Is Nursing a Good Career For Moms?

Is Nursing a Good Career For Moms?

Is nursing a good career for moms?

As a mom and second-career registered nurse I have a lot of information to share about this topic – all from personal experience!

In fact, one of the main reasons I decided to become a nurse is because I wanted a better work-life balance.   In my first post-college career I worked in the corporate world working 50+ hours a week.  At the time, my career also required that I travel frequently for business meetings – often for up to a week at a time.  That is a long time to be away when you have small children!

At the time I also had a few nurse friends who told me that they really appreciated the flexibility nursing allowed them when they decided to start families of their own.  Nursing was already a career that I was very interested in because I had a desire to work in a field where I could help others and make a difference in the world.  And since starting my own family was something that my husband and I eventually wanted, becoming a nurse started to make a lot more sense.

So 9 years ago, I went back to college to earn my Bachelors of Science in Nursing.  Going back to school again as an adult was very challenging, but ultimately very much worth it in the end.

As a nurse and mother who has worked in a few very different careers I can give honest advice to the question, “is nursing a good career for moms?

Here are the pros and cons to being a working mother in the nursing profession:

A Nurse and Mother with a small child

Benefits to being a nurse & mom:

1.  Nursing is flexible.

One of the greatest perks of being a nurse is the flexibility.  It is possible to make it work with nearly any schedule. Hospitals are open seven days a week, 365 days a year, and they need a lot of nurses to help with patient care.  There are day shifts, night shifts, mid shifts and even 4 hour break relief shifts available to many nurses.  The flexibility also allows for many moms to go back to school and earn an advanced nursing degree which can help create even more career opportunities.

There are also many times that that nurses can work in a day-  including 8, 10, and 12 hour shifts.  In the hospital setting most shifts are usually 12 hours.  However, you can also work as a nurse in a doctors office, where shifts may only be 8 hours a day.  And in some hospital specialties, such as the PACU or Cath Lab, nurses often work 10 hour shifts.

2.  A five day work week becomes 3.

Unlike most professions, many full time nurses work 3 days a week instead of 5 (a benefit of the 12 hour work day).   That means nurse moms get to be home at least four days a week to spend solid, uninterrupted, quality time with their families.

And as an added bonus, you will be able to run errands during the non-busy hours.  For example, I can take my kids with me to go grocery shopping on Tuesday and Friday mornings – and we are usually one of only a few shoppers there!  Running errands is so much easier when the roads and stores are less crowded.  If fact, since I became a nurse I can hardly stand shopping on the weekends.

3.  There is no travel required (unless you are a travel nurse!).

Travel is a lot of fun in the years before you start a family. But once children come along that overnight business trip doesn’t seem so exciting anymore. In nursing you have the option to go to the same workplace each time you go to work. Unless you are attending a nursing conference there really is no reason that you would need to travel for business.

4.  Nurses can work per diem.

Did I mention that nursing is flexible?  The greatest benefit I have found being nurse mom is that I have the option of working per diem. Per diem literally means “by the day.” As a nurse you have an option to work the days that you want to work and stay home with your children on the days that you don’t.

Here are a few benefits to per diem nursing:

  • Higher pay then a career nurse
  • Work as little as one day a week or as many as five days a week (as long as there is a need for an RN)
  • Make your own schedule
  • Cancel shift the day before if you are needed at home
  • Add on a shift at the last minute

5.  You can leave your work at work.

Nursing does not require that you maintain a home office.  In general, nurses do not have to bring work home with them.  It is a great feeling to be able to leave your work at work.  Best of all, you are not constantly worrying about quotas, reports that you need to turn in, or managing other employees – all of which many moms who work in business or other industries often have to do.

Here are a few things that moms should consider about the nursing profession:

1.  Nursing is hard work.

I would not get into nursing if you think that it is an easy job. I assure you, it is not. In fact nursing is the hardest work that I’ve ever done in my entire life.  You will need some recovery time on your days off because nursing can be a very physically and mentally challenging job.

Because the work is so stressful and can often lead to burnout, I always emphasize how important it is that nurses take good care of themselves.  Good nutrition, exercise, yoga and meditation are a few great ways that nurses can make their own health a priority.

