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.
(This post contains affiliate links. You can find my disclosure page here.)
12 Nurse Essentials I Can’t Live Without
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.
Keeping your stethoscope around your neck can get in the way sometimes. I love the Koala-Qlip stethoscope holder because it attaches firmly to my scrubs and it takes the weight of the stethoscope off my neck.
Nikes are my favorite shoes to wear for 12-hour shifts when I know I’m going to be on my feet all day long. Wearing sturdy, no-slip shoes that help cushion your feet during 12-hour shifts is an absolute must!
Compression stockings are often overlooked as a way to prevent some of the chronic issues that come from working in a profession where you are on your feet for such long hours. Wearing compression socks helps to prevent varicose veins, improve venous blood flow, decrease the risk of blood clots, and decrease swelling of the ankles and feet. I have found that compression socks with 20-30mmHg are the right compression strength for me as a nurse.
At work, I use the Apple Watch as a stopwatch, a timer, and as an alarm to remind myself of tasks I might forget when my shift gets crazy busy. I can also receive and send text messages on it without having to carry my cell phone with me.
But my favorite thing about the Apple Watch is that it records how much I stand, exercise, and move throughout my shift (it breaks them down into colorful rings) and tells me how many total steps I get in a shift. My record so far is 22,000 steps during a single shift!
Comfortable under scrub t-shirts are great because it can get cold in the hospital. This brand is especially great because they have thumb holes in the sleeves. I have several so that I always have a clean one to put on under my scrubs.
As a nurse and mom, I start my days very early, usually by 0530. And then I’m usually on the road to get to work no later than 0600. Which doesn’t leave a lot of time to sit for coffee. I have used the same Contigo coffee mug for over a year, and it is still in great condition. It is 20 oz, is stainless and has a lockable lid that is leak proof. Best of all, it keeps my coffee hot for up to 7 hours!
My Hydro Cell Water bottle is another item I have with me at all times. It is 32 oz and has a leak-proof wide mouth lid. Nurses often forget to drink enough water during busy 12-hour shifts, but having this water bottle helps me stay hydrated.
I have this crossbody bag, which is technically not a bag that is just for nurses. But I love the design. I use it to hold my nursing badge, stethoscope, water bottle, coffee mug, breast pump, pens, and all work-related paperwork that I need.
Making my 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.
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
- 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!
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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Additional Recommended Reading
What nurse essentials do you use at work that you can’t live without? Leave a comment!
(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.
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,
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:
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
- Oxygen tank wrench
- Carbide glass breaker
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Check out these articles for more great gift ideas!