When you work 12-hour shifts, you definitely need to plan ahead. Running back and forth to your locker is just not feasible on a busy day, so you need to have a well-stocked nurse bag to keep you going.
But what do you pack in your bag?
5 essential items that you will find in any nurse bag
For some reason, with pens, it seems like one day you can’t seem to find a pen to save your life, and the next you end up with 5 strange pens in your pocket at the end of the day. Black pens on a nursing unit are more valuable than gold. Even in today’s age of online charting, you still need to make notes, and everything must be written with a black pen. Carrying a small cash of pens can help you on those days when your pen seems to grow legs and run away. Instead of searching everyone else’s pockets for your pen, just grab a new one.
Beware of pen thieves, however. Nursing units are a common pen theft area.
Many shifts you are not going to have time to take a real break and eat something. Having some snacks in your bag can be a lifesaver for those busy shifts. Carry a little variety and try and pick protein filled snacks to help keep you focused and on your game when you can’t sit and eat an entire meal.
Every nurse needs a good quality stethoscope. They are possibly the most essential tool in your nurse’s bag. From performing your morning assessments to listening to a person’s chest who is struggling to breathe, we need our stethoscopes to help us understand what is going on inside the body.
After spending 12 hours on your feet, you are sure to develop some aches and pains. And no one has time for that splitting headache. So one of the most important thing that you will find in any nurses bag is a bottle of painkillers.
Staying hydrated can be hard when you are on the go all day. Drinking water from a cup ends up being a sloppy mess, or worse – a breeding ground for bacteria.
That’s why a good water bottle is essential to carry with you in your nurse’s bag. Try to find one that seals and doesn’t spill and is large enough to keep you going between breaks.
What’s in Your Nurse Bag?
What are your must-have shift essentials? Do you carry water everywhere? A special clipboard, spare stethoscope, or headband? I am partial to these nursing clipboards that fold in half for even more storage space and often they can fit in your pocket.
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