As a nurse or a nursing student, it is essential to have personal items to take good care of yourself. It has been said that nurses are like military personnel; not only do they work under pressure, but they also undergo physical stress (mishaps and injuries) on duty. Bring these items with you whenever you head out on assignment:
You will most likely be in a dirty environment that is filled with germs and dirt. You can prevent your skin from getting dry by bringing a lotion bottle. It is also best to bring an unscented lotion since scented lotions can cause allergies, especially when dealing with patients with sensitive skin.
- Foot massager
Heel pain is common in nurses since they spend much time on their feet. You can use a foot massager to relieve the tension in your feet and lessen any chances of developing heel pain. A reputable massage equipment company will offer quality products. You can also bring an ice pack along; you will need this if you suffer from sore muscles.
- Quality, long-lasting, coffee mug with lid
Coffee keeps you going during your shift, but if you drink from a paper cup, it can leave stains on your uniform and make the coffee taste bad. Bring a quality coffee mug with a lid to keep your clothes from getting dirty or stained and, most importantly, to keep your coffee hot or cold (whatever way you like it!).
- Compression socks
For added protection, bring a pair of compression socks with you. You can try these out before using them during duty hours, so you can determine if they are comfortable or not. This also prevents any possible injury that may occur due to wearing the wrong socks.
- Stress ball or worry stone
Easily carried stress balls are helpful for nurses who need to relieve some stress. They can be used at work or even at home, wherever you feel stressed. Worry stones, on the other hand, are smooth rocks that have soothing properties. Rubbing the smooth surface gives a calming effect for those who worry too much, and it can even help you fall asleep. It’s a must-have if you feel anxious about work or family life.
- Tissues and hand sanitizer (for easy access)
You need these items at all times to prevent bacteria from spreading to patients and yourself. You can get these items in small travel packs.
- Healthy snacks
You don’t want to get caught out during your shift without snacks, especially if you feel weak or tired due to a lack of food. Choose foods that can give you lots of energy, but make sure they are healthy—you don’t want too much sugar! Foods like peanut butter and crackers, cereal bar, or trail mix are all great choices.
What every nurse should have in their bag
- Scissors and Micropore Medical Tape
- Lotion and Hand Sanitizer
- Six saline flushes
- Retractable pens
- Sanitary items – gauze, sterilized mask and gloves, cotton balls
- OTC pharmacy items (cold medicines, ibuprofen, and other emergency meds)
- Small notebook – for taking notes from doctors and observations of your patients.
- Tongue depressor
- BP apparatus
- Watch with a seconds hand
How do you thank a staff nurse?
The best way to say thank you to a nurse or healthcare professional is to remember them!
Nurses are some of the hardest working people in society; without their tireless work, many patients would not be able to receive treatment. One nurse said that there are certain things that he wished all people knew about being a nurse. Here are his thoughts on how you can thank a nurse and what they wish you knew:
Nurses should never get taken for granted. This is probably true for any profession, but I think nurses get the short end of the stick sometimes because we typically don’t take up as much space or draw attention to ourselves like doctors do (most of the time). So make sure to always say hello and ask how we’re doing (and actually listen when we reply, don’t just pretend like you care and walk away).
Another thing, every time I get into a patient’s room and introduce myself, I always hear some variation of the following: “what kind of doctor are you?” or “are you a nurse practitioner/physician assistant?” The answer is no. I am not any of those. We’re nurses. Please just call us by our name. Unless we go out of our way to tell you otherwise, assume we are nurses. Our degrees can be from less competitive programs, so it may take us longer to advance in our field, but that doesn’t make us any worse at what we do for your loved one here in the hospital with you today.
When someone needs help, nursing students step up to the plate and give whatever resource they can to ensure the patient gets their care (and at great cost financially and emotionally for themselves). The nurse should be thanked for showing up every single day. We don’t get to pick our shifts, we take what is given to us. I’ve even had my name put on a cancellation list because someone else didn’t want the shift that was assigned (never mind that I was in school full time at the time so I couldn’t just drop everything for them if they called me in last minute or needed help with something outside of my scheduled hours). I’ve also worked in the ER where sometimes our days are booked solid from 6am-6pm without a break unless you count your meal breaks, are at best 30 minutes long.
It’s easy to forget that in addition to taking care of your loved one the nurse has other patients and families relying on them. We don’t get paid any extra when we have more than our fair share of work, there are just less nurses working in the hospital every day so it falls on us to do more work without being able to go home until all our tasks are completed for the day.
The last thing that I want people to know about this profession is that no matter how long or short a shift might be, I always try my best, even if I’m not feeling well, or am extremely busy with other tasks, etc. Nurses will come up with creative ways to make sure you get your medications on time or help you to the restroom and do it safely without hurting ourselves in the process. It’s actually pretty amazing but we don’t get enough credit for all that we do. I just want people to know that when you see a nurse, whether it be your nurse or someone else’s, thank them for their work. It makes our day go just a little bit smoother.”
What do nurses need most right now?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all nurses need more:
- Surgical masks
- N95 respirators
- Face/eye shields
- Cleaning supplies
- Hand sanitizers
- Viral testing swabs