by Caitlin Reid
As a nurse, you know your job is one of the most important, busy and necessary professions on the planet. Between seeing patients, doing reams of paperwork and helping doctors and colleagues, you barely have a moment to yourself. Instead of spending these rare moments searching for tools you need, carry a few vital things with you. Here are the top things to include in your nursing bag to make your workday smoother, more comfortable and as stress-free as possible.
1. Compression Socks
You’re on your feet all day, which puts a 20 percent greater strain on the circulatory system in your legs and feet, leading to soreness and swelling. Instead of accepting these aches, integrate stylish compression socks into your work wardrobe. Compression socks have proved to be effective in minimizing lower leg aches and edema in nurses, making your busy days safer and more comfortable.
Thankfully there are fashionable, comfortable alternatives to the traditional skin-colored or white compression stockings usually used in hospitals. From cotton to merino wool versions with stripes, spots or neutral tones, great brands offer the best compression socks for nurses. These brands blend fashion and functionality for fun, effective socks that boost circulation. Plus, injecting a blast of color underneath your scrubs can be an exciting way to add a hint of hidden individuality to your work uniform.
2. Scissors and Tape
Sharp nursing scissors and a solid roll of Micropore tape are key ingredients of your nursing bag. As you know, your day is filled with so many instances requiring quick fastening, such as a patient’s IV becoming loose, so carrying scissors and tape on your person usually works best.
3. A Watch with a Second Hand
How many times have you gone to retrieve the blood pressure monitor but they’re all being used? Instead of waiting around for your colleagues to finish with them, carrying a watch with a second hand allows you to take blood pressure without needing the full computer setup. Grab a pressure cuff and your stethoscope, and you’re ready to go.
4. Multiple Retractable Pens
As a nurse, you can never have too many good pens. Writing notes, updating charts and jotting down readings when the chart is being used is a constant part of nursing life. With your busy schedule, you know the last thing you want to deal with is an ink stain or dry pen from a pen left uncapped. Instead, find your favorite retractable pen, and keep at least five in your nursing bag. You never know when you’ll need a fresh one!
5. Hand Sanitizer
If you’re anything like us, you know the hand sanitizer fastened to the wall at work will always be empty at the busiest part of the day (or there will be a line around the corner to use it). To boost your efficiency and help you move on to your next patient with the requisite sanitized hands, carry a little tube with you. Bonus points if you kleep a big container in your locker, and refill the small tube each day so you never run out.
6. Hand Lotion
Constant hand sanitization means dry, cracked knuckles and tender hands, and wearing latex gloves for patient exams makes them sore. To combat the super drying effects of hand sanitizer and constant hand washing, carry a hand lotion in your nursing bag.
Lotions containing a nourishing oil such as coconut, shea or marula penetrate skin fast and work quickly. When you apply sanitizer before you see your next patient, your hands will be soft and hydrated and won’t dry out so quickly.
7. Medication Reference Apps
Every nurse needs help remembering drug interactions and medication names every once in a while. Instead of running back to the nurse’s station to check your hard copy of MIMS, carry your smartphone in your nursing bag. Install the MIMS app, and other great apps like Epocrates, and you can double-check medication information immediately.
8. Small Notebook
You know those moments when you’re running between patients and you remember something you have to check later that day? Nursing life is so busy, so it’s unlikely you’ll remember these things without a gentle reminder, and a notebook can be exactly that. Jot down your task, and check your notebook later that day to jog your memory.
Whether you’re just starting your nursing career or you’re a seasoned expert, refreshing your nursing bag and carrying only the things you need can make a huge difference in your day. Not only will you be less rushed, but you’ll also be more comfortable thanks to small changes like wearing the best compression socks for nurses.
Caitlin Reid is a freelance journalist, copywriter and PR coordinator with over 10 years of experience with clients around the world. She is also a physiotherapist with a special interest in holistic and environmental well-being, blending the realms of evidence-based medicine with inspiring holistic health.