experience, ongoing education, and support, many nurses successfully take on the role of a charge nurse.

Do charge nurses take patients?

Charge nurses may or may not take direct patient assignments, as it depends on the specific policies and needs of the healthcare facility. In some cases, charge nurses may have a reduced patient load to allow them to focus on their administrative and supervisory duties. However, in other situations, charge nurses may continue to provide direct patient care while also overseeing the unit.

Who gets to be a charge nurse?

The criteria for becoming a charge nurse can vary among healthcare facilities. Generally, charge nurses are experienced registered nurses who have demonstrated strong clinical skills, leadership abilities, and the ability to work well with a team. They may also receive additional training, clinical experience, or education related to management or leadership.

Is charge nurse a promotion?

Yes, becoming a charge nurse is often considered a promotion within the nursing profession. It represents an advancement in responsibilities and leadership roles compared to regular nursing positions.

What are the weaknesses of being a charge nurse?

While charge nurses have important responsibilities, they may face challenges such as balancing administrative tasks with patient care, managing conflicts or difficult situations among the staff, dealing with high levels of stress and responsibility, and working long hours or irregular shifts.

Nurse working on a unit taking notes

What Are The Most Important Things To Know About Being In A Charge Nursing Role?

The most important thing to know about this position is that it requires strong leadership skills and the ability to multitask effectively. As a charge RN, you will be responsible for overseeing a team of nurses and ensuring the smooth operation of the unit or department.

Here are some key points to consider:


As a charge RN, you need to provide guidance, support, and direction to your team. Strong leadership skills are essential for effectively delegating tasks, making decisions, and resolving conflicts.


Clear and effective communication is crucial in your role as a charge nurse. You’ll need to communicate with various healthcare professionals, patients, families, and your team. Being able to convey information clearly, listen actively, and provide feedback is essential.


The ability to stay organized is vital as a charge RN. You’ll be responsible for coordinating patient care, managing resources, and ensuring that tasks are completed efficiently. Prioritization and time management skills are essential.

Clinical Expertise

Charge nurses are expected to have a solid clinical foundation and expertise in their specialty area. This knowledge allows you to make informed decisions, provide guidance to your team, and respond appropriately to patient needs and emergencies.


You’ll face various challenges and unexpected situations. The ability to think critically, make quick decisions, and problem-solve effectively is essential. You should be able to remain calm under pressure and adapt to changing circumstances.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Building a positive and collaborative team environment is crucial for charge RNs. Foster open communication, encourage teamwork, and support your team members. Collaboration with other healthcare professionals is also important for coordinated patient care.

Continuous Learning

Healthcare is an ever-evolving field, and it’s important to stay updated with the latest evidence-based practices and advancements in nursing. Pursue opportunities for professional development, attend conferences, and stay informed about current research to enhance your knowledge and skills.

Remember that being a charge RN is a significant responsibility, and it’s important to maintain a balance between leadership and being a supportive team member. By focusing on these key aspects, you can excel in your role and positively impact patient outcomes and the overall functioning of the healthcare unit.


Taking on higher leadership positions in health care, such as charge nurse, can help you create a satisfying and long-term healthcare career, earn a higher salary, and open up more opportunities away from the bedside.

Best of luck in your nursing career!

Additional recommended reading:

Benefits of Per Diem Nursing (PRN Nurse)

Benefits of Per Diem Nursing (PRN Nurse)

What Does Per Diem Mean?

Per diem means “by the day” in Latin.

A per diem nurse is a nurse who is employed on a day-by-day or as-needed basis by a medical or healthcare facility, nursing home, outpatient clinic, or healthcare agency.

Per diem nursing refers to a type of nursing employment arrangement where nurses are hired to fill temporary staffing needs or to provide coverage for absences or shortages.

In per diem nursing, nurses are not employed full-time or part-time with a set schedule. Instead, they have the flexibility to choose the shifts they want to work based on their availability.

What is a PRN or Per Diem Nurse?

PRN is a Latin term for pro re nata, which translates in English to “as the situation demands.” 

“Per diem nursing” and “PRN nursing”  have essentially the same meaning and are often used interchangeably.

Whether your nursing job title is per diem nurse or PRN nurse, you only work when your institution has additional staffing needs that they cannot fill with their own “career” nursing staff.

The increasing demands of medical professionals in today’s healthcare environment – and the fact that patients are living longer (and are often sicker) than ever before – makes having the option to employ a per diem nurse even more essential.

Types of nurses that can work in per diem nursing include:

  • Registered nurse (RN)
  • Licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN)
  • Certified nursing assistant (CNA)
  • Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), such as nurse practitioners (NPs)

In addition, nurses can take per diem jobs in a variety of different facilities, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Nurse staffing agency
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient surgery centers and clinics
  • Home health care

Some per diem nurses work back and forth between multiple institutions or as travel nurses!


About Per Diem Nursing

Many hospitals have their own per diem nursing staff. The fundamental responsibilities needed to be a per diem nurse are the same as career nurses. These nurses may be assigned to one particular unit in a hospital or can be resource nurses who can cover shifts in many different specialties within the hospital setting (as long as they are trained to do so).

Hospital staffing needs usually increase during holiday seasons or during times of high census in the hospital (such as during the COVID-19 pandemic).

In addition, there are nurse staffing agencies that arrange for nurses to work in hospitals that have additional staffing needs they can’t fill. These nurses work for “per diem nursing agencies” and may end up working multiple jobs in a variety of different facilities. Often, these nurses might work a few shifts at one hospital, and then a shift in another facility, all in one week.

Additional recommended reading 5 Non-Bedside Jobs You May Not Know About

Per Diem (PRN) Nurse vs. Full Time Nurse:  What Should I Choose?

Most nurses work full-time, at least for their first few years after graduating from nursing school. Novice nurses need to put the time in and develop their clinical and critical thinking skills.

It takes many years to build up nursing expertise at the bedside, so I would never recommend that a new grad nurse work per diem. If you are considering per diem work as a nursing avenue for your nursing career path, ensure you are experienced enough to manage the stress of working in many different environments.

As a former per diem nurse, I have found many benefits to working per diem nursing jobs that I would not have had if I was working as a “staff” or “career” nurse. If you are teetering on making a change into the per diem nursing career environment, these are the benefits of working as a per diem, or PRN, nurse.


Benefits of Being a Per Diem/PRN Nurse

#1. Higher Pay

Per diem nurses may earn higher pay rates compared to other full-time nurses part-time or part-time career nurses for several reasons:


Per diem nurses provide a valuable service by offering their availability on short notice or during high-demand periods. The flexibility they offer allows healthcare facilities to fill staffing gaps quickly, ensuring continuity of patient care – without making a permanent commitment to the facility.

