If you’re a seasoned nurse, you may be wondering: How can I be more efficient at my job? Have I really found the best pair of shoes?

And if you’re a nursing student, you may be thinking: Can I get away with a cheap stethoscope? How do I shop for my first real set of scrubs?

Get the tips, tricks and secrets from fellow nurses about tried-and-true gear picks and how to keep everything organized (and not just in your pockets!).

1. Stethoscope

The need for a good stethoscope goes without saying. But does a nurse really need a top-of-the-line stethoscope?

Answer: Nurses agree that if you have some extra bucks to spend, a great stethoscope is a must! So which one is the best? First of all, as nurse Sean Dent puts it, you’re better off avoiding those “Playskool” stethoscopes they try to sell you in nursing school. Be sure your stethoscope is specific to the site you’re working on. The most popular pair for hearing those irregular heartbeats and murmurs, according to Scrubs readers, is the Littman Cardiology III stethoscope. Nurses love this lightweight, high-quality gear with soft, form-fitting ear pieces.

2. Roll of tape

You won’t want to go out onto the floor without this basic item in your pocket.

Tip: “That roll of tape will fit wonderfully on the end of your LP ears while helping to keep it from sliding around your neck. Tape balances the weight of your scope,” says Betty, RN.

3. Retractable badge holder

You’ll save precious minutes with these handy badge holders that are the perfect answer for easy, efficient swiping into locked door entries and time clocks.

Tip: When you’ve inevitably run out of pockets, try clipping a couple of badge holders to your hip, suggests Nurse Elaine. Use one to hold your shears and another for your stats. “No fumbling through pockets with clean gloves…they’re just right there,” Nurse Elaine says, “and the cord has never been too short for any task (other than loaning them to the peer who forgot theirs!).”

4. Nose savers

When was the last time you saw a C. diff patient and thought your nose would positively fall off? Nurse Maureen suggests Halls cough drops to combat those icky smells. Or try one of these other “nose saver” products recommended by nurses—just smear it under your nose two seconds before you enter the patient’s room:
  • Mentholatum (get a jar that’s small enough to fit in your pocket)
  • Vicks VapoRub
  • Peppermint oil

5. Pens

A pen is not just a pen—not to nurses! The next time you’re shopping at an office supply store, don’t get seduced by those fancy expensive pens that run out of ink in three weeks. The expert scout knows the perfect pen has these five nurse-friendly features:
  • Writes nicely at an angle
  • Doesn’t smear
  • Doesn’t leak
  • Has a cushioned grip or is a “fat” pen
  • Comes in multiple colors including black, blue, red and green
  • Top it off with a good highlighter and you’re ready to hit those charts!

6. Shoes

When shopping for nursing shoes, you can easily become overwhelmed with the options: walking/running shoes, dedicated nursing shoes, Crocs, Birks, dishwasher-friendly clogs. The list goes on and on.

The best advice we’ve heard for any nurse in the market for a new pair of nursing shoes? Try out different brands to find the best fit for your feet. It’s absolutely normal to try on a dozen different pairs of shoes. When you find the right ones, you’ll know, because they’ll have these three key features:

  • They’re comfortable and supportive for up to 12 hours.
  • They have plenty of breathing room.
  • They can withstand the wear and tear of your daily duties.

More shoe tips:

  • Shorter nurses may want to consider shoes with a thicker sole. The height of the shoe will help you reach those taller shelves in the supply room.
  • Found the perfect fit but need more support? Try a gel insole to add extra cushion.
  • The soles are key to a good day on your feet: Make sure they’re breathable and slip resistant.
  • If you have varicose veins, try a pair of quality lace-up shoes paired with support hose.
  • When to break up with your shoes and find a better pair: Pain in your feet, ankles, knees and/or back simply won’t do. The greatest investment you have as a nurse is your own health!

Bottom line:

The perfect nursing shoe will have you echoing Nurse Elaine’s comment about her shoes: “Those babies can carry me through the craziest shift every time.”

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    Elizabeth McMichael Clinical Operations Coordinator
    Coastal Kids Dental and Braces
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