hacks for new nurses

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1: Comfortable Footwear

As a nurse, your shift might range anywhere from 12 to 16 hours, which means you’ll be on your feet for most of the day. Invest in comfortable footwear, so you won’t be distracted by achy and sore feet. If you haven’t already heard, compression socks are a magical, must-have item in your nursing getup. They reduce pain and soreness.  Also, invest in some ergonomic shoes that are specifically designed for people who have to stand for long hours. Find ones that are slip-resistant and easy to clean too. Dankso and Alegria are a couple popular brands among nurses.

2: Stay Alert

Coffee can be your best friend when you need that extra pick-me-up to help you through the rest of your shift. There’s no shame in treating yourself to a few cups of coffee during your shift. Keep it under 4 cups of coffee or 4 shots of espresso, as that is the recommended amount. Alternatively, if you don’t like coffee, you could stash a few tea bags for days when you need an extra boost.

3: Pockets are Valuable Real Estate

It may seem silly to get excited at something as simple as pockets. From pens to trauma shears, and a stethoscope to alcohol wipes, diagnostic penlights, and more, there are so many little things you need to carry with you throughout the day. Your pockets will quickly become some of your most valuable real estate. You can purchase a pocket organizer to help keep everything neat, tidy, and easily accessible.

4: Mini Goodies

To preserve some of that valuable pocket real estate, some items can be clipped directly to your badge. “Mini” versions of flashlights, sharpies, and calculators can help save space as well. Make sure you buy the sharpies and pens that have clip or a split ring, so they can easily be fastened to your badge.

5: Build Rapport with Colleagues

Working as a nurse is a team effort. You’ll find that you often rely on and coordinate with your fellow nurses and interdisciplinary colleagues. Build rapport with all of your colleagues by communicating regularly and helping each other out. At the end of the day, effective teamwork will make your day go smoother and improve care for your patients.

6: Customize Your Brain Sheet

All nurses have their “brain sheet” (also referred to as a report sheet, flowchart, to-do list and others). Some nurses work off a standardized template or use their preceptors or colleagues as a starting point and modify it. These useful sheets are your tool to document information on your work-list, patient history, lab values, diagnosis and more. Your unit may provide a standardized brain sheet for you, but if not, you can find a lot of brain sheet templates online.

7: Sleep Well

For night-shift nurses, your hours might range from 11pm to 7am. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you are able to get good sleep during the day – at least 7 to 9 hours. If you don’t want to go the eye mask route, consider purchasing some blackout curtains for your bedroom. These will help you sleep better in the day by blocking out light. If the curtains alone aren’t doing the trick, you can even purchase a blackout curtain liner too.

8: Snack and Hydrate

At times it can be tough to take a formal break to eat a meal, let alone a healthy one. Keep a stash of high-protein, healthy snacks that you can quickly grab during shifts when you have a gurgling stomach but aren’t able to take a break right away. Energy bars and nuts are a couple of easy, quick snacks with long shelf lives. Also, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a high-quality, insulated water bottle like a Hydro Flask. These are ideal because they will keep your water cold for up to 24 hours. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your own health and well-being. Staying hydrated and eating a healthy, high-protein snack will give you energy and hold you over until your “break.”

9: Minimize Unpleasant Odors

Let’s face it, as a nurse, you will be exposed to some unpleasant odors. Surprisingly, there are few common household items that double as odor repellents, like toothpaste. A discreet method is to put some in between two masks to block unpleasant smells. Another common product that can be used is Vicks Vapor Rub. This can also be put on the inside of your mask.

10: Indulge in Massages

Nursing can be tough on your body and your mind. De-stress and decompress by indulging in the occasional massage. Heck! Make getting a massage as part of your weekly routine — you deserve it.

We hope these hacks revealed a few tips that will make your daily nurse life a little bit easier. Being a nurse can be an excited, dynamic, and rewarding career. Join our team at Eisenhower Health to jumpstart your five star nursing career and lifestyle.  Check out our open positions today!

Originally posted on 2/1/2019

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