Premium Pay Rates

Many healthcare facilities offer premium or differential pay rates for per diem nurses. This is because per diem nurses are not entitled to benefits like health insurance, paid time off, or retirement plans that are typically provided to full-time or part-time employees. The higher pay rate for per diem employees helps offset the lack of benefits and compensates for the additional flexibility required.

Specialized Skills or Experience

Per diem nurses often possess specialized skills or experience that make them particularly valuable to healthcare facilities. For example, they may have expertise in critical care, emergency medicine, or other specialized areas. In such cases, their higher pay rate reflects their advanced knowledge and the demand for their specific skills.

Short-Term Commitment

Since per diem nurses are not employed on a regular basis, the higher pay rate may serve as an incentive for them to take on temporary assignments. It compensates them for the uncertainty associated with their work schedule and provides an incentive for more nurses to prioritize per diem shift shifts over other potential opportunities.

NOTE: It’s important to note that while per diem nurses may earn higher hourly rates, they do not receive benefits or job security that full-time employees enjoy. Additionally, their income may vary based on the availability of shifts and the demand for their services, which can fluctuate over time.

#2. You Can Make Your Own Schedule

Per diem nurses have the advantage of being able to create their own schedules based on their availability and preferences. Those in need of a flexible schedule may want to consider becoming a per diem nurse. Here’s an overview of how per diem nurses can make their own schedules:

Per Diem Nurses Communicate Their Availability

Per diem nurses typically inform the healthcare facility or staffing agency about their availability to work. They may provide their availability on a weekly, monthly, or periodic basis. This allows the facility to know when the per diem nurse is willing and able to work.

Shift Selection

Based on the nurse’s communicated availability, the facility or staffing agency will present available shifts for the nurse to choose from. These shifts can vary in terms of timing, duration guaranteed hours, and clinical setting. Per diem nurses can review the available options and select the shifts that align with their preferences and availability.

Flexibility in Accepting Shifts

Per diem nurses have the freedom to accept or decline shifts based on their personal circumstances, preferences, or other commitments. They can choose to work as few or as many shifts as they desire, depending on their needs and availability. This flexibility is one of the primary benefits of being a per diem nurse.

Ongoing Schedule Adjustments

Per diem nurses can update their availability and adjust their schedules as needed. They may communicate changes in their availability due to personal commitments, vacations, or other factors. Similarly, they can request additional shifts or reduce their availability if necessary.

NOTE: It’s important to note that while per diem nurses have the freedom to create their schedules, the availability of shifts is subject to the staffing needs of the healthcare facility. The demand for per diem nurse shifts can fluctuate, and there may be periods of high or low availability based on factors such as patient census, seasonal variations, or unforeseen circumstances.

Also, per diem staff and nurses should remain proactive in maintaining regular communication with their facility or staffing agency to stay informed about available shifts and to ensure a smooth scheduling process.

#3. Per Diem Nurses Can Pick Up Seasonal work

Per diem nurses have the flexibility to pick up extra seasonal work if it aligns with their availability and preferences. Many healthcare facilities experience increased demand during certain seasons or holidays, such as flu season, summer vacations, or winter holidays.

Per diem nurses can take advantage of these opportunities to earn additional income or gain experience in different clinical settings too.

Additional recommended reading:  8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Nurse

#4. Per Diem/ PRN Nurses Can Often Decline Shifts

Unlike career nurses, who often have guaranteed hours and do not have complete control of their schedules, per diem nurses can choose to decline shifts if they don’t jive with their schedule.

This means that if you don’t want to work nights, holidays, or weekends, you usually don’t have to (or at least not as often).

#5. Per Diem Nurses Can Add a Shift at the Last Minute

One of the best benefits of a per diem nursing career is that PRN nurses can work between different hospitals at the same time. This often works well because if they end up getting canceled at one hospital, they can call the staffing office at their other hospital to see if they have any per diem nursing needs.

#6. Cancel a Shift at the Last Minute

Working parents understand the need for flexible scheduling. If your child (or yourself) becomes ill the day or two before a per diem work shift, then you have an opportunity to cancel yourself ahead of time. You don’t need to worry about whether or not you have enough paid vacation time or sick time saved up.

#7. Opportunity to Cross-Train in Different Specialties

Per diem nursing often offers additional learning and career growth opportunities at a healthcare facility because staffing needs require coverage in many different specialty areas.

For example, a per diem emergency room nurse, who also floats to ICU units, might also be able to cross-train for a PACU unit if they have staffing needs. Or a per diem pediatric ER nurse might get training to work in the adult ER if the need for a per diem nurse arises.

Another example is a per diem nurse who specializes in the NICU might be cross-trained for post-partum or antepartum units if they need additional nursing support.

Nurses who can be flexible and want mental stimulation may find that they have more opportunities than ever to work. When you have experience working in multiple facilities and several different nursing specialties, then you have a decreased chance of being canceled and not making any extra money for that day. Having experience in many different per diem nursing jobs can provide increased job stability and add valuable work experience to your resume.

#8. Per Diem Nursing Allows You to Add Vacation Time Into Your Schedule Without Taking Time Off

For per diem employees of nurses, there is no need to ask for paid vacation because it is possible to build vacation time right into your schedule. So go ahead and book that summer vacation!

For example, full-time per diem nurses often work three 12-hour shifts a week. You can schedule yourself to work on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday one week, and then on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of the next week. That leaves you with eight days off in between your shifts to hop on a plane for a week’s vacation.

Or just add in extra shifts early in the month and take the rest of the month off!

#9. Part-Time Per Diem Nursing

Many nurses who only want to work part-time appreciate the option to work in per diem nursing. Whether you have small children at home, want a better work-life balance, or have other side careers that you are pursuing, per diem nursing allows you to have that flexibility without altogether leaving the bedside, or your profession, behind.

As nurses get closer to retirement, some may choose to work a little less. If that is the case, then per diem nursing work is a great option. You can keep your foot in the nursing industry, keep your nursing skills and knowledge sharp, and continue to bring in some income while also having time to dedicate to the other passions in your life.

In conclusion

I hope this article helped you clarify whether or not being a per diem or PRN nurse is right for you. There are many factors to consider, but it is wonderful to work in a profession where this type of work environment is possible.

Additional recommended reading:



Pros And Cons Of 12 Hour Shifts

Pros And Cons Of 12 Hour Shifts

For dedicated nurses who work long hours on the front lines of healthcare, the 12-hour nursing shift has become increasingly popular. While it may sound daunting, these extended shifts offer a range of benefits that make a significant impact on both nurses and patients.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of working 12-hour nursing shifts, highlighting their effects on work-life balance, patient care, and professional growth. Let’s dive in!

Nurse standing with her arms crossed

Pros of Working 12-Hour Nursing Shifts:

By understanding the advantages of these longer shifts, nurses may be able to make more informed decisions about their work schedules. Let’s explore the numerous benefits that 12-hour shifts bring to the table.

