Ultimate Top 30 Nurse Supplies & Essentials:  The Complete List

Ultimate Top 30 Nurse Supplies & Essentials: The Complete List

As an experienced nurse who has many years of experience taking care of ER, critical care, and telemetry patients, I have learned that I must be prepared for my shifts.  Nurses need to be ready for just about anything, and having the right nurse supplies to succeed has never been more critical.

The nurse essentials on this list are the same things that I use daily and make my life so much easier as a busy nurse.   Keep your professional game on point, and stay prepared for whatever your shift will throw at you!

(This list includes affiliate links.  See our disclosure page for more information here.)

The Ultimate Top 30 Nurse Supplies & Essentials: The Complete List:

#1.  SCRUBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scrubs are the universal uniform for nurses for a good reason.  They are very comfortable, designed for long hours of work, allow for easy assess to tools (with pockets), and they are durable to withstand frequent washing,

Also, scrubs make it easier for patients to identify them.  If you can choose the scrubs at your workplace, then you have any color options available.  They offer a way to stand out from your co-workers as well.

#2.  STETHOSCOPE

 

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One of the most important nurse supplies is the stethoscope.  Whether you are trying to obtain a manual blood pressure or listening to lung sounds, every nurse needs to have a quality stethoscope.  I bought a 3M Littmann 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 your cold stethoscope doesn’t you don’t shock your patients and make them uncomfortable.

#3.  STETHOSCOPE IDENTIFICATION BADGE

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With so many stethoscopes in the hospital setting, it is very easy to get yours mixed up with another nurse.  Having a stethoscope identification badge is the best way to prevent this.

#4.  STETHOSCOPE CASE

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

#5.  FANNY PACK

 

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You can use a fanny pack each shift to carry nurse supplies, including trauma shears, alcohol swabs, pens, a penlight, notes, and extra needles and syringes.   Having a “hip pack” can help prevent nurses from having to make additional trips back to the supply room for things they might have forgotten.   Nurses need to have the tools they need fast.  Go ahead and embrace your inner nurse dork with a fanny pack.

#6.  APPLE WATCH 

 

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The Apple Watch is a stopwatch, a timer, and allows you to set the alarm to remind yourself of tasks you may forget when your shift gets busy.  It also makes it possible to receive and send text messages without having to use your cell phone on the unit

But what many nurses love most about the Apple Watch is that it records how much you stand, exercise, and move throughout your shift (it breaks them down into colorful rings).  You will also know how many total steps you walked in a shift. It’s nice to know how much exercise you get in the workplace!

#7.  WATCH WITH A SECOND HAND

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If the Apple Watch is too expensive, consider getting a less expensive watch with a second hand.  Having a second-hand makes it possible for nurses to track important patient vital signs such as respiratory and heart rate.

#8.  TRAUMA SHEARS

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As an ER nurse, the Raptor Shears are my absolute favorite nurse tool.  They look a lot like a fancy pair of scissors.  But make no mistake, these very functional and handy shears are 6 tools wrapped into one, including:

  • medical shears
  • strap cutter
  • ring cutter
  • ruler
  • oxygen tank wrench
  • carbide glass breaker

Many nurses in the emergency room setting use Raptor Shears because they are so functional. You can hook it to a belt or secure it using the pocket clip.   They also have a 25-year limited warranty and will last you throughout your nursing career or longer.

#9.  NURSE CLIPBOARD

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Keeping a nurse clipboard with you is an easy, secure way to keep confidential documents and medical notes with you.  They give you something to write on while getting a shift report or while in a patient’s room.  They also help you store needed writing tools, such as your retractable pen or highlighter.

#10.  POCKET ORGANIZER (to organize your nurse supplies)

 

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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.  Knowing you have the supplies you need within your reach at all times will not only keep you calmer in stressful situations, but you will appear more professional as well.

#11. RETRACTABLE PENS

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Retractable 4 color pens are great for color-coding your work notes or written patient information.  Having retractable pens are also lovely to have for when you are studying for certifications!  You can keep a few in your workbag, pocket organizer, or fanny pack.