2.  The shifts are long.

Since most hospital shifts are 12-13 hours long you likely wont see your children at all on the days that you work.  Therefore, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed you will be focused on things entirely outside of your family.  For that reason I do not work back-to-back shifts, because I just don’t want to be away for my children for more than one day at a time (another reason per diem nursing works for me!).

12 hour shifts make for a very long workday.  An unfortunate side effect is that you are going to be extra tired on your days off when you are with your kids.  But lets be honest, being at home with your children can be exhausting too!

3.  You may have to work night shifts.

Some nurses like to work the night shift.  Unfortunately, many nurses, especially nurse moms, do not like to work night shift.   Working graveyards is hard on the body because you are constantly fighting your bodies natural circadian rhythm.  Over time this can cause or exacerbate nurse burnout.

In addition, depending on where you work in the hospital they may have mandatory rotating shifts, meaning that all nurses alternate between night and day shifts.  Talk about a confusing schedule!

4.  You will likely have to work some holidays and weekends.

Hospitals never sleep, and that includes holidays and weekends.  While many people are enjoying a “family day” on a Saturday or Sunday, nurses are often working to take care of patients.  Unfortunately,  sometimes that can mean missing time with the kids, birthday parties, sporting events and other special family outings.

There are many trade-offs to being a nurse as a mother.  Sometimes you will miss important events but as an exchange you can be home during the week on days that everyone else is working.

In Conclusion

As you can see there are a lot of factors to consider about the discussion regarding “is nursing a good career for moms?”  And many things depend on your current career and child care situation.

I hope this information is helpful for you if you are interested in becoming a nurse and you are a mom (or want to be a mom eventually!)  If you have any questions about the information in this post, please reach out to me in the comment section.  I love to hear from readers.

 

Are you considering nursing as a profession?  Leave a comment below!   

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Additional recommended reading:

7 Ways To Beat Nurse Burnout

7 Ways To Beat Nurse Burnout

I experienced nurse burnout after 2 years of being a nurse.

That’s right.  After only TWO YEARS, I was already feeling over stressed, exhausted and negative about my career.

When my mind finally wrapped itself around this understanding, I thought I’ve barely graduated with my BSN and i’m ALREADY burned out? How am I going to continue in the nursing profession for an entire career?  

I was frustrated, confused, and to be honest, a little heartbroken.  I was passionate about helping others and I did enjoy the mental stimulation that I got as a nurse.  But I couldn’t figure out how there were nurses on our unit who had been doing the same thing for the last 5, 10, or even 20 years.  Didn’t they feel the same way?

Lately, I have spoken with a lot of nurses about their experiences with burnout. The truth of the matter is that most, if not all nurses feel spent and exhausted  at some point over the course of their career.

Do you feel exhausted, anxious, physically ill, or dread the thought of going to work each day? If so, you too may be experiencing burnout. Here are some tips that can help you overcome this chronic, stressful state and learn to thrive again.

7 Ways To Beat Nurse Burnout

7 ways to beat nurse burnout:  reclaim your passion!

 1.  Find a work-life balance.

Are you rotating days and nights?   Constantly working overtime?   Or maybe just working too many hours per week?  That may work for a while but it is not a very good long term plan.  Everyone needs a break, especially nurses!  Consider taking a vacation (or stay-cation) and plan a few solid days of  “me” time.  A little TLC can go a long way.   You simply can’t continue to take good care of others before taking care of yourself first.

Becoming a per diem nurse helped me find a better work-life balance.  What can you do to help balance your life?

2.  Make your health a #1 priority.

One of the best things a nurse can do to help prevent nurse burnout is to take good care of themselves.  Often this notion is counter intuitive to nurses because the nature of their job is to constantly put others needs in front of their own.  Ask yourself, what do I need to be healthy?  Here are a few suggestions:

3.  Find the “why” in your burnout.

What is it that is really causing you to feel the burnout?  Try writing your thoughts down at the end of a few shifts to help figure out what is overwhelming you.  Is there a pattern?   Perhaps you need to plan your shifts differently.  Are there a few personalities in your workplace that you are not jiving with?  Or, maybe you just are not inspired by your chosen specialty.  Give yourself permission to be brutally honest about what you need to overcome nurse burnout.

