If newly graduated nurses are medical soldiers going into battle against COVID-19 and other illnesses, then nursing tools are the essential gear helping them survive the medical battlefield. If you are starting your career as a nurse or health care professional, make sure that you are armed with your own arsenal of nursing tools.
While some hospitals and health care facilities provide certain equipment to their staff, it’s best if you have your own basic work supplies so you can be prepared for any medical situation you may face. The current pandemic is an additional incentive for you to build your own set of tools so that you can minimize your personal contact with items that other people touch and use.
What practical supplies should you prepare so you can be ready for your first day at work? Here is a helpful list of eight nursing tools every new grad nurse and health care professional needs:
1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
A basic, but vital tool you will need as a nurse is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While employers are required to provide PPE to their health care staff, it’s a smart idea for you to have your own set of PPE just in case your hospital or health care facility unexpectedly encounters a PPE shortage.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), PPE refers to special clothing or equipment that protects you against infectious diseases. PPE has always been an important medical version of battle gear for nurses, doctors, and health care professionals, but it has become even more significant during this pandemic.
Common types of PPE include face masks or respirators, face shields or goggles, isolation gowns, gloves, etc. You can learn more about types of PPE and how to properly wear them with help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
A stethoscope is a key tool and will be indispensable during your nursing career. It is considered the primary identifier of every medical professional. Purchasing a high-quality stethoscope is highly recommended since you will regularly use it for work.
A superior stethoscope provides better acoustics allowing you to complete your patient assessments in an accurate and efficient manner. It is comfortable to wear and to use on a daily basis. Finally, its durability gives it the potential to last for a long period of time, meaning you won’t need to replace it as soon as you would if you owned a basic stethoscope model instead.
It’s true that you need to spend more on a high-caliber stethoscope than a budget one, but since it can contribute to your initial success as a novice nurse or health care worker, it’s a worthy investment.
3. Books & Reference Materials
Yes, you may have recently graduated from nursing school, but that doesn’t mean that you can remember every single thing you learned as a nursing student. Keeping a stash of digital and physical reference materials is highly recommended.
Since the job of a nurse or health care professional requires precision, it’s a good idea to keep books and informational materials on hand so you can consult them whenever. For instance, a must-have clinical reference guide is the Monthly Index of Medical Specialities (MIMS). This particular guide is a compilation of essential information on prescription and generic drugs.
Additionally, you can also bookmark educational websites like Clipboard Academy on your phone. This is a great way to conveniently boost your nursing knowledge even when you are on the go.
A thermometer is one of the nursing tools you will use every day as you observe your patients. After all, body temperature is an important benchmark of your patients’ health condition.
Body temperature is considered one of the four main vital signs you need to monitor on a regular basis. It’s important for you to have a high-quality thermometer that will measure your patients’ temperature speedily and accurately.
While you have the option to use classic oral or rectal thermometers, it is worth considering using no-touch forehead or ear digital thermometers to minimize the risk of spreading diseases among patients.
You need a trusty, dependable watch that can help you fulfill your nursing duties. After all, some of your daily tasks as a nurse or a health care worker require meticulous timing, such as monitoring vital signs or giving medications to your patients.
You can choose an analog watch with a seconds hand or a digital watch that displays the seconds. No matter what style of watch you wear, what’s important is that your timepiece measures, not just the hours or minutes, but also the seconds on the dot.
Another factor to consider when selecting a watch is durability. Since nursing can be action-packed, it’s a good idea to find a watch that is sturdy and water-resistant so it can withstand the challenges of your job.
6. Bandage Scissors & Medical Tape
Bandage scissors and medical tape might seem like simple, humble items when compared to other nursing tools and medical equipment. However, you are likely to use them often in your day-to-day routine as a nurse or health care professional.
Make sure that you always have an available pair of bandage scissors and ample medical tape. That way, you will always be ready to dress and bandage wounds when the situation calls for it. To save time and effort at work, you should select bandage scissors with sharp blades that will allow you to quickly and smoothly cut gauze, cloth, bandages, and medical tape.
Your job as a nurse or a health care professional will usually require you to be on your feet for many hours at a time. That’s why you need shoes that will provide your feet with support and protection as you fulfill your nursing duties.
Choose footwear that is designed to keep your feet comfortable throughout your shifts, whether through arch and heel support, extra ventilation, or other special features. It’s also a bonus if the shoes have additional safety features, such as skid-resistant soles or liquid-repellent surfaces.
You can discover the right shoes for you by reading our post on the best four types of shoes for nurses.
8. Nursing Clipboard
Last but not least, you should have a nursing clipboard that lets you record and access patient information easily. While your hospital or facility will probably provide you with a basic clipboard, you might find it more convenient to work if you have your own personal clipboard that meets your needs and preferences.
Nursing clipboards come in various sizes and colors and are made out of different materials. Some models come with extra features, such as printed medical references, assessment charts, timers, alarm clocks, calculators, and storage spaces. You can choose the nursing clipboard that will allow you to organize medical charts, documents, and patient files more efficiently.
Prepare for Your New Career By Preparing Your Nursing Tools
Whether you are a new Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Nurse Practitioner (NP), or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), nursing tools will help you survive and thrive in the medical battlefield.
Get ready to kickstart your career by preparing essential tools like a stethoscope, your own stash of PPE, some books and reference materials, a thermometer, a watch, sharp bandage scissors, and some medical tape, shoes, and a personal clipboard.
Speaking of clipboards, there is a one-of-a-kind online clipboard that can help you in your career as a nurse or health care professional: Clipboard Health. After you have finally finished building up your arsenal of nursing tools, sign up with Clipboard Health so you can find per diem and contracting jobs in the health care field, and finally get into action.