Longer Breaks and More Days Off

One of the notable advantages of 12-hour nursing shifts is the extended break periods. With longer breaks, nurses can recharge, refuel, and engage in self-care activities. Additionally, the compressed schedule often allows for more consecutive days off, providing valuable time for personal pursuits, family commitments, and leisure activities that can enhance work-life balance.

For example, throughout my career at the bedside, I appreciated 12-hour shifts as they allowed me to have four days off every week. This allowed me to spend more quality time with my family on my days off!

Who doesn’t want to work fewer days in a week?  When you work 12-hour shifts as a full-time nurse, you get to work three days a week instead of Five.  That also means that you have four days off every week instead of only two, like most other professions.  


Enhanced Continuity of Care

Working longer shifts promotes improved continuity of care for patients. Nurses who work on units where patients stay for an extended period have the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their patients, gaining deeper insights into their conditions, needs, and preferences. This continuity allows nurses to provide more personalized and holistic care, resulting in better patient outcomes.

Reduced Handoffs and Communication Errors

With fewer shift changes, there is a decrease in handoffs and communication errors between nurses. This streamlined workflow enhances patient safety by minimizing the chances of critical information being overlooked or miscommunicated. It also improves efficiency, as nurses can focus more on patient care rather than spending excessive time on shift handovers.

Deeper Collaboration and Team Bonding

Although it may seem counterintuitive, extended shifts may encourage stronger collaboration and team bonding among nurses. Spending more time together fosters a sense of camaraderie, trust, and shared responsibility. Nurses can support and rely on each other, resulting in a more cohesive and efficient healthcare team.

Better Work-Life Balance

Working fewer days a week provides nurses with a better work-life balance. The extended time off allows nursesto prioritize self-care, spend quality time with family and friends, and engage in activities that rejuvenate them mentally and physically. This balance may help to prevent burnout and increase overall job satisfaction.

(In addition, working as a per diem nurse has given me an even greater work-life balance. I could choose to work as little as one day a week or as many as four or five as long as the hospital has a need for nurses.)

Financial Advantages

For nurses who prefer longer shifts, 12-hour schedules can bring financial benefits. Working fewer days in a week means that nurses can take advantage of potential overtime opportunities, allowing them to earn additional income. 

Flexibility and Freedom

Working 12-hour nursing shifts often provides flexibility and freedom in scheduling. Many healthcare facilities offer various shift options, allowing nurses to select shifts that align with their personal preferences and commitments. This flexibility can be particularly valuable for nurses with childcare responsibilities, those pursuing further education, or those who simply prefer longer stretches of time off.

Working 12-hour shifts allowed me to get more creative with my work schedule. That factor has always been so important to me as a working mom. I wanted to be available when my kids needed me to be home from work. In addition, I often felt that I got to experience what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom and have the ability to also work full-time.

Less Commuting to Work (Save Time & Gas!)

Working three days a week instead of a more traditional Monday through Friday schedule means that you spend significantly less time commuting to work. In addition, if some of those days fall on a weekend, then you can miss traffic completely! 

Personally, I don’t love working on the weekend because I prefer to be home with my family; however, I do appreciate how fast I can get to and from work.  That is something to consider when you live in a high-traffic city such as Los Angeles. 

You Can Take “Mini-Vacations” Without Using Vacation Time

When you have the option to have several days off in between workdays, it becomes possible to take mini-vacations without putting in a vacation request.  In fact, I have taken up to a week off at a time to go to Mexico without using any vacation days.  

When you consolidate your hours into longer periods of time per day, then you can take more days off in a row.  For example, if I am putting my schedule in for a two-week period, I can request a Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday for the first week and a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the second week.  That leaves me with eight days off in between!

Summary of the Pros of Working 12-Hour Nursing Shifts

From improved work-life balance and enhanced patient care to opportunities for professional growth and financial advantages, these longer shifts provide a supportive and fulfilling environment for nurses. While they may require endurance and adaptability, the rewards are well worth it. By embracing the positives of 12-hour shifts, nurses can thrive in their careers and make a significant difference in the lives of their patients.


Additional recommended reading:  12 Nurse Essentials I Can’t Live Without


pros and cons of 12 hour nursing shifts

There are pros and cons to working 12-hour nursing shifts that you may want to consider.

Cons Of Working 12-Hour Nursing Shifts:

While 12-hour nursing shifts offer certain advantages, it is important to acknowledge that they also present unique challenges. These extended work hours can impact nurses physically, emotionally, and socially. Here we will explore some of the cons associated with 12-hour shifts, shedding light on the potential difficulties nurses may face. 

Physical Fatigue and Exhaustion 

Extended shifts can lead to physical fatigue and exhaustion for nurses. Long hours of continuous work, often involving physically demanding tasks, can take a toll on the body. Prolonged periods of standing or lifting patients can lead to muscle strain, joint pain, and increased risk of workplace injuries.

Many nurses work 12-hour shifts with minimal breaks. We are lifting and pulling patients, often spending the majority of our day on our feet, managing stressful and sometimes critical situations while doing everything we can to get through the shift! 

Increased Risk of Burnout

The demanding nature of 12-hour shifts can contribute to a higher risk of burnout among nurses. The combination of physical exhaustion, emotional stress, and the need to consistently provide high-quality care can leave nurses feeling emotionally drained and overwhelmed. This chronic stress can impact job satisfaction, mental well-being, and overall work performance.

A University of Pennsylvania study on hospital nurses found that the longer the shift, the higher the levels of burnout and patient dissatisfaction.  The researchers discovered that nurses working shifts that were ten hours or longer were up to two and a half times more likely than nurses working shorter shifts to experience burnout and job dissatisfaction.

One reason may be that longer shifts give nurses less time in a day to care for themselves.  I have found it challenging to do any self-care on days I worked 12-hour shifts because nearly every waking hour is spent caring for patients.  Furthermore, the study found that nurse burnout associated with longer shifts increased the chances of the nurse wanting to leave the job.   

Disrupted Work-Life Balance

Working longer shifts can disrupt work-life balance, especially for nurses with family or personal commitments. The extended hours spent at work may limit quality time spent with loved ones or engaging in activities outside of work. This imbalance can lead to feelings of guilt, strain relationships, and hinder self-care practices.

Impact on Sleep Patterns 

Extended shifts can disrupt sleep patterns, as nurses may struggle to find adequate time for restorative sleep. The irregular and often overnight schedules can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, leading to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or obtaining sufficient rest. This can result in fatigue, decreased alertness, and impaired cognitive function.

Challenges in Patient Safety

Prolonged work hours can potentially compromise patient safety. Fatigue and decreased alertness due to long shifts increase the likelihood of errors in medication administration, documentation, or patient assessments. Nurses need to be vigilant in recognizing the impact of fatigue on their performance and take necessary precautions to ensure optimal patient care.

