Being a nurse means always being prepared for the unexpected and having the right tools in your nurse bag to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Regardless of the type of medical bag you have there are a number of items every nurse should have on them to make their lives easier and their work more effective.
These are some of the most common must have bag items for both new and experienced nurses.
One of the most common and essential medical items that are found in a nursing bag is the stethoscope.
While many places offer free stethoscopes for nurses to use there are a lot of nurses who prefer to purchase their own as they can often buy a better quality stethoscope than the ones offered at their job.
This might include a stethoscope that is lighter, has better sound oscillation and is more comfortable on the ears.
2) Medical reference book / guide
Medical reference books and pocket guides are a great way to quickly find important information that you may have forgotten.
This can include information on how to perform certain medical tasks, which drugs are appropriate for a particular medical situation and how to approach a specific mental/neurological condition.
Medical books are a popular life saver for both new and experienced nurses who need a little extra help to make their day easier and be more effective at work.
3) OTC medicine
OTC or over the counter medicine can be a valuable asset when working long shifts at a hospital or healthcare center.
Aspirin and other basic medicine are useful for alleviating a headache, managing a cold, reducing pain or minimizing certain symptoms that can come up during work.
Having OTC medicine can help you perform better at work by making your experience less painful or more pleasant.
4) Blood pressure monitor and thermometer
Some nurses like to carry a blood pressure monitor and thermometer with them to work as it can help them quickly check their patients blood pressure, measure their temperature and assess the situation.
These tools can help nurses gain better clarification about a patients condition when they are experiencing certain symptoms.
It may also help speed up the process by allowing the nurse to always have a blood pressure monitor and/or thermometer with them rather than having to find one or wait for one to free up if the healthcare center doesn’t have enough available.
5) Notebook or binder
Notebooks and binders are important for helping nurses keep track of their workflow and daily routines.
Recording their tasks, taking patient notes and writing down assessments can make them much more effective at work and simplifies the task of writing reports later in the day.
It takes their mind off of having to remember nuanced details as they can quickly go back to their notes and get the information they need.
It’s also a great way to look for areas where they can improve their performance in the future.
6) PDA or smartphone
PDA’s and smartphone are important communication and task management items.
Keep track of your work schedule, managing your tasks and communicating with other team members is essential to performing well at work and these devices help improve a nurses efficiency greatly.
7) Writing utensils, paper and pad
These are pretty self explanatory.
Always having access to writing utensils and writing paper makes it much easier to take notes and keep track of responsibilities.
Plenty of nurses make it a habit to always have some extra pens and paper on hand.
Some nurses will keep a tourniquet or two in their medical bag for emergency situations.
Tourniquets can literally be lifesavers and even if a nurse doesn’t have to use their own it’s always nice to have them handy just in case.
9) Bandages, medical tape and dressing scissors
Dressing scissors and medical tape are popular items to carry around and keeping them stored in a medical bag means not having to look around for them when the need occurs
10) Hand sanitizer or alcohol swabs
Nursing can be a dirty and germ intensive job so hand sanitizer and alcohol swabs may be a nurses best friends.
They are extremely handy to have with you and you’ll never know when you accidentally touch something or something touches you that could be potentially harmful.
11) Medical gloves
Sometimes you may find yourself in a position where you have to pick something up, move something dirty or clean something that has tons of germs on it.
Keeping medical gloves around will make life much easier and cleaner to deal with.
12) Organizer bags
If you’re a nurse that likes to carry lots of things with you than having some organizer bags in your medical bag will help you keep everything separated and organized.
You can place essential items in these bags (pens, iv lines, bandages, gum) and quickly grab the bag you need to get the job done while leaving everything else organized and clean.
13) Water bottle
Working as a nurse can be very exhausting so it is always a good idea to keep a water bottle with you so that you can stay well hydrated.
Some nurses may choose bring a thermal filled with coffee or just place iced coffee in the water bottle.
Whatever option works for you be sure to always keep a bottle or thermos nearby.
Snacks, snacks and more snacks.
Trust me, if you’re working 12 hour+ shifts in a busy hospital/healthcare center you’ll need to have a few close snacks on hand to keep you from getting hungry and agitated.
Life will be much more pleasant when you have something you can snack on, especially when you don’t have much time to take a break.
An umbrella is totally optional, but it could make getting to and from your car or mode of transportation a bit easier and keep you from having to air yourself out when you finally get to your destination.