Nurse Tools to Help You on the Job

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Written by Ayana Dunn, BSN Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Morganne Skinner, BSN Content Writer, IntelyCare
Nurse with stethoscope and pen

Many of the nursing tools you use are unique to your specialty or to a patient’s individual situation. Nurses in long-term care won’t be working with the same equipment as nurses in emergency departments. Nurses working with a COVID-positive patient will need personal protective equipment (PPE), unlike nurses helping a patient hospitalized for a broken bone. Regardless of the situation, there are some nurse tools that are useful no matter where you work.

Self-Care Supplies for Nurses

It’s important for nurses to care for themselves not only because it’s necessary for their wellbeing, but also because they can more effectively care for others when they feel safe and comfortable. Here are some examples of nurse tools for self-care.

Water and snacks: Nursing requires a lot of energy, which is why it’s important to replenish your body with fuel so you can continue without the uncomfortable effects of dehydration or low blood sugar.

Pain relievers: Address your own aches and pains so that you can feel comfortable and remain focused. Don’t assume you can rely on your workplace for over-the-counter pain medicine. They might not allow you to use their supply, or not have your personal preference readily available.

Hand lotion: Nursing involves a lot of handwashing to protect yourselves and your patients from various infections. An unpleasant side effect is dry, cracked skin. Not only is that not good for your skin health, but the tiny cuts resulting from dry hands could be entryways for pathogens.

N95 or KN95 mask: Facilities should provide these masks, but sometimes they don’t allow employees to use their supply unless patients have confirmed cases of certain illnesses. Ensure you’re protected if you feel the need to wear one.

Adhesive bandages: When addressing minor cuts and scrapes, sometimes it’s easier to use your own supply than search for what’s in stock.

Knee or ankle brace: Nurses who suffer from joint pains would benefit from the extra support provided by knee and ankle braces to prevent discomfort or injury.

Compression socks: Nurses who spend most of their time on their feet are at increased risk of developing leg pain, swelling, and varicose veins. Wearing compression socks or stockings adds pressure to the lower legs, minimizing the chances of complications.

Comfortable footwear: Wearing comfortable and supportive shoes can protect you from future pain and discomfort.

Nurse Tools for Patient Care

Now that you’ve taken care of your own needs on the job, let’s explore nursing equipment that should always be on hand for patient care.

Stethoscope: This is a key tool for assessments such as blood pressure and lung sounds. You never know when you’ll need it.

Scrubs: Sometimes companies require nurses to buy scrubs specific to them, sometimes not. Make sure you buy a few sets so that you’re always prepared, and in case a set is ruined.

Pens: Hold on to your pens! Sometimes they can be hard to find when you need them.

Phone: You’ll likely have this on you whether or not you’re working. It’s helpful for multiple tasks such as making calculations, using the flashlight for assessments, and researching questions about anything that may come up.

Scissors: These are often useful for trimming certain bandages, as well as for a variety of random tasks. You can save yourself time searching for a free pair when you have your own.

Hand sanitizer: This should be readily available, but it can’t hurt to have your own for convenience.

Gloves: It’s wise to always have a pair of latex gloves in your pocket. You never know when you’ll need them quickly.

Optional Nurse Tools

If your employer allows them, smartphones have the capacity to serve the purpose of some of the tools listed. The others are a matter of personal preference.

Penlight: If you can’t use your phone light for examinations, pen lights are effective options that are easy to store.

Notepad: This is especially useful for new nurses or seasoned nurses starting a new job. Small notepads are convenient ways to jot down and readily access new information.

Drug reference book: Handy if you’re not allowed to search questions by phone, or if you simply prefer seeking information the old school way. Just make sure it’s up to date.

Separate bag for nursing tools: Most of your tools should be able to fit in your backpack or purse, but a separate nursing bag can’t hurt if you want to feel more organized.

Watch: If you wish to minimize the number of times you use your phone, or if your employer forbids phone use, a watch is an easy way to tell time and complete vitals requiring it.

Gather Your Nurse Tools and Get Started!

You’re prepared for success, so what’s next? Put your tools to good use and apply to IntelyCare today!