4.  Challenge yourself.

Are you under-challenged at work?  There are so many ways to challenge yourself as a nurse:

  • Become a certified nurse in your specialty (or a completely new specialty!)
  • Take on a charge nurse role.
  • Be a preceptor to novice nurses on your unit.
  • Take on additional committee roles.
  • Attend a nurse conference.
  • Change your nursing specialty.
  • Consider advancing your nursing degree.

5. Surround yourself with positive support.

Compassion fatigue and nurse burnout is so common among nurses.  Left unchecked, it can lead to mistakes, unhappiness or even depression.   Share your burnout struggles with a close comrade from work who can empathize with your struggle.   If that doesn’t help, consider talking to a trusted mentor, a therapist, or find a career coach that can help you work your way out of nurse burnout.  Nurses are self-giving creatures by nature, but we must give to our own needs as well.  Crawl out of your shell and start talking it out!

6. Find an outlet.

What do you do on your days off that may you happy?  If you don’t have a stress-reliving outlet, then its time to find one!  Is your inner artist craving a creative outlet, such as painting, designing or even scrap booking? Does a day on the golf course  or an afternoon on the tennis court bring you joy?  Maybe you have been so busy that you have forgotten how wonderfully distracting in can be do become enveloped into an activity that you love do do.

Research has shown that finding a joyful outlet can enhance your mood, increase energy, lower stress levels, and even make your immune system stronger. Today is the time to find your joy!

7. Consider new options.

Have an honest discussion with yourself about your career.   Are you a med/surg nurse who has always dreamed of working in the ICU?  Or maybe you are an ER nurse with an interest in becoming a flight nurse.  A change in specialty might be exactly what you need to tackle nurse burnout.

On another note, nurses don’t have to work in a hospital.   Perhaps working with injectables in a dermatology office or as a home healthcare nurse would be a better fit . There are so many nursing careers to choose from.   The sky is the limit.  Go find your nursing passion!

What do you do to beat nurse burnout?  Leave a comment below!

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

3 Ways Compression Socks And Stockings Help Nurses

3 Ways Compression Socks And Stockings Help Nurses

(This post contains affiliate links.  See our disclosure page for for information.  Post updated 7/29/19).

Nurses need to be wearing compression socks or stockings for every shift.  Especially nurses who are on their feet for 12 hour shifts!

I have been doing a bit of research lately on the effects of standing/walking for long hours.  The reason for this is that I am an emergency room nurse who has worked on my feet all the way through two entire pregnancies – until just a few weeks before I gave birth.

I had no idea that being on my feet for such long hours could actually be bad for my health. I figured that standing and walking all day was better then sitting for long periods. As it turns out, that may not be true. Even for those who aren’t even pregnant.

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.  There are enough occupational hazards for nurses as it is and this is an easier way for us to take better care of ourselves on the job!

Standing nurse leaning over to speak with patient

Nurses are standing or walking most of the time which is why it is so important to wear compression socks or stockings.

How Do Compression Socks Help Nurses?

#1.  Prevention of varicose veins

Standing for long periods of time causes valves in the veins to become weakened, causing blood to collect in the veins. This causes the veins to enlarge and increase in pressure. The veins then stretch from the increased pressure and cause varicose veins. Fortunately, varicose veins are not dangerous however then can be very painful.

#2.  Improved blood flow and decreased risk of blood clots

There are a ton of studies out there on using compression stockings to prevent blood clots in patients recovering from surgery. As a nurse, I have helped my own patients use them many times. As it turns out, nurses should probably be using them too.

A study by The Society of Occupational Medicine found that wearing compression stockings significantly decreased lower limb venous pressure in nurses who stood for very long hours. The data found that compression stockings protected against oxidative stress in those who work in long-standing occupations.

#3.  Decreased swelling of ankles and feet

I have been wearing graduated 30mm compression stockings for about the last 4 weeks during my 12 hour ER shifts. It has been a drastically better experience for me. I wouldn’t even consider going into work without them at this point because my legs start to hurt so badly by the end of the day.

Pregnancy exacerbates the problem of varicose veins and other venous issues since being pregnant increases blood flow in women by 50%. There are days when I hardly sit except for my 1 hour lunch break. That is a long time for anyone, much less a nurse who is already 7 months pregnant. If I didn’t wear compression stockings at this point, I don’t think I would even be able to make it through a shift.