If You Have Kids, You Probably Won’t See Them On The Days You Work

As a nurse and mom, one of the worst parts of working 12-hour shifts is that I don’t get to see my children at all on the days that I work.  They are still asleep when I leave for work at 6 o’clock in the morning and they are already in bed by the time I get home at 8:30 PM.  Even worse, when I work back-to-back shifts, I may not see them at all for 24 to 36 hours at a time.  I could as easily have been out-of-town as far as they are concerned.  Nursing is a good career for moms, but this is still something you may want to consider.

Summary of the Con of Working 12-Hour Nursing Shifts

While 12-hour nursing shifts have their advantages, it is essential to recognize and address the potential cons they bring. Healthcare organizations and nurses themselves should prioritize strategies to mitigate the challenges associated with extended shifts, such as implementing fatigue management programs, promoting self-care practices, and fostering a supportive work environment.

By understanding and addressing these cons, nurses can navigate the complexities of 12-hour shifts while maintaining their well-being and providing the best possible care to their patients.


My Personal Take on Working 12-Hour Shifts

Working a 12-hour nursing shift makes for a very long workday.  But I’ve always seen it as the price I must pay for getting to spend more days at home. So, the benefits of the 12-hour shift far outweigh the cons for me.  Admittedly though, I really do focus on the benefits of working 12-hour shifts as much as I can. I must remind myself to stay positive.  

I have always been grateful to have work flexibility that allows me to spend more uninterrupted days off with my family than I would have with a standard 9 to 5 schedule. When I think about it in that way, I realize I am lucky to get to have the best of both worlds.

Additional recommended reading:

Why I Love Working As An ER Nurse

Why I Love Working As An ER Nurse

*This post may contain affiliate links.

As a resource nurse who has worked in many specialties and units throughout the hospital setting, I have discovered that I am an ER nurse at heart.

Working in the ER is an adrenaline packed experience that requires a team of medical professionals to come together for amazing results. Through traumas, codes and septic patients we form strong bonds – after all it takes more than just one nurse to save a life!

Here are the reasons why I love being an ER nurse:  

Camaraderie in the Emergency Department

What makes the ER truly exceptional are those moments when everyone comes together in a show of camaraderie – from physicians and nurses to pharmacists and techs – joining forces under pressing circumstances that demand quick thinking and action. This teamwork is the backbone that brings life-saving medical treatment, often just in time!

I have found that when I worked on med-surg floor units, nurses are typically assigned to the same patients for an entire day without much, if any, overlap with other nurses.  I have also felt lonely on med surg units because I miss the camaraderie of working with other nurses.

The ER Gives Many Nurses Excellent IV Start Skills

Before becoming an ER nurse, my IV start skills were mediocre.  The skill of starting IV’s quickly and correctly is so important in the ER – it often determines how fast a patient can receive life-saving medication or treatments. Over the years, I have had to start so many IV’s that my skills have greatly improved.

With the vast number of medical emergencies coming into the ER each day, it’s no wonder why nurses who work there are some of the best at starting intravenous lines. Having so many frequent opportunities to get IV access has meant a sharp increase in skill for me and other emergency room nurses – even when dealing with hard-to-stick veins.

In emergencies, ER nurses need to be able to gain access fast for testing, various medications, pain and nausea relief, IV hydration, and antibiotic therapy, among other things.  Many nurses I work with have been in the ER for a decade or longer, and their IV skills are unbelievable.

In addition, several experienced ER nurses have been trained to use ultrasound techniques for those particularly challenging cases. So if you want valuable IV start skills quickly, then work where opportunity knocks most often – the ER! It’s the perfect place to hone your IV start skills and ensure every patient gets the care they need.

Reasons Why ER Nursing Is The Best

Diverse Patient Populations in the ER

From the tiniest newborns to centenarians, life in an ER is definitely never dull. Caring for a wide-ranging patient population provides unique opportunities and challenges with every new case. As an emergency room nurse, you’ll have plenty of chances to learn about all sorts of illnesses, injuries, and trauma – from organ transplants to autoimmune diseases – making your workdays excitingly unpredictable yet incredibly rewarding.

There is rarely a dull moment, and always something new to learn in the the ER enviornment.

Organized Chaos in the ER

It is never boring or tedious in the ER, or at least not for long!  The emergency room is a fine-tuned machine, with each nurse component working semi-gracefully around one another. It might look like craziness from the outside, but the madness always has a method. I often struggle with the tediousness of tasks when working on a med surg unit.  It is usually jam-packed but very task-based.  The to-do lists can get a little ridiculous.

Intellectual Stimulation as a Healthcare Provider in the ER

I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation I get as an emergency room nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries, and unusual diagnoses than I ever could have imagined even existed. It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things every day at work. To top it off, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive to help people as I do. They motivate me to keep learning.

The ER Helps Me Maintain My Sense Of Humor.

Sometimes things just get so odd that I can’t help but laugh.

There are days when I see people come into the ER saying that they are dying but end up with a diagnosis of constipation.

Once, I had a college student come in because he had a 99 degree temperature. I had to explain to him that he didn’t have a fever and he was sent home.

The emergency room is also a very emotional place. Patients never want to be there and usually don’t understand, for example, why they have to wait in the hallway an hour or even much longer until we know their blood test results, or the medical team decides on a plan for them. They get upset and tired of waiting.

Sadly, sometimes they take out their frustrations on the people working the hardest to get them the medical treatment they need: the nurses. I  have had so many “I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried” experiences in the emergency room to last me a lifetime.

But that’s one of the reasons I love being an ER nurse versus other parts of the hospital. It can get weird, but I’m always learning. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to keep learning.

Emergency Room Nurse Frequently Asked Questions

Why do nurses like being an ER nurse?

There can be several reasons why someone enjoys being an ER nurse. Some common reasons include the fast-paced nature of the emergency department, the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives during critical moments, the variety of cases encountered, the ability to work in a dynamic team environment, and the satisfaction of providing immediate care to patients in need.

Why is being an ER nurse rewarding?

Being an ER nurse can be rewarding for several reasons. ER nurses often have the chance to save lives, alleviate suffering, and provide critical care to patients during their most vulnerable moments. The ability to make a positive impact on patients’ lives and the gratitude expressed by patients and their families can be deeply rewarding.

Is being an ER nurse worth it?

The worthiness of being an ER nurse is subjective and depends on individual preferences and values. While the profession can be challenging due to the high-stress environment, long hours, and exposure to traumatic situations, many ER nurses find fulfillment in their work, the camaraderie with colleagues, the opportunities for professional growth, and the ability to help others during times of crisis.

What is the personality of an ER nurse?

