Whether you are a nurse or a nurse in training, you are likely a well-organized individual. It comes with the territory. It is important to have routines. One routine that is well worth having is a designated nursing bag that you can easily grab on your way out the door without thinking twice about its contents. I have been asked time and again by my coworkers what exactly is in my work bag. I thought, why not share with you? The following are just a few of my own personal essentials.
This is a given, but how many of you run around frantically searching for your badge when you are already running behind? Keep your badge safe and sound in your nursing bag. Designate a pocket in your bag so that you avoid searching for it. It is always in the same place. It has a home.
If you are working in the hospital, you probably are prone to dry lips, dry skin. Prevention is key. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Try to choose the lip balms that are organic and contain natural ingredients like beeswax, evening primrose, or shea butter. Avoid products containing petroleum.
If you are a good nurse and wash your hands properly, you will likely develop dry hands after even one shift. Having a travel size tube of lotion in your bag will help prevent dry, cracking hands. Like lip balm, try to choose your lotions carefully. Read the label and do your research before buying.
Staying hydrated is essential for wellbeing. Keeping a reusable water bottle in your bag leaves no excuse for dehydration. While drinking plenty of water leads to more bathroom breaks, it wards off the tired, sluggish, headachy feeling that accompanies dehydration.
Tea is essential for me to have a successful shift. Perhaps coffee is your thing? Keep a small container of your favorite in your bag at all times. Not only will you save time, you will save money. One cup of tea or coffee from your favorite baristas can cost upwards of $4 or more.
Keep fruit and nuts in your bag. My favorites include pistachios, bananas, and dried apricots. They provide quick protein and carbohydrates that hold me through the shift. They will carry you through a long shift and provide a constant flow of glucose for critical thinking.
Sugar Free Gum
A piece of gum can curb an appetite when there is no time to satisfy it. I have found that it is a little pick me up right around 4 am when I am most tired. Stick to the sugar free gums to protect your teeth.
I have a quick reference notebook that I keep with me at all times. It has anything from unusual lab values to a list of unit routines or a list of the many passwords needed when navigating the EMR.
Having all your needs met during your shift can contribute to a more successful shift. It starts with being prepared. Keeping your bag full of your essentials will save you time, money, and the headache.
Lori is a travel nurse that has made her way to Sweden. She is also a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher. Follow her adventures working and traveling through Europe in her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.