Compression socks help prevent varicose veins..

Compression socks help nurses by preventing varicose views due to standing for long periods of time.

How do compression socks work?

Compression socks help increase circulation of blood flow and oxygen by helping increase the velocity, or speed of blood flow. By squeezing on the legs, the veins carrying blood to the heart are compressed. Think of how when you squeeze a hose, it squirts the water out faster. With compression stockings, the same volume of blood is able to move up the leg, but it has less area in which to move.

graduated compression socks

Compression socks and stockings help nurses by preventing varicose veins due to standing for long periods of time.

Waring compression takes some getting used to.

When I first started wearing compression stockings during my pregnancy I wasn’t happy about it.  My doctor recommended them for me because she knew I was a nurse.  I wore the ankle to waist 20-30mmHg compression stockings, and they are tight! It is not an exaggeration to say that it took at least 5 minutes to pull them up and get them situated. They are especially difficult to put on with a 7th month pregnant belly. I felt (and probably looked) like an awkward whale putting them on.

Compression socks or stockings are a non-negotiable for pregnant nurses… unless you enjoy varicose veins!


Now that I’m used to wearing compression stockings, I love them.  I can’t believe I used to work 12 hour shifts without them.

I have spoken to a lot of other nurses who say the same thing. A male co-worker I spoke with recently in the ER wears knee high compression stockings and says his legs “still feel energized at the end of a shift.”

It makes sense that standing up and working on your feet all day would be problematic in a matter of time. Swelling, varicose veins and decreased blood flow seem like an obvious result of being on your feet for 12 hours a day. Why wasn’t I wearing compression stockings sooner?

As long as I am working as a nurse, compression stockings will be a part of my life. Having pain or discomfort due to my hard work as an RN is so not OK with me. I don’t want future circulation and venous issues due to the fact that I worked hard as a nurse.

As a mom of small babies and an ER nurse I certainly don’t need any more wear-and-tear on my body!

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Additional recommend reading:

Must-Have Items To Pump At Work

Must-Have Items To Pump At Work

(This post contains affiliate links that I have personally used and found essential to my success pumping at work.  You can find my disclosure policy here.)

So you have made it through the first few months of breastfeeding a newborn.  Congratulations!  You are doing a great job mama!

But now a new change is looming on the horizon:  your maternity leave is slowly creeping to and end.  And you are wondering how you are going to continue providing your dear baby with their primary source of nutrition, breast milk.

And, like me, there is probably a big question going through your head right about now:

What supplies do I need for pumping at work?

I had so many concerns about being a “pumping mom” and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I was going to make it happen without a ton of stress.  But I knew I needed to be prepared.  I am a registered nurse and I work very busy twelve hour shifts.  Like most pumping moms who work, I don’t have time not NOT to be prepared.

I am happy to share that I have been successfully pumping as an ER nurse in a very busy level 1 trauma center for the last 4 months.  And I still can’t believe how well it is going!  Sure, there have been a few minor hiccups along the way (like forgetting my breast pump at home, whoops!).   But overall the experience has been way better then I would have thought.

I now know that I will be able to continue pumping breast milk for my baby for as long as I desire.  I want other working moms to know that they can do this too.  (Read more about what I have learned about pumping at work as a nurse).

Must-have items for pumping at work

Must-have items for pumping at work

The essential must-have items to pump at work:

1. Portable Breast Pump

This device is the highest on the must-have items to pump at work list, for obvious reasons.  Without it, you have no way to access your milk!   I am using the Medela Freestyle portable pump because it is the one that my insurance covered and it works great.  You want to make sure that you have a double pump so you can pump both breasts at once to save time.


Check with your insurance to see if they cover a portable breast pump before you buy one.  I live in California and my insurance gave me a breast pump free of charge!

(Just a note, the different brands do not work interchangeably with each other.  So you want to make sure you find one brand you like and stick with it!  Otherwise you will end up with a bunch of parts that don’t work with one anther.  You don’t need your back to work pumping supply list to be any longer then it already is!)

2.  Bottles

You will need breast milk collection storage bottles to store your milk until you get home from work.  I use the Medela bottles because I already use the Medela pump but there are several other brands you can used as well.  Just make sure the ones you are using are made without BPA (its a safer plastic that helps retain breast milk’s beneficial properties).