#12.  PEN LIGHT

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You will need a nurse penlight for assessing extraocular movements.  And these are especially great because they have pupil sizes right on the pen for a more accurate assessment.  You can’t complete a neurological exam correctly without them.

 #13.  VEIN FINDER

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Many 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 IV’s (such as the ER), this vein finder is a nice-to-have item.

Patients need IVs so we can give them medications and IV fluids.   You could go look for a vein finder on the unit, but why waste that precious time when you can carry one with you?

#14.  NURSING BRAIN SHEETS

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The nurse brain is an extremely important nurse essential for the organization during a busy shift.  Keep your patient’s information organized and in one place.   These brain sheets include areas for: vital signs, medication times, assessment notes, labs, patient history, and space for free text and notes.  This also makes a great gift for new graduate nursing students.  

#15.  HAND SANITIZER

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To prevent the spread of infections, nurses wash their hands dozens of times each shift and often use hand sanitizer in-between.  Travel hand sanitizers are always great to have extra with you in case you need it.

#16.  HAND LOTION

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With nurses washing their hands so frequently every shift, it is no wonder that so many suffer from dry skin.  Whenever possible, use hand lotion to prevent dry, chapped hands and protect the barrier of your skin.  Many nurses keep extra in their nursing bags and car to use whenever they remember.

#17.  HIGHLIGHTER

 

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Highlighters are useful for organizing patient medical information, highlighting discharge education, and studying for your specialty certifications.  You can even hook these on your badge reel to have handy and make sure you don’t lose it.

#18.  DRUG REFERENCE GUIDE

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Keep a portable nursing drug handbook to make it easy to find the most vital information on the drugs that you administer as a nurse most frequently.  This is an excellent tool for helping you learn more about medications while you are on the go and help keep your patients safe.

You can also lookup generic and trade names for drugs, find black box warnings, understand safety information for medications, and help you teach patients about potential side effects of medications.

#19.  NURSING BAG (to keep your nurse supplies organized in one place)

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There are a lot of things nurses need to keep with them:  ID, wallet, nursing supplies, notebooks, planners, other personal items and nurse supplies that you might need.  Your nursing shifts will be stressful enough as it is, so you will want to keep all of your belongings organized.  A great nursing bag will help you keep all of your supplies in one place, so you don’t forget anything at home.

#20.  BADGE HOLDER

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Having a badge holder makes it easy for you to display your ID to patients and other staff members in the hospital.  Badge holders allow you to let others know who you are and they don’t get in the way of your work the way lanyards do.  There are also several personalized options to choose from.

#21.  COMPRESSION SOCKS

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If there is anyone who needs to be wearing compression socks, its nurses. After all, we are on our feet for 12 hours a shift!  Compression socks are so beneficial for nurses because they prevent or reduce varicose veins, they improve blood flow, and they decrease the risk of blood clots.  Many nurses even say that wearing compressions socks make their legs feel energized, even after a shift.

#22.  HYDRO FLASK WATER BOTTLE

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Many nurses don’t drink nearly enough water during their 12-hour shifts and end up going home wholly dehydrated.  Therefore, nurses need a great sealable water bottle with them for each shift.

The Hydro Flask Water Bottle is a high-quality water bottle that can be used for many years and still look 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.

But the best part about the Hydro Flask Water Bottle is the TempShield Insulation, which keeps beverages at the same temperature for many hours (hot drinks for 6 hours & cold drinks for up to 24 hours!). 

#23.  COFFEE MUG (with sealable lid)

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Regular coffee mugs won’t work for busy nurses working with patients.  Nurses, who are seldom in the same place for more than a few minutes, must have a mug with a sealable lid.

The Hydro Flask coffee mug is a popular choice among many nurses.  It has a leak-proof lid (when closed) for on-the-go activities.  Also, drinks stay hot up to 7 hours and cold up to 18 hours with vacuum insulation.  

