10 Things Every Nurse Needs to Thrive

*article sponsored by Intiva Health*

Every nurse is important. But if you want to reach next-level status—we’re talking the Lebron James of the nursing profession—you’re going to need some products, resources, and memberships. Don’t worry: I got you covered.

Here are 10 things every nurse needs to thrive.

A good online CEU platform

There are a lot of ways to fulfill your continuing education requirements, from attending conferences to taking in-person classes. But this can be hard to accomplish, especially when you work 12-hour shifts. That’s why I recommend finding a good online CEU platform where you can knock out credits at a time and place that fits your busy schedule.

A couple of great places to do that are Intiva Health (which also offers credential management) and Medscape.


Coffee is an absolute necessity for getting through long shifts. Unfortunately, injecting it directly into your veins is not safe yet, so you’ll just have to drink it for now. My medical recommendation is 1-2 cups every 1-2 hours. But be sure to consult with your doctor first.

In all seriousness, if you can’t drink coffee and need an energy boost, look into energy drinks, tea, or having a colleague throw a drink in your face.

A watch with seconds

Watches may seem so 1990s, but a watch that indicates seconds can be very helpful when monitoring vitals or timing medications for a patient. Check out Scrubs and Beyond for a great selection of these kinds of watches.

A spa membership

Treating yourself makes it easier for you to treat someone else. That’s why I recommend joining a local spa. From massages to facials, spas can rejuvenate you after a stressful week, giving you the energy you need to best do your job. It’s somewhat costly, but it’s worth the investment.

Netflix and/or Hulu and/or HBO and/or Amazon

The best way to recover from a 12-hour work shift is a 12-hour TV binge. There are a lot of ways this can be done. You can go the classic route and watch shows on an actual television, but then you’ll have to wait for shows to come on and watch commercials. Avoid that by getting a Netflix and/or Hulu Plus and/or HBO Now and/or Amazon Prime membership (emphasis on the word “and”).

If being entertained for hours on end makes you feel guilty, watch a medical-themed show like “Scrubs” (available on Hulu). Whatever’s necessary. Just relax and enjoy your day off.

A Strong Fortitude for Bad Smells and Gum

As a nurse, you’ll be dealing with stinky smell every day. Whether it’s the c diff smell or the smell of sputum, there are lots of foul-smelling odors that nurses encounter on a daily basis.

The gum is actually two-hold here. The smell of gum can help suppress the strong smells you might encounter it might also help to mask the garlic bread from last night’s leftovers.

Look, I’m not saying your breath stinks. Maybe it smells like a unicorn riding a mint-flavored rainbow. Who knows. All I’m saying is you’re going to be up close with patients, so don’t risk it. Get some gum so they don’t have to hold their breath around you. It’s called good patient care.

Quick reference cards or apps

Sometimes you may not be able to instantly recall pertinent knowledge for a patient. That’s fine. No need to feel shame about this. You can still get the answers you need quickly with cards and apps that allow you to access medical information. Take advantage of this.

Some great resources for this include badge card sets, Epocrates, and ScrubCheats.

Clicky pens

There are many kinds of pens in this world: nice ones, not nice ones; pens with caps, pens without caps. Okay, so there are really only four kinds of pens, but the point is: You got options. Still, there’s only one pen good for nurses, and that’s clicky, retractable ones.

These pens are ideal for nurses because you can attach them to pockets, clipboards, and even your patients’ ears (don’t do that last one). This lowers your chances of losing them. Plus, you don’t have to keep up with caps. True freedom.

A gratitude journal

It can be easy for nurses to become desensitized. Many get into the profession to help people, but eventually, it becomes just another job. That’s why I recommend getting The One-Minute Gratitude Journal. This journal makes it easy to quickly reflect on what you’re thankful for, which could help keep in perspective just how important what you do is (to you and the world).

More coffee

Coffee is really a “lather, rinse, repeat” kind of thing for nurses. If the coffee machine breaks at work, not only is the person who broke it immediately fired, but every patient seen between when it broke and when it gets fixed is going to receive subpar care. Just the way it is.

But really, what you do as a nurse is absolutely essential. Do whatever’s necessary to thrive, whether it’s binging TV or taking courses online because the world needs your contribution.

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