DiversityNursing Blog

14 Items That New Nurses Should Have in Their Bag

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 29, 2014 @ 01:22 PM

By Rena Gapasin

new nursing grad bag.jpg

If you are a nursing student or new nurse, you are probably wondering what you will need in your work bag. Aside from your personal stuff, what are the things you bring that signifies you are a nurse?

These nursing supplies listed below are a must if you want to do your job efficiently.

The most common supplies nurses have in their bags are:

  1. Stethoscope

    This is one of the most important tools of the trade. Nurses use this tool to listen to things such as the heart, veins, and intestines to make sure proper function. According to Best Stethoscope Reviews, here are the 6 best stethoscopes to buy. As you surely know, it's one of the most important tools for a patient's assessment.

    One of today's leading stethoscope brands is Littmann. You can choose from the classic style to the most advanced kind.

  2. Books

    A handy reference listing down common medicines and conditions. MIMS provides information on prescription and generic drugs, clinical guidelines, and patient advice. Nurses can also use Swearingen's Manual of Medical-Surgical Nursing, a complete guide to providing optimal patient care.

  3. Scissors and Micropore Medical Tape

    Bandage scissors are used for cutting medical gauze, dressings, bandages and others. Nurses need to have these in their pockets for emergency use, especially for wound care. Micropore tape is also important and should be readily available, for example, when your patient accidentally pulls his/her IV.

  4. Lotion and Hand Sanitizer

    Nurses never forget to wash their hands several times throughout the day, leaving their skin dry. That's why having lotion in their bags is important to keep the skin in good condition. Meanwhile, the sanitizer helps nurses steer clear of germs, along with other contagious agents.

  5. Six saline flushes

  6. Retractable pens

  7. Sanitary items - gauze, sterilized mask and gloves, cotton balls

  8. OTC pharmacy items (cold medicines, ibuprofen and other emergency meds)

  9. Small notebook - for taking notes from doctors and observations of your patients.

  10. Thermometer

  11. Tongue depressor

  12. Torniquet

  13. BP apparatus

  14. Watch with seconds hand

On Nurse Nacole’s website, she shares that she carries a drug handbook, intravenous medications, makeup mirror, tape measure, towel, lotion, wipes, 4 in 1 pen and a homemade cheat sheet for her patients.

Also, in MissDMakeup's What's In My Work Bag Youtube video, she has a box of batteries, tapes, a pack of gum, toothbrush, sanitizer, coupons, snacks, umbrella, stethoscope, pens, folder of her report sheet and information sheet, tampons, charger, name tag, ID, makeup bag, eye drops, lotion, hair clips, highlighter, pen light, and journal.

So, What's in My Bag?

In my bag, I have a 4-in-1 pen, a highlighter, IDs, bandage, journal to write some new information when I surf the net, my phone with medical e-books and medical dictionary in it, and other stuff like alcohol, sanitizer, over-the-counter meds (such as paracetamol, cold medicine, pain killers, multivitamins), eye drops, handkerchiefs, floss, toothbrush, nail file, band aids, and food.

Aside from my knowledge in providing quality patient care, I also bring things that can help me get through my shift. In an effort to make things more compact and easy for a nurse to get access to, most common nursing supplies are available in a portable kit. The size and styles are developing as new ways of making a nurse's shift easier.

These are just few of the essential nursing paraphernalia that a new nurse needs. 

What's in your bag that you can’t live without?

Source: nurse together

Topics: student nurse, nursing student, work, job, nurse bag, supplies, nursing, healthcare, nurses

Inspiring: Nursing Student Finds Sweet Anonymous Note of Encouragement in Textbook

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Nov 20, 2013 @ 12:36 PM

By 

Courtesy Reddit

Nursing is often ranked among America’s most stressful careers, thanks to the job’s notorious long hours, physical exhaustion, and emotional toll. So when a nursing student in South Burlington, Vermont, found a veteran nurse’s touching, anonymous note of encouragement—along with a $10 Starbucks gift card—tucked inside a licensing exam study guide at Barnes and Noble, she felt moved to share it online.

“I’m assuming that if you’re thumbing through an NCLEX book that you’re probably nearing the end of nursing school,” the note, which was posted to social news site Reddit and has gone viral, begins. “I want to start by saying that you should be so proud of yourself! You’ve worked so hard to get here, and I promise you, it’s so worth it. I’ve been a nurse for 12 years and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Courtesy Reddit

The handwritten letter included some thoughtful advice about how to deal with the stresses of a nursing career. “I want to let you know that the first year or two out of school is the hardest. But don’t give up and remember why you decided to become a nurse in the first place,” the note reads. “Be patient, and don’t beat yourself up. Don’t take things personally and when you’ve had a difficult situation, try to leave work at work.”

The note continues: “Two more very important things to remember are 1, be proud to be a nurse, and 2, believe in yourself. Also trust your instincts—they’re usually right!”