#24.  LUNCH BAG

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“I just love eating hospital cafeteria food,” said no nurse ever.  Most nurses learn very quickly that they need to prepare and pack their food for two reasons – hospital food usually isn’t delicious, and packing a healthy lunch in advance ensures that the nurse will eat healthier throughout their shift.  Otherwise, when lunch comes, and they are so exhausted, there is a chance they might reach for some not-so-healthy options.

Use a lunch bag that is waterproof, leak-proof, super easy to clean and lightweight.   

#25.  NURSING SHOES

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Nurses are frequently walking around on hard and sometimes wet surfaces -especially in the hospital setting.  The floors are regularly being cleaned in between patients, and there are occasional spills that can sometimes result in unintended nurse falls.  Nurses must have great shoes because not having them can be an occupational hazard.

Nursing shoes also need to give great support, protect your back, reduce stress on joints, and be comfortable to wear for long periods.

#26.  SPHYGMOMANOMETER

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A sphygmomanometer is a tool that nurses can use to take manual blood pressure measurements and to have an accurate, reliable instrument to diagnose hypertension accurately.  This is a great tool to have in case you need to get a manual blood pressure.

#27.  NURSE CLOGS

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Clogs are a staple of the nurse uniform.  They can provide nurses with better support to help them minimize foot, ankle, knee, and back pain, which is very important as nurses can spend long hours on their feet with little downtime.

#28.  INFRARED THERMOMETER

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Your hospital will have a specific type of thermometer that you must use on patients.  But as nurses, it is great to have a way to monitor a patient’s vital signs if we ever find ourselves in an emergency away from the hospital.  Having an infrared thermometer is a great non-invasive way to monitor a temperature away from the hospital.

#29.  PULSE OXIMETER

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The pulse oximeter is a non-invasive method for monitoring a person’s oxygen saturation.  If you work in a hospital or other healthcare facility, you will use your facility’s pulse oximeters.  However, many nurses have a supply kit in case they need to check a patient’s vital signs in an emergency away from the healthcare setting, in which case, a mobile pulse oximeter is a great tool to have.

#30.  LAPTOP COMPUTER

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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.  In order 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!

In conclusion

Nursing is a challenging profession, but if you work hard and have the tools you need to succeed, you will excel an 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!

Additional recommended reading:

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12 Nurse Essentials I Can’t Live Without!

12 Nurse Essentials I Can’t Live Without!

I have a few favorite nurse essentials that I keep with me each day I go to work.

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 every day.

I created this list of my favorite essentials I use as a nurse to help other nurses keep their professional nurse game on point.

Hospital corridor and nurse's station

(This post contains affiliate links.  You can find my disclosure page here.) 

12 Nurse Essentials I Can’t Live Without

 

 

#1.  Littman Stethoscope

I bought a 3M Littmann 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.

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#2.  Koala-Qlip Stethoscope holder

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.

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#3.  Nike Running Shoes

 

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!

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#4.  Compression Socks

 

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 are the right compression strength for me as a nurse.

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#5.  Apple Watch

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!

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#6.  Underscrub T-Shirts

 

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 several so that I always have a clean one to put on under my scrubs.

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#7.  Insulated Coffee Mug

 

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 has a lockable lid that is leak proof.  Best of all, it keeps my coffee hot for up to 7 hours!

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#8.  Hydro Cell Water Bottle

 

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.

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#9.  Nursing Work Bag

 

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.

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#10.  Nurse Lunch Bag

 

Making my lunch everyday has several benefits.  I eat healthier, I don’t reach for junk that is in the break room because I pack my 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.

Link text

 

#11.  Raptor Trauma Shears

 

The Raptor Shears look like a fancy pair of scissors.  But these functional and handy shears are 6 tools wrapped into one:

  • medical shears
  • strap cutter
  • ring cutter
  • ruler
  • oxygen tank wrench
  • carbide glass breaker

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!

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#12.  Retractable Pen

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These retractable four-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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HEY NURSES!  Remember to sign up for your FREE COPY of “The Nurse’s Guide To Health & Self Care” E-book in the sign-up box below! (scroll down)

Additional Recommended Reading

What nurse essentials do you use at work that you can’t live without?  Leave a comment!