The personality traits commonly associated with successful ER nurses include adaptability, resilience, quick thinking, effective communication skills, compassion, emotional stability, the ability to work well under pressure, and a strong desire to help others. However, it’s important to remember that individuals can possess a wide range of personalities and still excel as an ER nurse.

What are the struggles of an ER nurse?

Some common struggles faced by ER nurses include dealing with high levels of stress, long and unpredictable shifts, emotional and physical exhaustion, witnessing traumatic events, balancing work-life commitments, managing a heavy workload, and making quick decisions under pressure. Additionally, ER nurses may encounter challenging patient interactions, difficult family dynamics, and ethical dilemmas.

What is the hardest thing a nurse has to do?

The “hardest” aspect of nursing can vary depending on personal experiences and perspectives. Some nurses may find it difficult to witness the suffering or loss of patients, while others may struggle with the emotional toll of the job. Additionally, ethical dilemmas, managing complex medical cases, and dealing with difficult patients or family members can also be challenging.

How long does it take to feel comfortable as an ER nurse?

The time it takes to feel comfortable as an ER nurse can vary from person to person. It generally depends on an individual’s prior experience, the level of support and training provided, and the ability to adapt to the fast-paced and unpredictable environment. It may take several months to a couple of years for a nurse to gain confidence and feel fully comfortable in their role.

Why do ER nurses take so long?

The duration of an ER nurse’s work can be influenced by various factors. Emergency departments typically prioritize patients based on the severity of their conditions. This means that patients with life-threatening emergencies are seen first, while those with less severe conditions may have to wait longer. Additionally, the complex nature of emergency cases, unexpected surges in patient volume, limited resources, and administrative tasks can contribute to longer wait times.

What is the most stressful nursing department?

The perceived level of stress in nursing departments can vary among individuals. However, emergency departments (EDs) are often considered one of the most stressful areas in nursing due to the fast-paced environment, high patient acuity, constant decision-making, the need for quick interventions, exposure to trauma, and the pressure to provide immediate care in life-threatening situations.

Thanks for reading!

Additional Recommended Reading:

Ultimate Top 30 Nurse Supplies & Essentials:  The Complete List (2023)

Ultimate Top 30 Nurse Supplies & Essentials: The Complete List (2023)

The Ultimate Top 30 Nurse Supplies & Essentials

*This post contains affiliate links. Updated from 4/4/20

Are you a nurse looking for the essential supplies to keep you prepared and organized? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll be sharing the top 30 nurse supplies you need to have on hand.

Nurses need to be ready for just about anything, and having the right nurse supplies to succeed has never been more critical.

Whether you’re working in a hospital, clinic, or home care setting, having the right supplies can make all the difference in providing efficient and effective care for your patients. From basic necessities like great shoes and under scrubs to specialized tools like stethoscopes and vein finders, we’ve got you covered with the must-haves for any nursing professional.

With these essential nurse supplies, you can be confident in your ability to handle any situation that comes your way. Plus, having the right tools on hand can help you work more efficiently and feel more confident in your skills as a nurse.

Ready to stock up on essential nurse supplies? Check out our list of the top 30 nurse supplies you need, and get started today!

How We Chose This List of Top Essentials

We’ve read through hundreds of user reviews and star ratings to develop a list of top nursing essentials to make your life easier and help you make good decisions on what to purchase. We drew on our own experiences working in various healthcare settings, as well as consulted with other nursing professionals to ensure that we were covering all the essentials. Choosing the best nursing gear and essentials requires some extra consideration to ensure they meet the unique needs of a nurse.

We also took into account factors such as quality, durability, and affordability to make sure that the supplies on this list were not only essential but also practical and accessible for nurses at all levels.

Whether you’re just starting out in your nursing career or you’re a seasoned professional, this list is sure to have everything you need to provide the best possible patient care.

Ultimate Top 30 Nurse Supplies & Essentials: The Complete List

#1. Scrub Set

Womens Adar Pro Movement Booster Scrub Set


♥ Over 17,000 global reviews – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Why We Love It

The entire PRO Collection is made of premium super-soft stretch fabrication that is odor and wrinkle-resistant, making it ideal for the healthcare environment where premium tailored attire is desired.

Product Features

  • The solid fabric is made of performance will, consisting of 74% polyester, 23% rayon, and 3% spandex, with a tailored fit.
  • Drawstring closure for a comfortable and secure fit.
  • The tailored fit and soft, stretchy fabric offer comfort and ease of movement.
  • The Sweetheart V-Neck Top features discreet on-seam ID slits and is tagless for comfort, while the Yoga Jogger Pants have a mid-rise skinny jogger leg fit, a lie-flat ribbed yoga waistband, and a soft stretch outer drawstring.
  • Lots of pockets! Two curve-cut front patch pockets and one chest pocket on the top, as well as two roomy front patch pockets, one zipped cargo pocket, and one curved back pocket on the pants.

Mens Adar Go-Everyday Scrub Set


Why We Love It

The contemporary fit of the set offers a soft feel that keeps you comfortable without sacrificing style or professionalism. The 4-way stretch fabric and moisture-wicking properties keep you dry and cool.

Product Features

  • 89% Polyester and 11% Spandex with a drawstring closure.
  • All items in this set come with moisture-wicking technology.
  • The stylish-but-practical top and classic cargo pants set bring the ideal balance between a modern design and functionality.
  • The pants have a mid-rise slim-leg fit with a full elastic waistband and a drawstring.
  • Lots of pockets! The set comes equipped with one chest pocket and two side entry pockets on the top, and two front, two back, and two cargo pockets, as well as an internal and a scissor pocket on the pants.

#2. 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope


♥ Over 63,000 global reviews – 4.8 out of 5 stars!

Why We Love It

The chest piece is precision machined from surgical stainless steel for excellent acoustic sensitivity and durability. Choose from 13 colors!

Product Features

  • Identify and distinguish normal and abnormal sounds and rhythms.
  • The product comes with a 5-year warranty for customer satisfaction and reliability.
  • Suitable for adult and pediatric patients with its adjustable features
  • Equipped with a tunable, dual-sided stainless steel chest piece with an open or closed bell.
  • Non-chill bell sleeve to avoid discomfort.
  • Soft-sealing ear-tips offer optimal comfort and excellent sound occlusion.

#3. Personalized Stethoscope Name Tag


♥ Over 5450 global reviews – 4.6 out of 5 stars!

Why We Love It

With so many stethoscopes in the healthcare setting, it is very easy to get yours mixed up with someone else. A personalized stethoscope name tag prevents this.

Product Features

  • This personalized stethoscope name tag is adjustable and made of copper, which is 18k gold plated to gold, silver, and rose gold, ensuring that it won’t fade.
  • The diameter of the stethoscope charm is adjustable to fit different stethoscope tubing sizes.
  • It can be engraved with personalized text, symbols, letters, initials, or monograms.

