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Five Simple Nursing Supplies that You Can't Live Without

February 12, 2014 General 0 Comments

Five Simple Nursing Supplies that You Can't Live WithoutSome days as a nurse, you feel like you're wearing a superhero utility belt because there are so many things carry with you to get the job done. Ask a nurse to empty her pockets and the same supplies will tumble out: the necessities that you turn to time and again. Here are the five essential supplies for nurses.

1. A Watch With a Second Hand

Nurses live by the clock. Medications must be administered at a certain time, and charting must include the time. Additionally, when taking vital signs, a second hand is necessary to count a patient's heartbeats per minute. A watch is something no nurse can live without.

2. A Pen (Or Several)

Although the majority of nursing facilities are transitioning to electronic charting, a pen is invaluable to a nurse. You will need it to label IV lines, have the patient sign consent forms and use it to make notes when you are getting a report from another nurse or taking orders from a doctor. Some nurses even color-code their notes to help them prioritize their day.

3. A Stethoscope

No assessment would be complete without a stethoscope. It is used to take blood pressure and listen to heart, lung and bowel sounds. With just a simple listen, clues to serious problems can be obtained. From detecting heart murmurs to a bowel obstruction, a stethoscope is invaluable to a nurse.

4. Medical Tape

This is the duct tape of healthcare. All nursing supplies are important, but find yourself without a roll of tape, and life will be pretty hard. Stabilizing IVs, making tabs to label IV tubing, securing a wound dressing, reattaching EKG leads that won't stay on — it's always a good idea to keep one or even two rolls of tape on you.

5. Scissors

You will need scissors to cut the tape! Though it supposedly has an easy-tear function, a pair of scissors makes a much cleaner, more consistent cut, and removing all those things that you taped will be infinitely easier with a pair of scissors. If you are in the trauma room, a pair of trauma shears will be your scissors of choice to remove patients' clothing to fully expose injuries. These shears have blades set at an angle to help you get the leverage to cut just about anything.

Gloves, hand sanitizer, thermometers and blood pressure cuffs are also very important supplies, but they are usually found in a patient room. And while different nursing specialties will require other specific nursing supplies, the five listed above are universal — and essential — to all nurses.

Photo credit: Flickr.

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