I also like the Medela screw on lids better then some other brands because they are leak proof.  (I tried a different brand and had an issue with leakage all over my packed lunch!).  You can wash them in the sink and they are also dishwasher safe.

3.  Clip and Pump Hands-Free Nursing Bra

I really like this nursing bra accessory because it makes it possible to double pump without having to hold the pumps with with both hands.  Once you start pumping you will find that having to hold the pumps in place is really annoying and makes it difficult to do anything else.

This cleaver contraption can hook on to almost any nursing bra and make it a hands free pumping bra as well!  That way you can still do other things like check email or scroll though your phone.  Because lets be honest, pumping can be pretty boring after a while!

4.  Breast Milk Storage Bag

After you pump you need to make sure you have a place to store your breast milk until you get home.  I always pack a lunch for work so I just use my insulated lunch bag to store my milk.  You can use any insulated storage bag.

5.  Reusable Nursing Pads

Engorgement is no joke.  There have been a few times at work when I wasn’t able to pump on schedule and I ended up leaking through my scrubs (you could barely see it but still!).  As a result of that embarrassing experience I started wearing nursing pads when I was at work.

I use reusable nursing pads made of bamboo because I have read that many disposable pads contain absorbent chemicals which come in direct contact with your skin.  They also run the risk of trapping moisture, especially if your are leaking. This can increase the risk of mastitis, a very painful bacterial infection that will make you sick and can be dangerous if untreated.  Disposable pads can also be expensive over time if you are frequently using them.  I have 12 reusable nursing pads and I run them through the washer and dryer with all my other clothes.

6.  Breast Milk Storage Bags

The beautiful thing about pumping is that you can store your breast milk in the freezer!  So even if you have a surplus of milk you can put it away for later use.   These little breast milk storage baggies are great because you can write the date on the top section so you know how long they have been in the freezer.

Place them in the refrigerator for 12 hours before you need them to thaw them out.  Or place them in a bowl of hot water for quicker use.  These are on the high list of absolute must-have items to pump at work that you will need: I have used over 200 of them already!

7.  Milk Storage Organizer

My freezer got a little over loaded with breast milk within the first few months that I was back at work and this milk storage organizer helped me to keep things more organized.  It also helped me keep the milk organized by date so I make sure to use the oldest milk first.

8.  Newborn Bottle Feeding Set

Your baby is going to need a way to drink your breast milk when you are not there, right?  I tried so many different brands of bottles for our baby (their are so many!) but I finally settled on Dr Browns newborn bottle feeding set.  Different brands are NOT able to be used interchangeably with one another so its a good idea to find a brand you like and stick with it.  Otherwise you end up spending a bunch of money on bottles and parts you don’t even need.

In the beginning your baby will only need the 4 ounce bottles because they wont be drinking as much milk.  But as they grow you need to switch to the 8 oz size.  My son is 6 months and can take an entire 8 oz bottle in one feeding very easily.

The Dr Browns bottles have a blue vent system that is supposed to remove excess air bubbles from the milk.  This supposedly helps reduce feeding problems like colic, spit-up, burping and gas.  Our daughter struggled with pretty severe colic and constant spit-up and switching to the Dr Browns bottles helped the situation tremendously.  She still had some issues but they were noticeably much better!

9.  Baby Bottle Drying Rack

This is not a necessity but I included it because the Splirish baby bottle drying rack because it has been so helpful for me (and it looks cute on the counter too!).  It comes in medium and large sizes.  One of the unfortunate side effects of pumping breast milk is that you are going to be washing A LOT of bottles and breast pump parts.  It is just par for the course with pumping at work!

Every night when I get home from work I put all of my breast milk into storage bags and put them in the freezer.  I am left with several dirty bottles from work along with dirty pump parts and all the empty bottles that my baby drank during the day.  That is a lot of bottle washing!  To save time I soak the parts in soapy water  and then wash them all at once and leave them on my drying rack to dry out until the morning.  This system has saved me a lot of time over the months.

Take it one day at a time, Mama.

You may get overwhelmed, but you too can do this!

There are a lot of products on the market and it can be overwhelming for a mom who is preparing to go back to work from maternity leave.  So, make it easier on yourself and have a plan in place before you go back to work (read more about how I pump at work as a registered nurse who works 12 hour shifts).