#4. The BATCLIP – Premium Leather Handmade Clip-on Stethoscope Hip Holder


♥ Over 1,300 global reviews – 4.6 out of 5 stars!

Why We Love It

Designed by an emergency physician who experienced repeated misplacement and loss of his own stethoscopes.

Product Features

  • A top-of-the-line quality stethoscope-carrying solution made from hand-picked cow hides in Maine.
  • The Batclip has undergone over 20 years of testing and more than a dozen improvements based on feedback from real-world medical practice.
  • This device accommodates many variations in stethoscope design.
  • The Batclip comes with a no-hassle warranty, which includes repair or replacement. It is made to last for a lifetime and has achieved a superior reputation due to its success in actual use.
  • Made with love and care in a small multi-generation family-owned leather shop.

#5.  Stethoscope Case


♥ Over 23,000 global reviews – 4.7 out of 5 stars!

Why We Love It

A stethoscope case helps to keep your scope clean and in excellent condition throughout your entire nursing career.

This case has a fluffy fabric lining that is extra soft, anti-static, shockproof, and effectively absorbs impacts to reduce damages caused by accidental bumping, scratches, and bumps. It protects your stethoscope and Littmann stethoscope accessories.

Product Features

  • This is a stethoscope case only and does not include stethoscopes or accessories.
  • The case features a mesh pocket for nurse accessories and a handwrist for easy portability.
  • It is semi-waterproof, shockproof, stylish, and durable, guaranteed to prevent damage to your stethoscopes.
  • Its external dimensions are 10.87 x 4.18 x 2.72 inches, while its internal dimensions are 10.12 x 3.54 x 1.97 inches.
  • The stethoscope case works with a variety of stethoscope brands and models, including Littmann Cardiology III, Classic III, Lightweight II S.E., and Master Cardiology, as well as MDF MD One, Omron Sprague Rappaport, and more.

#6.  Kangapak Multi-Compartment Waist Organizer Tool Bag/ Fanny Pack


♥ Over 860 global reviews – 4.6 out of 5 stars!

Why We Love It

Known as a “fanny pack,” “hip pack,” or “waist organizer,” these nifty bags help carry many supplies, including trauma shears, alcohol swabs, pens, a penlight, notes, and extra needles and syringes.

Having one of these also helps prevent you from having to make additional trips back to the supply room for things you forgot.

Product Features

  • The nurse utility belt has a zipper closure and should be hand washed only.
  • Made of high-quality microfiber, it is comfortable to wear and stays in place on your waist to hold all your supplies.
  • The belt has nine stretchy, soft mesh pockets to help you organize your supplies, including designated syringe holders and improved zippers.
  • The elastic strap adjusts to most waistlines and fits close to the body, making it slim and convenient for work. It is made of durable and water-resistant material, freeing up your scrubs pockets and allowing you to carry all necessary supplies.

#7. Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 41mm] Smart Watch


♥ Over 42,000 global reviews – 4.9 out of 5 stars!

 Why We Love It

While working, medical professionals can use the Apple Watch as a stopwatch and a timer to remind themselves of an important task. It is also possible to receive and send text messages without having a cell phone with you.

But our favorite thing about the Apple Watch is how it records how much you stand, exercise, and move throughout an entire shift (into colorful rings) and lets you know how many total steps you get in a shift.

With dozens of available bands and watch faces featuring personalized complications tailored to whatever you’re into, this watch is easily customizable to fit your style.

Product Features

  • Apple Watch Series 8 is designed with advanced sensors that provide insights to help you better understand your health.
  • The Always-On Retina display is easy to read, even when your wrist is down, and the watch is available in a range of sizes and materials.
  • Keep an eye on your blood oxygen levels, take an ECG anytime, get notifications if you have an irregular rhythm, and see how much time you spent in REM, Core, or Deep sleep with Sleep Stages.
  • The Apple Watch works seamlessly with your Apple devices and services, such as unlocking your Mac automatically, finding your devices with a tap, and paying and sending money with Apple Pay. Note that it requires an iPhone 8 or later with the latest iOS version.
  • The Apple Watch Series 8 is incredibly durable, with crack-resistant glass, IP6X-certified dust resistance, and swim-proof with WR50 water resistance.

#8. Leatherman Raptor Shears


♥ Over 10,000 global reviews – 4.9 out of five stars!

Why We Love It

Raptor Shears look like a fancy pair of scissors. But they are one of the most practical and essential nurse supplies. And this company offers a 25-year warranty!

Many nurses I work with in the emergency room have the Raptor Shears, and we use them frequently in emergencies. You can hook it to a belt or secure it using the pocket clip.

Product Features

The LEATHERMAN Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter and Glass Breaker is the ideal tool for medical professionals to have on hand in emergencies. This product comes with six essential tools, including:

  • Folding emergency shears
  • A strap cutter
  • A ring cutter
  • Ruler
  • An oxygen tank wrench, and
  • A carbide glass breaker

#9.  Folding Nurse Clipboard 


♥ Over 1,600 global reviews – 4.7 out of five stars

Why We Love It

Keeping a nurse clipboard with you is an easy, secure way to keep confidential documents and medical notes.  They give you something to write on while getting a shift report or while in a patient’s room.

Product Features

  • Compact, lightweight, and easy-to-use nursing folder clipboard.
  • Features a folding design that allows it to be easily carried everywhere and take quick notes during meetings or interviews.
  • Can hold 15-30 sheets of regular paper without creasing.
  • Comes with free cheat sheets.

#10. Nurse Organizer Bag Pouch for Accessories


♥ Over 530 global reviews – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Why We Love It

If a fanny pack isn’t something you are into, you may want to consider getting a pocket organizer to store needed nurse supplies and tools. Although, keep in mind that these are much smaller.

Product Features

  • Features three front pockets and two buckle strips, along with a pocket on the back.
  • Includes a Velcro-closure pocket that provides additional security.
  • The dimensions of the kit are 6(L) x 5(W) inches, making it lightweight and pocket-sized, making it easy to carry with you on the go.
  • The organizer kit is designed to be water-resistant.

#11. Retractable 4-Color Pens (Pack of 12)


♥ Over 570 global reviews – 4.8 out of 5 stars

Why We Love It

This pen has a convenient retractable design and four ink colors (black, blue, green, and red). The durable tip is high-performance for extended use without skipping or smudging.

Plus, the ink can be replaced, so your favorite pens can last you a lifetime!

Product Features

  • It boasts smooth writing and an easy-to-use side-click button that transitions the nib between colors.
  • The durable tip is high-performance for extended use without skipping or smudging.

