Here’s a list of my favorite essentials for nursing. Scrubs, shoes, my lunch bag and anything else that might help me do my job.
3M Littmann Master Classic II Stethoscope
Every nurse needs his/her ears. These are mine. I have had this stethoscope since nursing school, and well, that was a long time ago. I only just replaced the ear buds last year. I like this model because I don’t have to try to remember which side I’m supposed to listen to for what. Ain’t nobody got time for that! With this lovely model, you just vary the pressure applied to the bell to listen for different depths of sounds. Pretty nifty.
Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pen
These are the pens dreams are made of. First off, where are all the pharmaceutical pens of yore? I mean, I used to be able to find those things everywhere. And they were all my favorite pens. All those brightly colored barrels, with their clicky action. Sigh. I would casually “borrow” them at the doctor’s office, or go rifling through the drawers when I was waiting forever to be seen. I may or may not have a problem with pens. But since I can’t seem to “find” drug pens anymore, these have become my writing utensil of choice. That super fine tip, with that crisp black ink. Yeah, I’ve found a suitable replacement. Just be careful with these guys. They like to “click themselves” and get ink all over your pockets/pants. I tried to talk to them about doing that, especially in public, but it still happens from time to time.
Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband
I list this under “Essentials” because I think that nurses should take care of themselves. What better way than to keep track of how much you walk each day. The wristband will also vibrate, giving you tactile feedback when you hit your 10,000 steps (about 5 miles). If you have a smartphone, there is an app that you can interact with, and even track your food and water intake, your weight, and log in other exercise. The feature I like best is the sleep tracker. You put your fitbit to sleep when you go to bed, and wake it up with you in the morning. It tracks how much you move around, determining your “restlessness”, as well as how long you slept. I average around 6 hours of sleep on the nights before I go to work, and about 9 hours on my days off. There are also other options for wearing it, like a clip, in case you don’t like or can’t wear a bracelet to work.
Stanley Classic 16oz Vacuum Tumbler
Are you one of those nurses who *might* get to drink her coffee by lunchtime? Or maybe you just had one of those days? I am here to tell you that this is the coffee cup KING. (And it happens to be my wife’s). This tumbler keeps your coffee piping hot for HOURS. Not even kidding. I am a loyal Starbucks coffee tumbler addict, with their cute prints, but that $h!t doesn’t keep your coffee hot. Maybe luke warm. I’m over it. I’m getting one of these for my own so my wife doesn’t have to hear me complain about my new coffee cups sucking.
Nalgene On The Fly Water Bottle
This bottle is even better that my wide mouth Nalgene. Gotta (try to) stay hydrated at work. I bring my water bottle, along with my coffee tumbler to work every. single. day. This bottle has a quick latch top, so the drink police won’t have a fit. Yes, please make me walk to a break room way down the hall so I can take a quick sip of my drink, while my patient may or may not be coding. So ridiculous. Who even did that research? Anyways, this bottle is legit, and pretty to look at, so even when you don’t get a break all day, you can still carry a pretty looking bottle and save the environment at the same time.
Then there’s this guy. A different variety of the reusable water bottle, but with a little shaker/mixer thing in there. This is great for all those protein shakes you always intend to drink. Makes it a little more convenient because there are less dishes to wash, and saves you time because you don’t have to fire up the blender. AND you get an arm workout. So many benefits to this little guy.
And if you prefer not to work your arms out with a shaker bottle, or a shake weight, then there’s the most deluxe blender available. The Vitamix. I imagine a heavenly light coming down to illuminate it, with soft oohs & ahhhs with harp music in the background. This is the blender to blend up all other blenders. Seriously, this is one tough motherfudger. I follow a paleo lifestyle, and this thing helps me make my own almond milk, amazing fresh tomato sauce, and crazy smoothie concoctions with all kinds of whole fruits and veggies. We have brought this to every travel nursing assignment we’ve had to date. Even to NYC (carried it on and was definitely checked at security)!