After successfully pumping at work with two babies I have whittled down my list to include the things that have helped me the most.  I hope this helps to guide you in the right direction to find what works for you too!

It is your legal right to continue to provide breast milk for your children and pump while you are at work.  Do not let anyone tell you differently or make you feel guilty about it.  Only you know what is right for you and your babies.

Good luck, mama!  Let me know how it goes as a pumping mom in the workplace and please reach out to me if you have any questions.  I would be happy to help you!

The 7 Most Important Nurse Supplies You Need!

The 7 Most Important Nurse Supplies You Need!

(This post about important nurse supplies contains affiliate links.  You can find our disclosure page here.)

What are the most important nurse supplies you need as a nurse?

I am a registered nurse who has worked all over the hospital taking care of ER, Med Surg and ICU patients.  As a result, I have seen it all and then some.  And I still see new things that shock me everyday!  That is why it is so important to be prepared with the right nurse supplies you need to succeed.

This list is great if you are looking for gifts for nurses (especially a new graduate nurse!). Or if you are just looking to keep your professional nurse game on point!

The following items are linked directly to the product on Amazon.   I personally love purchasing my nurse supplies from Amazon for 3 reasons:  free shipping with Amazon prime, I can find the best discounted price available and most importantly, the EASY return policy.

The Most Important Nurse Supplies And Tools You Need

The Most Important Nurse Supplies And Tools You Need

Here are are the 7 most important nurse supplies you need!

#1.  Stethoscope

Whether you are trying to obtain a manual blood pressure or listening to lung sounds, every nurse needs to have a stethoscope.  I bought a 3M Litmann Classic in nursing school and I have been using it ever since.  They are available in many different colors and have a “non chill” rim so you don’t shock your patients with a cold stethoscope.

#2.  Raptor Shears

The Raptor Shears look like a fancy pair of scissors.  But make no mistake, they are very high on my list of coolest and most important nurse supplies!  These functional and handy shears are actually 6 tools rapped 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.  This is high on my list of great gifts for nurses!

#3.  Fanny pack or Nurse Pocket Organizer

Otherwise known as the “medical gear hip pack”, the fanny pack is a staple of the nurse uniform.  Every nurse needs a way to carry their most important nurse supplies with them at all times.

When I started working as a new graduate nurse I used a fanny pack every day to carry syringes, alcohol swabs, pens, a pen light, my notes, and extra needles and syringes.  But after about 6 months I got comfortable on the unit and stopped using it (mostly because I felt a little dorky).

But just this past year I pulled it out and started using it again.  And you know what?  I actually do a lot less walking back to the supply room because I am able to carry the items I need in my fanny pack.  And I always have my supplies on me when I need them fast.  Embrace your inner nurse dork with a fanny pack!

You may also be interested in reading:

#4.  Retractable 4 color pens

These retractable 4 color pens are great in case you need something to stand out in your work notes.  Or use different colors for different patients when taking report.  These pens are also great for color coding notes and flashcards for when you are studying for certifications!  I always have a few in my work bag and one on me while I am at work.

#5.  Pen light

It is important to have a nurse penlight when assessing extraocular movements.  And these are especially great because they have pupil sizes right on the pen for more accurate assessing!

I got used to carrying a pen light when I was working on a neurology/stroke unit and needed them to check my patients neurological status at least every 2 hours during my shift.  You can’t complete a neurological exam properly without them!

(If you are looking for great gifts for nurses, a fanny pack with a pen light and retractable color pens in it would be so perfect!)

#6.  Apple Watch

The Apple Watch was a big purchase for me, but I use it several times a day during my 12 hour shift and it is so handy!

While working, I can use the Apple Watch as a stopwatch, a timer, and I can set 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! (Those who know me well know that I am a big advocate of nurses staying healthy and taking good care of themselves!)

#7.  Vein Finder

As an ER nurse it is a regular practice for me to start several IV’s a day.  Sometimes up to 7 or 8 in a single shift!  For patients who are a difficult “stick” (as we call it in nursing) it is so helpful to have a vein finder in my back pocket.

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

 

P.S.  Get your FREE COPY of “The Nurse’s Guide To Health And Self Care” below!


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