5 Best Trauma Shears For Nurses (in 2020)

5 Best Trauma Shears For Nurses (in 2020)

(There are affiliate links in this post.  You can find my disclosure page here.)

As a registered nurse who has worked all over the hospital taking care of emergency room, ICU, and telemetry patients,  I have seen it all and then some.  And I still see new things that shock me every day. This is why it is so important to be prepared with the right nurse supplies you need to be able to perform at your best.  And that includes having a quality pair of bandage scissors or trauma shears with you at all times.

I purchased a pair of cheaper white bandage scissors in nursing school and used them for my first few years as a neuroscience and stroke nurse.  They came in handy while removing IV’s, changing dressings on wounds, and opening difficult packaging.

A few years later, I invested in a good pair of trauma shears when I became an emergency room nurse.  Dull shears are not good in an emergency, and I wanted a great, non-disposable pair that performed well, especially while treating trauma patients.

The Best Trauma Shears And Bandage Scissors For Nurses 2019

Best Trauma Shears and Bandage Scissors For Nurses In 2020

Trauma shears vs. bandage scissors

Trauma shears are a type of scissors used by emergency medical personal such as ER nurses and first responders to quickly and safely cut clothing from injured people.

Trauma shear construction and durability enables them to cut through strong materials such as seat belts, leather, jeans, and even thin metal.  Also, the wide, blunt tip on the shears is designed to slide across the skin, minimizing the risk of injuring the patient while cutting clothing.   Trauma shears can also be used to cut bandages or open difficult packaging and come in handy during 12-hour shifts.

They usually consist of a handle with a metal blade, which is traditionally bent at about 150 degrees. This “lever arm” gives them an unusual appearance as compared to ordinary scissors.

Bandage scissors, otherwise known as bandage forceps, are very similar to trauma shears in that they are used for cutting.  They are generally slightly less “hefty” then trauma shears; however, they are still very durable, and a good quality pair can be used for many years of service.

Bandage scissors also come with a blunt tip on the bottom blade, which helps in cutting bandages without gouging the skin.  The blunt tip design of the scissor prevents accidental injury while making bandage removal very easy,

Price

Trauma shears and bandage scissors can range widely in price.  The costs can range from 15$ for an inexpensive pair of bandage shears to over $100 for a pair of engraved Raptor Shears.  In general bandage scissors cost less than trauma shears because trauma shears are more durable and have more functionality.

The best trauma shears & bandage scissors for nurses:

 

#1.  Raptor Shears

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Many nurses I work within 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.    Also, the Raptor Shears have a 25-year limited warranty and will last through an entire medical career or longer.  This is a fantastic gift for new medical graduates.

These functional and handy shears are 6 tools wrapped into one:

  • Medical shears
  • Strap cutter
  • Ring cutter
  • Ruler
  • Oxygen tank wrench
  • Carbide glass breaker

More about the Raptor Shears:

  • Ready for anything: The Raptor features the necessary tools for medical professionals to handle emergency situations, as mentioned above. 
  • More functionality: The Raptor is equipped with six tools, including folding medical shears, a strap cutter, a ring cutter, a ruler, an oxygen tank wrench, and a carbide glass breaker.
  • Simple and secure: The specially-designed sheath allows you to carry your Raptor open or closed so you’re always prepared. 
  • Pocket clip: No belt on your scrubs? The pocket clip ensures it’ll never leave your side. Alternatively, attach your Raptor with the integrated lanyard hole.
  • They come with a 25-year warranty and are made in the USA.

 

#2.  Leatherman Raptor with Personalized Engraving

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This tool has all the same features as the regular Raptor Shears, but these can be engraved to make an extra special personalized gift for medical professionals.   Therefore, these make a fantastic gift for graduates, groomsmen or bridesmaids, and gifts for first responders, nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals.

Here are a few features of the Leatherman Raptor Shears with Personalized engraving:

  • Free personalization for groomsman, graduation, and gifts. 
  • A fantastic gift for any health care professional or 1st responder.
  • Free engraving. Letters and numbers only.
  • Engraved items are not returnable.