This is one of my FAVORITE things in my nursing arsenal. Mine is navy with big multi-colored dots on it, and I literally get compliments on it every assignment! I am that nurses who brings her lunch to work EVERY DAY. First, it saves money. Second, I can avoid those impulse decisions in the cafeteria. Third, this bag is big enough to fit multiple food storage containers (because really, how do I know what I’m going to feel like eating?). Fourth, it is machine washable! I just throw it in with my scrubs when it needs to be washed, and hang to dry. And it’s lasted me over 3 years at this point. I can’t tell you enough how much I love this bag.
Grey’s Anatomy Women’s Junior Fit 3 Pocket Mock Wrap Scrub Top
I am one of those nurses who HAS to have a 2 pocket scrub top. I put ALL THE THINGS in my pockets. This fits the bill, and is super soft and comfy. I would say that this brand tends to run a little on the smaller side (or “junior” fit as they like to call it). So instead of a small, I order a medium. Maybe I should have a smaller lunch bag….? Anyways, these scrubs are sturdy, wash well, and are fitted enough to define your figure a bit, if you like that sort of thing. If not, order an even larger size 🙂
Grey’s Anatomy Women’s Junior Fit 5 Pocket Drawstring Scrub Pant
I love, love, LOVE my Grey’s Anatomy scrubs. I’m 5’10”, and they offer TALL pants (regular and petite too), and they are long enough. No flood pants here. They are super soft, don’t fade, and don’t wrinkle. A big plus, because I hate ironing. I can’t believe people actually iron their scrubs. I’m the one who waits for the dryer and pulls my scrubs out first to avoid ironing, it’s that much of an aversion. Anyways, soft pants that are long enough and don’t shrink. They do have a drawstring, but I feel like it’s more for looks. The elastic is enough that the pants won’t fall down if I forget to tie it. I’m sold.
Landau Women’s Womens 4 Pocket V-Neck Scrub Top
This is where things get weird. Just kidding. You know how if you try to match scrub colors between scrub companies, they never match?? Well, just so happens that these Landau tops match perfectly with the Urbane bottoms below (at least in the “wine” color I had to buy for my staff job way back when). Like I mentioned before, I need to have at least 2 pockets at my waist, and what’s better than 2 pockets??? Obviously, 4 pockets are better. Again, this top is quite durable and didn’t seem to fade too much after a million washings.
Urbane Scrubs Women’s Relaxed Drawstring Pant
Urbane scrubs are my other go-to brand for pants. These are the simplest pants that probably cost all of about $1 to make, but I will gladly pay $20 for these pants. They come in every color of the rainbow, and are probably more comfy than my Grey’s Anatomy pants. These have a drawstring, so if you don’t like messing with that when your bladder is 110% full, then pass on these. They have one butt pocket, and also come in a wide range of sizes and lengths (HOORAY for tall pants!!).
Timberland PRO Women’s Renova Clog
Being tall, I also have pretty large feet. I’m rocking a US Women’s 11. And no matter how many times I tried Dansko’s, I could never get used to feeling like I was wearing wooden clogs. I mean, I may actually be Dutch, but, just, no. So these Timberland’s are quite comfy. They have a little air bed in them like some other shoes I’ve seen. They are solid leather, so no gross stuff gets on your socks, and wipe clean easily. My only complaint is that I actually could have used a 10.5, and once you get into the bigfoot sizes, for some reason, companies just figure you don’t need to make those. My feet didn’t hurt after my 12 hour shifts, so there’s that. And that is probably the best thing about these shoes.
Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Insoles
If you have a pair of not quite perfect work shoes, i.e., your feet hurt before, after, or during your shift, you could always try these insoles. When I arrived in NYC, let’s just say I wasn’t used to walking 5+ miles/day. How do I know how much I was walking, well I got a Fitbit. I used to think I walked a lot at work, and I’m sure I did, but not compared to living in NYC. So, because I wasn’t used to walking everywhere, my feet were hurting, A LOT. So I tried some of these puppies out, and, well my feet felt better. I don’t know if it was because I was getting used to walking more, or if it was the insoles, but I’m going to say it was the insoles. They don’t cost much, and you can put them into a different pair of shoes too!
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