Tools make nurses better. Be it a great stethoscope, trauma shears that can cut through pennies or great people, awesome nurse tools make great nurses better.
I have been nursing for 6 years. In that time, I have learned more than I ever thought possible. A lot has also been forgotten. I have worked in the Emergency Department, Surgery, the Cardiac Cath Lab, and most recently in Oncology. In that time there have been a bunch of different tools.
The most important thing I have learned is the tools you have can make you a much better nurse.
I have compiled a list of those most trusted by me and my coworkers to help us save lives.
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here is my list of awesome nurse tools
1. A GOOD STETHOSCOPE
Anyone who has ever tried to listen to lung or bowel sounds knows YOU CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING USING A CHEAP STETHOSCOPE. I had a moderately-priced stethoscope that I bought myself straight out of nursing school. It lasted 5 years before the tubing split and I had to buy a new one.
I bought a Littman Classic 3 and HOLY COW!!! It’s like I was hearing lung sounds for the first time. I heard lung sounds I know my old stethoscope would have never helped me hear. 2 years later, I still have it and it’s still amazing.
I have several friends that also recommend the Littman Cardiology stethoscopes as well. I have borrowed them before and they are also amazing. They are a little pricier but they are durable as can be and last for forever.
2. GOOD TRAUMA SHEARS (aka Nurse Scissors)
I, being the incredibly frugal (cheap) person that I am, I never paid for trauma shears (scissors for nurses). The awesome people at Air Evac air medical service gave them out all the time.
For the last 7 years, I have been through a million pairs of them. They would dull or get lost or be thrown away after being in contact with more than questionable circumstances.
However, I have used other people’s trauma shears on occasion (like when mine end up in any of the aforementioned places). Good trauma shears are AMAZING, and any nurse would be proud to have them.
There is one that I can recommend because they were recommended to me by some amazing people (Code Name Beatrix Kiddo, Code Name Vampire and Code Name Paramedic Badass).
Those are Leatherman Raptor Shears.
They have an oxygen tank wrench, strap and ring cutters, and a carbide glass breaker. WAY MORE THAN JUST SCISSORS. They may cost a bit more than the free ones I’m used to having, but all 3 of my highly trusted sources won’t ever use any other.
Lastly, they come with a 25 year warranty. Can’t beat that.
3. A GOOD PENLIGHT
Nurses use penlights all the time. Pupillary response is important. Wound assessment is important. Checking chest tubes in the middle of the night is important.
The Coast G19 LED penlight is the one most recommended by my friends. It has an adjustable clip, is water and impact resistant and is lightweight. It’s also only 4 inches long. Lastly, it takes one AAA battery.Click here to get the Coast penlight
4. GOOD WRITING UTENSILS
Pens are a COVETED ITEM to most nurses. We have them when we get to work, we lose them, we set them down, we give them to patients, we let other people borrow them, they run out of ink, they just randomly quit working, and we go home with none of the pens we came with and 4 pens that aren’t ours.
That being the case, the Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens are some of the best. They write well, dry fast and are cheap, so you don’t have to worry too much about them being lost/ set down/ given away/ thrown away/ borrowed with or without permission.Get your Paper Mate InkJoy pens by clicking here
5. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING A NURSE CAN HAVE…
The last thing I have to suggest to both the newly graduated nurse and the experienced one isn’t something you will find in Amazon. You can’t buy it, but it is an invaluable resource.
GOOD FRIENDS THAT YOU WORK WITH.
Having recently left my long-time profession as an ER nurse and now having a new group of coworkers, I cannot tell you how important this is. It’s important to have people at work that you can ask questions to, vent to and maybe drink the occasional drink outside of work with.
Everyone needs someone that they trust. You need to have somewhere to go with the things you see, the questions you have and the problems you will undoubtedly face. Even though I am no longer an ER nurse, I still have the friends that I made while saving lives. They are some of the grandest people I know, and some of the most intelligent. I also have made new friends at my new job. They have been the ones to make sure I don’t kill anyone or drown. They have never made me feel bad for a question I have asked and they have accepted me as I am (even if they didn’t know who I really was until recently 🙂 )
So there it is. My list of the best tools for the new or experienced nurse. Let me know what you think, or if you have a product that you couldn’t nurse without.