There aren’t many people who are busier—or who have more responsibility—than a nurse. From hospitals to home care and everything in between, you’re on the front lines with your patients. Working hard is just part of the job, but there are some quick and clever tips to make your day (or night!) go smoother. Try some of these:
- Save time on your documentation: If you’re using a computer or tablet to document your notes, keep a word document with common phrases handy so you can quickly copy and paste those terms. It’ll save you from re-keying phrases that you often use.
- Keep track of pesky socks: When removing one sock from your patient to check a wound or perform a procedure, put the removed sock over the other sock on the other foot. This trick will help keep you from losing a patient’s sock.
- Remove dried blood on clothing: If you have noticed blood has hit your favorite scrub top, don't worry. Once you get home, simply wet your scrubs, apply hydrogen peroxide to it and it should wash right out. Extra tip: Before wearing new scrubs for first time, wash on cold with ½ C vinegar. It’ll set the color and won’t run.
- Keep your car organized: Buy a car desk or other type of car organizer to keep all your paperwork and necessary items from falling on the floor or between the seats. It’s a great place to also store a water bottle, hand sanitizer, and gloves.
- Make IV insertion smoother: When starting an IV line, it helps to put a warm washcloth over the insertion site. This will help dilate blood vessels so you can pick a good vein for an IV line. Your patients will appreciate it.
- Keep your stethoscope clean: Simply place a thin latex glove over it. You can still hear with it, but it can help prevent infection and the transfer of germs between patients. Also, no patient likes cold metal on their warm skin, so warm the stethoscope by rubbing your hands together to form heat and then cup your chestpiece.
These nurse-tested tips may not turn your 12-hour shift into a vacation, but they can make it go a little bit smoother. Try some!