Some Things to Keep in Your Nurse’s Bag

October 17 / Posted by Christi Hintz

Your nurse’s bag is a place to keep your essentials for easy access at a moment’s notice. What you pack inside will vary depending on what department you work, what you find yourself needing most frequently, and what your personal preferences are. However, we think there are a few things that you should keep inside regardless of your circumstances.  If you’re putting together your nurse’s bag for the first time and want to get an idea of the things you’ll need in it, we’ve put together a list of a few good ideas.


1. Pens and Notebooks

Pens as in multiple. You’ll want to have plenty of back up writing utensils to make sure you have one on hand when you’re trying to fit in reporting between other tasks. Find a type of pen that you love and that won’t smudge on you and buy packages of them to keep in your bag. You will lose them, and you will have to replace them, as they seem to kind of get lost among the nursing staff.


We also recommend having a notebook to jot down notes. This will ensure that you remember everything you need to get done during busy shifts! A small pocket notebook will probably be the most convenient.


2. Food and Water

You’re not going to know how much time you’ll have for breaks and for lunch, so it’s a good idea to keep food and water close at hand so you can keep yourself full and hydrated. Keep your lunch in you bag as well as a few hearty snacks to keep your energy up. This could include things like granola bars, nuts, or fruit. A metal water bottle is a good choice for sanitary reasons, but whatever you choose, don’t forget to sanitize your water bottle regularly.


3. Pocket Medical Reference Book or Reference Cards

There will be plenty of times, especially early in your career, where you’ll need to reference certain values or infrequently used medical terms or information. It’s extremely handy to have a pocket medical reference guide in your bag so that you can quickly get the information you need when you’re unsure. If you’d like something a little simpler or something that takes up less room, you can purchase or make reference cards and laminate them instead.


4. Stethoscope

There are many medical tools you may need in your bag depending on what you do frequently, but a stethoscope is universal. Hospitals will have disposable stethoscopes available to you if you need one, but it’s better to have your own.


5. Scissors

You’ll need to open a lot of packages with everything from sterile equipment to bandages, so it’s nice to have some scissors on you so that you can open these packages quickly and effectively. Make sure that you’re keeping these scissors nice and clean between shifts.


What do you keep in your nurse’s bag? How have the contents of your nurse’s bag changed over the course of your career? Let us know in the comments.

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