Nursing has always been as tough as it is rewarding, and right now is an especially stressful time to be a healthcare worker. While you’re focused on caring for your patients, you also need to take care of yourself. We asked several nurses and travel nurses who follow our social media channels what they can’t live without when they’re on the clock, and they shared with us their tips for how to make life as a nurse easier.
Here are eight things that can help make life just a tiny bit better while you’re out there helping patients.
1. Scrubs with pockets
Laura, an ICU nurse, says that “scrub pants with lots of pockets” are a necessity for holding all the things she needs to keep track of. @rachbres_ could probably use some pockets as well, since her top things to have as a nurse are chapstick and a holder for her badge.
In case you end up with so many pockets you’re not sure what to do with them, here’s a handy guide for what to put where.
2. Beverage of choice
Some nurses, like @jennback_rn, like their coffee, while others choose soda, but they all have one thing in common: caffeine. Brenda, a women’s clinic nurse, prefers Diet Dr. Pepper, while Brian, a flight nurse, can’t live without his Diet Coke.
3. Water bottle
This is a popular item, and as @no_ellegance says, “We love a hydrated nurse!” @nomreb10 also recommends one as her top nurse item. Paige, an ICU nurse, prefers a Yeti mug with a lid so her Dr. Pepper stays cold. (Remember what we said about caffeine?)
4. Compression socks
When you’re on your feet all day, compression socks are a must. Not only do they prevent fluid from pooling in your legs, but they can also help reduce fatigue and overall swelling. Both @pawla68 and Whitney, an oncology nurse, recommend them. And while you’re at it, why not make them fun? We love the colorful options available at Allheart.com and A-Swift.
5. Extra pen (or three)
Laura, an ICU nurse, says her top tip is to stock up on pens, “for when you inevitably get asked by 5 people during the day to borrow one and they don’t return it.” @the_roaming_nurse agrees that having at least one pen is crucial for getting through the shift.
6. A good watch
When you’re running from room to room, it can be hard to keep track of the time. Instead of constantly pulling out your phone – which can be unsanitary as well as a hassle – Rachel, a cardiac nurse, recommends always having a good watch. Here are some great watches for nurses if you’re in the market for a new one.
7. A pharmacy app
It’s impossible to know everything about every medication, so a good pharmacy app is a must-have to check for drug interactions and other information on the fly. Marianne, a peds nurse, recommends the Epocrates and Lexicomp apps.
And if you need something fun after your shift, check out these entertaining Instagram accounts for nurses. Get ready for more nursing memes than you ever knew existed, like this one from @nursesofinstagram:
8. Comfortable shoes
Ashley, a forensic nurse, lists a good pair of shoes as her top pick for how to make life as a nurse easier. But which brand is best? Julie, a registered nurse, says she loves her FILAs. For more nurse recommendations for the best shoes for nurses, check out these nurse shoe reviews.
In addition to these physical nurse must-haves, your mental health is important too! Try implementing some of these stress-relief tips every day to make sure you’re taking care of yourself — so you can keep taking care of others.
What essential item makes your life as a nurse easier? Share in the comments below.