 

#3.  XShear 7.5” Black Titanium Trauma Shears

 

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The XShear titanium trauma shears are great for a paramedic, EMT, Nurse, or any other medical provider.  These are weighty, perform well over time, and are non-disposable.

A few features of the XSHEAR trauma shears (per the manufacturer):

  • Twice as thick as most trauma scissors and sharpened to a razor-sharp edge.
  • Black Titanium coating for sleek all-black appearance and superior durability.
  • Serrated lower blade for an added grip of material and exceptional cutting performance.
  • Durable plastic with slip-resistant, soft-touch inner rings.
  • Extra sturdy center bolt designed to not loosen over time.
  • Patented design features a curved tip and edge that is gentle for cutting near the skin.

 

#4.  Madison Supply Fluoride Coated Medical Scissors

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I wanted to include a few less expensive options on this list.  These trauma shears are a more affordable option as they are not titanium strength and do not have as many features as titanium shears.  However, they are durable and will perform over time for basic and practical purposes.

About this product:

  • 1-pack of black-handled, autoclavable, EMT Shears.
  • Fluoride-coated non-stick surface.
  • 7.5-inch long trauma shears.
  • Sharp edge and milled serrations for cutting.
  • Durable,high-impact plastic handles and stainless steel blades, premium quality, long-life medical scissors.

#5.  Fluoride Coated EMT Trauma Shears With Carabiner

 

 

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What I like about these trauma shears is that they have a carabiner that can easily be clipped to your waist and be within reach at all times.  As a result, it makes it much easier to keep handy.

More about this product:

  • Cuts fast and safely with professional-grade medical scissors.
  • Carabiner feature – the steel-reinforced carabiner can be easily clipped onto your waist and be within reach at all times.
  • Durable construction – surgical grade stainless steel
  • Available in black, blue, red and neon pink, and black.

 

 

Runs With Trauma Shears T-Shirt

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This is a funny shirt if you do have to run with trauma shears!  (As many ER nurses and other first responders do).  This shirt comes in men’s and women’s sizes in 5 different colors.  When paired with a great set of trauma shears, this combo would make such an excellent gift for a first responder, MD, nurse, or new graduate!

Conclusion

 

Check out these articles for more great gift ideas!

Why I Love Being An ER Nurse

Why I Love Being An ER Nurse

(This post may contain affiliate links.  You can find my disclosure page here.)

As a resource nurse who has worked in many specialties and units all over the hospital setting, I have discovered that I am an ER nurse at heart.  Here are the reasons why I love being an ER nurse:  

I love the camaraderie in the ER.

In between the traumas, code brains, septic patients, strokes, fast track, and other walk-in emergency room patients, ER nurses frequently communicate with each other. It’s all about teamwork.  In the ER, nurses often have their own sections, but there are also many “resource” nurses on the floor to assist with additional patient care. When a patient arrives with a more serious condition, there are always nurses who come in to help.

When it gets stressful in the ER, the nurses depend on each other to get the work done. Many patients come into the ER in urgent situations where the cause of injury or disease isn’t yet known.  Nurses have to work together to triage and effectively treat patients, oftentimes, without all the facts.   Doctors, nurses, techs, pharmacists, and other medical professionals cohesively work together to give fast life-saving medical treatment.

On med surg floor units, nurses are assigned to the same patients for an entire day without much, if any, overlap with other nurses.  At times I have often felt lonely on med surg units because I miss the camaraderie of working together with other nurses.

I start several IVs and do all my own blood work in the ER.

Before I became an ER nurse, my IV start skills were mediocre at best.  Now, my IV skills are so much better, and I can get intravenous access in some of the most challenging veins. This is a result of having frequent opportunities to start IVs during each ER shift.

The very best IV nurses are the ones who are constantly challenged by patients who are difficult IV sticks.  To gain valuable IV start skills, you want to put yourself in a position to have as many opportunities to learn as possible.  The ER is a perfect place for that.

