With 5 years under my drawstrings, I’ll tell you everything I know.
-scissors. the bandage kind. I use mine every day.
-a hair tie. unless you have short hair, that is. It is a very rare occasion indeed when you see me with my hair down at work. Body fluids are everywhere- I don’t like to take the risk.
-a watch. Digital or analog, it doesn’t matter as long as it has a way for you to count seconds.
-a pen. You will need one. Or many. I usually have a black one and red one in my pocket and I constantly lose them, so I don’t get fancy ones. In fact, I just use the ones at work.
What to splurge on
–good shoes. You start these 12-hour days and you’re feet aren’t prepared for it. They WILL get used to it (eventually) but a good pair of shoes is vital. A large amount of nurses wear Danskos, but if you don’t like the clog feel/look, good tennis shoes are fine too (these shoes are my current favorite- worth every penny).
-scrubs. You want to look nice and you want to be comfortable. Buying scrubs after you graduate is basically a rite of passage. My first pair after school were purple, in case you were wondering.
What to save on
– a stethoscope. I used the same one from school for about 3 years after I graduated and it worked fine. It was only when I lost it that I upgraded to my Littmann Cardiology III and thereafter enjoyed the ‘lub-dub’ of a beating heart in surround sound! It’s NICE to have a fancy stethoscope, but you don’t need it.
What you DON’T need
-a drug book. Sell it. With most hospitals having computers in every patient’s room and many nurses having smartphones, looking up drugs has never been easier! For my hospital, the computer charting system will link a medication with a reference text that will tell me all I need to know about unfamiliar drugs. Our hospital website is linked to a pharmacy website that can again, tell us what a drug is for AND tell us IV drug compatibilities (it does other things too, but that’s what I use it for). If you have the resources, ditch the book.
-EKG calipers. I actually had a student in my class who owned a set of these! They come in handy when you’re getting in-depth with an EKG, but they aren’t essential. The heart rhythm strips I print off at work come with a computerized caliper for me to measure waveforms.
And when in doubt, ASK! Ask the other nurses at work or ask us here online! We love new nurses and we want you to have a smooth transition from new-grad to nurse.