#12. Pen Light with Pupil Gauge



♥ Over 17,000 global reviews – 4.6 out of 5 stars

Why We Love It

This set of 2 pen lights comes in rose gold and white colors and is made of premium aluminum alloy and LED bulb, making it durable and long-lasting.

What You Should Know.

  • The penlights have a pupil gauge and a 5cm ruler on the side, making it easy to measure pupil dilation and length.
  • The penlights have push-button on/off switches with pocket clips, making them convenient to use and control and easy to carry in your uniform pocket.
  • The penlights require 2 AAA batteries with the positive pole “+” direction of batteries facing the pen bulbs. (Note: Batteries not included)

#13. Veinlite Emergency Vein Finder Access Device


Why We Love It

Most hospital units have vein finders for nurses to use, but it is still nice to have your own because they always seem to be lost or already in use.  If you are working on a unit where you will be starting frequent IVs (such as the ER), a vein finder is a nice-to-have item.

Product Features

  • A portable, handheld device that is easy to use with its one-button operation.
  • It has a built-in white light for patient assessment and orange/red lights for vein imaging.
  • Veinlite EMS Pro is held against the skin and shows vein structures through transillumination.

#14. EZ Handoff – Nursing Report Sheets


Why We Love This

The book measures 6″ x 6″ and can fit in most scrub pockets

Product Features

  • The book offers 80 templates that can be customized with patient information.
  • These templates follow the SBAR format (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation).
  • The templates include sections for Head to Toe Assessment, Vitals, Past Medical History, Labs, and other important clinical information.
  • The book is spiral-bound, with a front and back cover for durability and HIPAA compliance.
  • Each patient has a double-sided template that can be edited and filled in as required.

#15. Clipglow Nurse Light Clip On Night Shift Light


♥ Over 1,100 global reviews – 4.6 out of 5 stars

Why We Love It

It features a USB rechargeable battery that has two light settings – clear visibility when you need it and dimmed or no light when you don’t – and lasts up to 10 hours after every charge.

Product Details

  • A nursing night shift light that provides essential care while prioritizing the comfort of everyone in the room.
  • It offers a hassle-free light-up feature and lasting illumination to help nurses offer better attention to patients and increase efficiency during complex night shifts.
  • The magnetic clip-on feature of the light makes it easy to take with you.

#16. Lovevook Laptop Backpack


♥ Over 38,000 global reviews – 4.7 out of 5 stars

Why We Love It

This backpack is both spacious and practical. With a generous 20L capacity, it boasts two roomy compartments and 18 pockets, making it effortless to organize all your school supplies and carry up to 15.6″ laptops with ease.

Product Features

  • Large laptop backpack with size 12″L 16″H 7.5″D
  • Multiple divider pockets for holding various items such as laptops, iPads, phones, water bottles, and more
  • Six compartments and over 20 pockets, including a separate laptop and iPad compartment, a spacious packing compartment, and a front compartment with many pockets
  • Anti-theft design with fixed password lock and anti-theft pocket on the back
  • Made of tear-resistant high-density nylon and polyester, durable and waterproof
  • USB port design for easy phone charging (power bank not included)

#17. Highlighter Pens


♥ Over 43,000 global reviews – 4.4 out of five stars

Why We Love It

These highlighter pens are perfect for marking important text, making notes, and organizing your work. With 12 vibrant colors to choose from, you can easily find the color that best fits your needs. They have a fine point tip so you can highlight tiny details without smudging or bleeding.

Product Features

  • The product comes in 6 different colors.
  • The product dimensions are 5.75 x 4.69 x 0.56 inches.

#18. Davis’s Drug Guide for Nurses


♥ Over 600 global reviews – 4.8 out of five stars

Why We Love It

This comprehensive drug guide for nurses provides up-to-date, clinically relevant information on more than 5,000 generic and trade drugs. It also offers detailed monographs that include indications/therapeutic uses, pharmacokinetics, interactions, adverse effects, dosage forms & strengths, as well as nursing considerations.

Product Features

  • 643 well-organized monographs encompassing hundreds of generic drugs and thousands of trade names.
  • Nursing-focused Cure & Care’ approach explains what the drug does and describes what the nurse does and how the nursing process relates to pharmacotherapeutics.
  • In-depth coverage of patient safety, a red tab for high-alert medications, capitalized letters for life-threatening side effects, and REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies) icon.
  • IV administration coverage.

#19. SUNNY BIRD Insulated Rolltop Lunch Box Tote


♥ Over 4,000 global reviews – 4.7 out of five stars

Why We Love It

The Sunny Bird Insulated Rolltop Lunch Box Tote is the perfect way to keep your lunch chilled and ready. It’s made of high-quality materials and features a roll-top closure to prevent heat or moisture from getting in, as well as an adjustable shoulder strap that makes it comfortable to carry.

Product Features

  • The bag measures 8.5″ x 6″ x 9.”
  • It can hold one meal set or 12 cans of 330ml soda.
  • It has excellent temperature control, with a roll-up top and triple-layer insulation to keep food fresh for several hours.
  • The high-quality nylon fabric is durable and easy to clean, and the lunch bag is free from BPA and other toxic materials.
  • It is easy to carry and can be folded and put into a backpack or carry-on bag.
  • The lunch bag has a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap for hands-free carrying.
  • The lunch bag comes in various interchangeable colors and patterns designed by community artists.

#20. Nurse Coffee Badge Reel


Why We Love It

This unique badge reel is the perfect accessory for any nurse on the go.

Product Features

  • The badge holder does not rotate, ensuring that the badge always faces forward and is easily visible
  • The retractable length of the badge holder is 24 inches, providing ample reach when needed

#21. CHARMKING Compression Socks for Women & Men Circulation (8 Pairs) 15-20 mmHg 


♥ Over 70,000 global reviews – 4.5 out of five stars

Why We Love Them

These compression socks are available in a multicolor combo of your choice, allowing you to wear a different color each day without needing to wash them daily

Product Features

  • Made with 85% nylon and 15% spandex, these socks offer 360-degree stretch for flexibility and durability.
  • These socks provide varying levels of support, from moderate to extra firm, with targeted compression zones.
  • The high-performance fabric is breathable and helps regulate temperature, keeping you comfortable all day long.

#22.  Hydro Flask Water Bottle


♥ Over 42,300 global reviews – 4.7 out of five stars

Why We Love It

The Hydro Flask Water Bottle is a high-quality water bottle that can be used for many years and still looks brand new.  It is made out of food-grade stainless steel and is BPA-free.  Also, it has excellent insulation, which prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the bottle.

Product Features

  • The straw Lid is designed to prevent leaks and make it easy to enjoy cold drinks
  • With a convenient carry loop, the straw Lid is comfortable to carry and transport
  • Made of 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel, this bottle ensures durability, pure taste, and no flavor transfer
  • The TempShield insulation technology keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours
  • The Color Last powder coat is dishwasher safe, ensuring the bottle remains slip-free and colorful

#23. YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler


♥ Over 147,000 global reviews – 4.8 out of five stars

Why We Love It

The Rambler 20 oz. is a sturdy stainless steel bottle designed to protect your hot or cold beverage.