It makes sense that ER nurses are great at starting IVs. 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 of the nurses I work with have been in the ER for a decade, or longer and their IV skills are unbelievable. Several nurses are even trained to do ultrasound-guided IV starts on patients with hard-to-stick veins.

Reasons Why ER Nursing Is The Best

I love caring for a varied patient population.

Every day is an adventure. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but it’s never boring in the ER. I have had patients ranging in age from 2 days to over 100 years old. Patients come to the ER with every type of illness, injury, and trauma you can think of.  Our patient loads include, but is not limited to: various types of trauma patients, septic patients, elderly patients, organ transplanted patients, patients with cancer or autoimmune diseases, psych patients, small children and babies, and so much more. There is rarely a dull moment and always something new to learn.

I love the 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. From the outside, it might look like craziness, but the madness always has a method.

I often struggle with the tediousness of tasks when working on a med surg unit.  It is often jam-packed, but very task-based.  The to-do lists can get a little ridiculous.

I love the intellectual stimulation I get in the ER.

I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation that I get as an emergency room nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries, and unusual diagnoses then 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 for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning.

I maintain my sense of humor in the ER.

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 having a diagnosis of constipation. Once I had a college student come in for a temperature of 99 degrees. I’m like, seriously? How do you even get through the day?

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 their test results are completed, 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.

What specialty do you love?  If you could change and do one thing, what would it be?  

Additional Recommended Reading:

 

My “About Me” Page and Our Huffington Post Interview

My “About Me” Page and Our Huffington Post Interview

My “About Me” page

If you have taken a peek over at my About Me page you may have read that nursing was NOT my first career.  If fact, I did’t even discover that I had a calling for nursing until after I had been working in the medical sales field for about 9 years.

Ill press rewind for just a minute…   Once upon a time, I worked in the competitive field of surgical equipment sales for a fortune 100 company and a few medical device startups.

I knew I didn’t love the career, but I made a pretty good living.  It also allowed me to travel for work and I was able to afford to take a lot of incredible overseas trips.  After a few years in the sales grind, I knew I wanted to do other things.  The problem was that my resume said I was a medical device salesperson.  So what was I supposed to do?

That voice in the back of my head continued gnawing at me, little by little.  Every day a small piece of my soul was being eaten up by working in a career that I had no real passion for.

Until finally one day, after a near mental break down I made the difficult decision to leave the field.  I went on a quest in pursuit of greater clinical medical knowledge and a desire to help humankind.  After years of scratching my head I had finally discovered my new path.

I was going to become a Nurse!

It has been 9 years since my near mental breakdown that forced me to make an incredible life change.  Nursing school was one of the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  But I am so thankful everyday that I did it.  Ultimately, it was the best decision for myself and and for my family.

nurse power

Here I am showing off my badge bloom…

Our Huffington Post Interview

My whole point in writing this post was to talk about a really cool experience that I had recently…

A journalist at the Huntington Post recently contacted me through my blog.  She asked if my husband and I would be interested in being interviewed for a piece that she was doing about what it was like being married to an ER nurse.   Of course I said yes!

(I was a journalism major in college and still have an itch to write, which is one of the reasons I blog).

Nursing is challenging.

I want to be an advocate for nurses because I think we tolerate things that would never be tolerated in any other field (but we do it anyway because we’re awesome).   I also really, really want to find a way to help nurses take better care of themselves.  Plus, I am extremely passionate about being a nurse and have a passion for helping others.  So, I was excited to share some of my thoughts (and I was also intrigued to see what my husband had to say about being married to an ER nurse).

If you are still reading this and want to take a look at our Huffington Post article you can read it here.

Thank you for reading my blog and free free to leave a comment.  I appreciate that your took the time to read this!

Sarah

I Love Being An Emergency Room Nurse:  Here’s Why

I Love Being An Emergency Room Nurse: Here’s Why

Have I mentioned how much more I love my job now since I started working as an emergency room nurse?

