Nursing isn’t the type of job where you can show up unprepared. No matter your workplace – whether it’s a bustling hospital or a mellow family practice – it’s important to be ready for whatever your shift has in store. Coming prepared will arm you with the tools, skills, and confidence you need to give your patients the best care possible.
Check out these 5 nursing must-haves for every shift:
Make sure to stock up on pens and sharpies, which you’ll need for taking notes and labeling patient samples. You should also have a foldable clipboard that fits comfortably in your scrubs pocket. Investing in a dependable watch is a good move, too, since it’ll help you stay on track during your rounds and remember to take breaks.
While this will vary based on your specialty, nurses should always have a few basic tools on hand. For starters, you’ll need a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff to check patients’ vitals. You should also have a penlight, which is handy if you need to get a closer look at a patient’s ears, eyes, or throat. Nursing scissors are also good to have because they’re useful for cutting open tightly packaged medications and other supplies.
A Water Bottle
Keeping hydrated at work is key to staying alert and energized. While it can be easy to forget to reach for your water bottle on busy days, make sure to hydrate no matter how crazy work gets. Consider setting a daily water goal – for example, 8 cups per 8-hour shift – and rewarding yourself every time you reach that number. Soon enough, it’ll become a habit.
Every experienced nurse knows that having comfortable shoes and scrubs is a must for surviving on the floor. This is for safety just as much as comfort; the last thing you need is a twisted ankle from hustling around in poor-fitting shoes. Invest in supportive, cushioned sneakers and breathable, well-fitting scrubs. Your future self will thank you.
A Workplace Bestie
This is one of the most important nursing must-haves. Nursing isn’t for the faint of heart. Some days, you’ll feel physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. That’s why it’s so important to have people to lean on. Make it a priority to nurture friendships with your coworkers. This will give you a support system during challenging shifts, and pals to laugh with during happy shifts. You may even get some lifelong friendships out of it.
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