Product Features

  • Features double-wall vacuum insulation to maintain your drink’s temperature.
  • Comes with the YETI MagSlider Lid, which uses magnets to keep your drink secure.
  • Note that the MagSlider Lid is not leakproof and can’t prevent spills
  • The YETI Ramblers are dishwasher safe, and have a No Sweat Design that prevents your hands from getting wet.
  • The durable Duracoat coating on colored tumblers will not crack, peel or fade
  • The YETI 20 oz Rambler Tumbler is 6 7/8 inches high and has a lip diameter of 3 1/2 inches
  • It is designed to fit in standard cup holders.

#24. CODACE 3 Packs Nurse Headbands with Buttons


♥ Over 17,000 global reviews – 4.5 out of five stars

Why We Love It

These nurse headbands with buttons come in a pack and include three pieces in black, blue, and grey colors to save your ears!

Product Features

  • Convenient for holding the mask cover, preventing the mask straps from rubbing your ears when wearing a mask.
  • One size fits most, thanks to the flexible and stretchy fabric, suitable for long and short hair.
  • Made of breathable, soft, and high-quality cloth, ensuring comfort and preventing them from sliding off or being too tight around your head.

#25. Saucony Women’s Integrity Walker 3 Walking Shoes


♥ Over 2,000 global reviews – 4.4 out of five stars

Why We Love Them

Looking for an easy, wear-all-day nursing shoe that provides ultimate comfort and support? Look to the Saucony Women’s Integrity Walker 3!  Women’s Integrity Walker 3 is produced with the environment in mind and made with recycled materials, and adheres to strict standards of sustainability.

Product Features

  • 100% Synthetic
  • Rubber sole
  • Amazing cushioning
  • Durable upper with full-grain leather
  • Non-slip outsole for confidence on all surfaces

#26.  Sphygmomanometer


♥ Over 21,100 global reviews – 4.5 out of five stars

 Why We Love It

It’s made from high-quality materials, and the adjustable cuff fits standard arms sizes. And best of all, it’s affordable! This is a great tool to have in case you need to get a manual blood pressure.

Product Features

  • Stethoscope not included
  • This reliable device is lightweight and easy to use, with clear digital readouts
  • Affordable price point

#27. Adar Long Sleeve Underscrub for Women (3 Pack)


♥ Over 9,300 global reviews – 4.4 out of five stars

Why We Love These

These under scrubs come in packs of three in a variety of different colors.

Product Features

  • Made of a blend of 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton, which makes it lightweight, durable, and easy to care for.
  • The shirt has a Classic Fit, which means it’s designed to flatter a range of body types.
  • It has Long Sleeves and is Knitted, which adds to its comfort factor.
  • The shirt is tagless for better comfort and has no itchy tag rubbing against your skin.

Calf Compression Sleeves for Men & Women


♥ Over 16,200 global reviews – 4.5 out of five stars

Why We Love These

These compression sleeves are designed to provide extra support for your lower legs and help improve circulation, reduce swelling, and ease muscle fatigue. They are made from high-quality spandex fabric with a four-way stretch design to give you the most comfortable fit possible.

Product Features

  • The kinesiology taping technology provides support, stability, and pain reduction throughout the calf.
  • The footless compression socks are ideal for jobs that require you to be on your feet a lot.
  • The calf compression sleeves come with a true graduated medical compression strength of 20-30mmHg.

#29. Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders


♥ Over 500 global reviews – 4.8 out of five stars

Why We Love It

The adjustable straps make it easy to customize the fit, allowing you to target specific areas for targeted relief. The pad also comes with an adjustable temperature control to match your preferences, ranging from low to high heat settings.

Product Features

  • Relieve muscle soreness and tension with this heating pad for the neck and shoulders.
  • It’s designed to fit comfortably around your shoulders, neck, back, and even arms.
  • With its lightweight design and portability, this heating pad is perfect for home use or bringing it along on the go

#30. Apple 2020 MacBook Air Laptop


♥ Over 18,800 global reviews – 4.8 out of five stars

Why We Love It

The MacBook Air has a long battery life, powerful performance, fast memory, stunning display, and it is easy to learn and use.

Product Features

  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • 8GB of unified memory makes the system speedy and responsive
  • Display: 13.3-inch Retina display with sharp text, clear images, and vibrant colors
  • Designed for easy learning and use, with a familiar interface for iPhone users, and compatibility with all Apple devices
  • Compatible with various apps, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft 365, and Google Drive
  • Stays cool and runs quietly even while tackling intense workloads
  • Comes with a one-year limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary technical support, with the option to extend coverage with AppleCare Plus
  • Made with a 100% recycled aluminum enclosure and uses less energy for a smaller carbon footprint.

Nurses are lifelong learners and need personal computers to research and study.  By achieving advanced certifications within your specialty, you can advance your career, earn more money, improve your nursing skills, and become an expert in your field.  To do that, you need a laptop computer to do your work.  The healthcare environment is continually changing, and there is always something new to learn!

Nurse Supplies And Essentials Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most important tool in nursing?

The most important tool in nursing is the nurse’s critical thinking skills. Nurses need to be able to analyze and assess patient data, identify problems, make decisions, and take appropriate actions to provide safe and effective care. Critical thinking is essential for nursing practice and is a key component of the nursing process.

What should a nurse have in their pocket?

A nurse should have a few essential items in her pocket, including pens, a notepad, a stethoscope, scissors, and a penlight. These items can help nurses assess patients, take notes, and perform basic procedures.

Why do nurses need Sharpies?

Nurses may need Sharpies to identify equipment or belongings, label specimens, or document information on medical charts.

What do you put in a goodie bag for nurses?

Some ideas for a goodie bag for nurses include snacks, hand sanitizer, lotion, pens, notepads, coffee or tea, a water bottle, stress balls, and a personalized thank-you note.

What can you buy nurses to say thank you?

Some ideas for gifts to say thank you to nurses include a personalized tote bag, a coffee mug, a gift card to a favorite restaurant or store, a spa gift certificate, or a book or journal related to nursing or healthcare. You might also consider making a donation to a nursing organization or charity in their name.

Nurse Supplies and Essentials Best Advice

Nursing is a challenging profession, but if you work hard and have the tools you need to succeed, you will excel and continue to move your career in an upwards direction.  Stay organized, keep learning, and take care of yourself in the process (just like how you take good care of your patients).

Most of all, know that you are a valuable contributor to what has been considered the most trusted profession for decades.  Best of luck to you, nurse!

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