A year ago, I was a per diem resource nurse who worked on multiple different med/surg and telemetry floors all over our hospital. Being a resource nurse works well for me due to the flexibility it gives me as a working Mom.

But unfortunately, I was becoming incredibly burnt out. Bitter even. I was losing my passion, and I started to wonder if I was due for a career change-up.

I even went so far as to interview for a few medical device companies as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (I was a medical device salesperson before my career change into nursing). I am so glad I decided not to accept any of those positions!

Instead, I adopted a new specialty as an RN in the emergency room and reignited my passion for nursing and healthcare. When the opportunity came up for me to interview for cross-training into my own hospital’s level 1 trauma center, I jumped on it. I started my ER journey on Easter Sunday, 2017.

I have always thought of the ER as a scary portal into the hospital. We are often overbooked with patients, and the load can be relentless. There are sometimes grim patient situations, and sometimes patients die, despite every life-saving effort.

You will be hard-pressed to find medical professionals who deal with more stress and pressure then emergency room nurses. But I am grateful to expand on my med/surg and telemetry knowledge base and learn a new specialty.

Here are my top 6 reasons that I love being an emergency room nurse:

My IV start skills are so much better.

A good vien is what dreams are made of

Since becoming a nurse in the emergency room, my IV start skills have gotten so much better.

In an emergency, we need to be able to start IV’s fast for testing, various medications, pain and nausea relief, IV hydration, and antibiotic therapy, among other things.

Fortunately, in the ER, I get the opportunity to start anywhere from 5 or more IVs in a single shift. So I have the chance to perfect my skills frequently on many patients who are difficult IV sticks.

Many of the nurses I work with have been in the ER for a decade, or longer and their IV skills are unbelievable. Several nurses are even trained to do ultrasound-guided IV starts on patients with hard-to-stick veins.

There is an enormous variety in our patient population.

Every day is an adventure. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but never boring. I have had patients ranging in age from 2 days to 108 years. Patients have arrived with complaints from hiccups, to every type of accident you can imagine and everything in between.

As one would expect, many of our patients are really sick or critically injured. Our patient loads include various types of trauma patients, septic patients, elderly patients, organ transplanted patients, patients with cancer or autoimmune diseases, psych patients, and small children and babies, and so much more. There is rarely a dull moment and always something new to learn.

The teamwork in the emergency room is impressive.

The coordination when a trauma patient arrives is impressive. Patients come into the ER in urgent situations where the cause of injury or disease isn’t yet known. Doctors, nurses, techs, pharmacists, and other medical professionals cohesively work together to give fast life-saving medical treatment.

Also, emergency room nurses often have their own sections, but there are also many “resource” nurses on the floor to assist with additional patient care. When a patient arrives with a more serious condition, there are always nurses who come in to help.

For example, we call a “code” for septic, stroke, and head trauma patients. It is an overhead call to other nurses in the ER that a particular room needs additional help. Within seconds there are a handful or more nurses in the room helping with triage, initial assessments, IV sticks, blood draws, and many other nurse protocols and procedures.

The emergency room moves fast.

Many call it “organized chaos.” The emergency room is a fine-tuned machine with each nurse component working semi-gracefully around one another. From the outside, it might look like craziness, but the madness always has a method.

I am constantly learning.

I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation that I get as an emergency room nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries, and unusual diagnoses then 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 for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning.

I just have to laugh at some of the stuff I see.

Nursing is a work of heart

Nursing is a work of heart.

Please forgive me for saying this. This may seem inappropriate, but it is how I maintain my resiliency.

The emergency room is 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 their test results are completed, or the medical team decides on a plan for them. They get upset and tired of waiting.

Sadly, sometimes they take out there frustrations on the people working the hardest to get them the medical treatment they need: the nurses.

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 feel like dying, but end up having a diagnosis of constipation. Once I had a college student come in for a temperature of 99 degrees. I’m like, seriously? How do you even get through the day?

I have had so many “I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried” experiences in the emergency room to last me a long time. But that’s one of the reasons I like being in the ER 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.

Additional recommended reading:  5 Best Trauma Shears For Nurses