If you’re a nurse, then you’re a proverbial jack of all trades, moving from patient to patient, needing different tools as you go.
Even the title of this article implies that you may be carrying 10 (or more) things with you all day, and let’s face it: there’s no denying nurses need specific items within hand’s reach at all times while on the job. So it’s understandable that you need a way to keep all your essential tools organized to work as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s a small task that can relieve a lot of pressure from your day.
Read on to learn more about what your fellow healthcare colleagues typically carry around with them during their shift. Surely, you’ll be nodding along with these lists of items that are commonly found in nurses’ pockets. Perhaps you even have a few of them on hand right now.
Then, we’ll give you some quick tips on how to keep all your “ducks in a row” (and by “ducks” we mean tape, scissors and IV flushes, of course). We’ll also offer some ideas for nursing organizers and workwear that practically arrange your items for you.
What do nurses normally carry in their pockets?
This may be a question of preference (perhaps you’re the kind of nurse who always remembers to keep some chocolate in their pocket). But, there are a few nurse essentials that you’ll without a doubt definitely want to grab in the morning.
If you dig into a nurse’s bag, you’ll normally find some water, a pen, paper and a badge—just the essentials (but very, very essential).
What should nurses carry in their pockets?
So, you all have the basics you’ll need to survive a day at the office, but how could you optimize your shift by taking exactly the right things with you? Here are the top 10 things nurses can’t live without (or, at least, shouldn’t have to) on the job.
- A snack: You work in a high-stress environment, taking care of others all day. Don’t forget to also take care of yourself. A snack tops our list of must-haves because it’s the perfect pick-me-up that will help you get through the day, even if you’re not sure when you’ll get a break to eat.
- Stethoscope: Don’t go without the tools of your trade. Be sure to take a stethoscope with you wherever you go. And, if this doesn’t actually end up in your pocket but around your neck, that’s totally understandable.
- Tape: This is another important tool of the trade. You’re sure to need it as you move from patient to patient, drawing blood and taping up IV lines.
- Alcohol swabs: Keep things clean. You’ll certainly want some sanitizing alcohol wipes throughout the day as you see patients and administer IVs.
- Scissors: These come in handy in almost every setting, especially in a hospital. Be sure to have some scissors on you so that you can quickly cut tape, fabric and bandages.
- Watch: Watches aren’t always necessary in the age of the smartphone, but at the hospital, they’re essential. Pro tip: Wear one that has a second hand so that you can use it to guide you when taking vitals.
- Penlight: As a nurse, you’re already a source of light for your patients, but what about when you need a bit of help finding something you dropped on the floor or are doing a neurological assessment? A penlight is a small but mighty tool that’s completely pocket-worthy in your line of work.
- Hand sanitizer (and hand lotion): Stay sane and sanitized all day by frequently applying a bit of antibacterial gel and following up with your favorite moisturizer to keep your hands from getting dry.
- IV flushes: Stay prepared by keeping this tool of the trade handy. You’ll be able to work more quickly and efficiently.
- Chapstick: Chapstick may sound frivolous, but we believe self-care is essential. When you feel good, you work more comfortably, and we’re all about that. So, protect your lips from the dry hospital environment with a moisturizing balm.
Things that always end up in nurses’ pockets
You know how this goes. You have a perfectly curated list of items to take with you to the office every day, and somehow, something else always sneaks its way into your pockets or bags. Here’s what other insiders find in their scrubs pockets—and we’re sure you often discover in yours as well
- EKG calipers
- NSS flushes
- Highlighters (They can certainly bring some color into your day!)
- A stapler (You may want to return that to where you found it. Surely another nurse is looking for it!)
- Odd specimens (All in a day’s work.)
How to stay organized at work with accessories
One way to stay organized is by wearing a pouch. Whether fanny packs are officially making a comeback is up for debate, but regardless, they are a handy piece of equipment for nurses. These belts are made especially for healthcare professionals on-the-go who need a place to carefully and quickly store all of the items we mentioned above. Yes, that includes your snack.
How to stay organized and comfortable in your workwear
Take it from us: comfortable scrubs are at the top of the top of the list of things nurses need for work. And the more pockets, the better. Try to find scrubs with pockets in different places so that you can put your stuff to be exactly where you need it (and distribute the weight of your supplies). If you carry a lot with you, try to find some cargo scrubs and a top that also includes a pocket (or three).
Whether you need 10-pocket scrubs, some moral support or information on healthcare careers, we’re always here for you, cheering you on in all the important work that you do!