Courtesy Reddit

The letter ended with a pre-exam pep talk—along with the Starbucks gift card. “So grab some coffee and study for the NCLEX. I’m certain you’ll do fine,” the note says. “You’re going to be a great nurse! Remember, be proud and believe in yourself! You can do it!”

The note is signed: “XOXOXO, another nurse.”

describe the image

Amazingly, although the moving gesture was anonymous, the letter-writer and the student who found it connected online. “My wife put that letter in the book. South Burlington VT, right?” Reddit user TreeBore posted.

“YES!!! South Burlington VT!!! That’s awesome,” the original poster replied. “It was an amazing find, tell your wife thank you and that it really has inspired a lot of people, including my girlfriend. She takes her test tomorrow!”

“We both wish your girlfriend all the luck in the world!” TreeBore responded. “She will do fantastic.”

Several other nurses chimed online to say how spot-on the letter was. “As a registered nurse, who is working a night shift as I type this, this letter is exactly correct,” one commenter said. “Prioritization and believing in yourself are key when becoming a new nurse. Don’t let intimidation affect you. You will be amazed how much you will grow from your first day on the job compared to a year later.”

Another commenter agreed: “I would never have gotten where I am now if it weren’t for adherence to the things she listed in the note.”

Source: Parade

Topics: nursing student, encouragement, anonymous, NCLEX, note

Day in the life of a UND nursing student

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Nov 01, 2013 @ 10:45 AM

By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald

She sets her alarm on weekdays for 5:30 a.m., and she jumps in the shower when it rings. She slips into her green nursing scrubs.

“I always listen to the 6 o’clock news,” says Amanda Lako, a third semester nursing student at UND.

From 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., on a typical day she’s in classes, sometimes at the Public Health Department at the Grand Forks County Office building, sometimes at the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines at UND and sometimes at Altru Hospital.

In her rush for class, she might bring a baggie with dry cereal in it to eat. “I’m terrible,” she said. She depends on coffee to keep her running. And there are times when she is so tired that she sets her alarm to ring in eight minutes. She gives herself a short, short nap.

The road to a degree as an RN, or registered nurse, is long and challenging.

Amanda Lako is one of 324 students in the undergraduate baccalaureate program at UND. Lako is a junior in her third of five semesters. Beyond that, there will be a semester of practical work in a hospital setting before she graduates in December 2014.

She is passionate about nursing.

“It is a calling,” she told me. “Once you start it you know if it is right for you. There has to be a big desire.”

For Lako, that desire began when she was growing up on a farm near Arthur, N.D. She was 4 when she started shadowing an aunt who was a nurse. She had other aunts who were nurses.

She was smitten with nursing. As a freshman at UND, she became a CAN, or certified nurse assistant. And, she said, “I loved each and every one of the residents I helped.”

Her work as a CNA taught her how to relate to patients. “It was amazing to work on the CNA float pool at Altru. I worked on every floor wearing my light baby blue scrubs,” she said.

Her class of 52 has five male students. And Lako thinks it is awesome for a man to go into the career. “It takes the kind of men who have the biggest hearts and are so kind and gentle.”

In Lako’s mind, nurses are selfless. She admires people who have been her mentors including her school nurse, her church leaders. And she said, “Certain people just push you. I was adopted and I think I learned to be selfless from my parents.”

She isn’t always that serious. She works away at the pages of papers she must keep on patients. And she gets supper around 7 to 8 p.m.

Then there are the times in the evenings when she sits around the kitchen table with four other nursing students. They live together.

“We laugh, we sing, we complain. I depend on them to lighten things up.” 

UND’s nursing program

UND offered non-degree courses of study for nurses beginning in 1909.

In 1949, the first baccalaureate program in nursing was established and a Division of Nursing was created at UND. The same year, the State Board of Higher Education authorized the creation of the College of Nursing as a unit on campus.

The baccalaureate program was fully accredited by the National League for Nursing in 1963 and has remained accredited since that time, according to information provided by Lucy Heintz, clinical assistant professor and director of the Office of Student Services.

In 2013, in addition to the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, the College of Nursing was joined by the Department of Social Work and the name was officially changed to the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines.

Currently, the Department of Nursing has 324 students in its undergraduate baccalaureate program. The graduate program with 269 enrolled offers two doctoral programs. Master of Science degrees are available.

The graduate program has an enrollment of 269.

Source: Grand Forks Herald

Topics: nursing student, higher education, UND, nursing

The Anatomy of a Nursing Student

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Aug 12, 2013 @ 12:35 PM

The Anatomy of a Nursing StudentSource: Nursing School Rankings

Topics: nursing student, funny, anatomy, lifestyle

The Single-most Important Question to Ask All RNs in an Interview

Posted by Wilson Nunnari

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 @ 08:03 PM

by Jennifer Mensik for ERE

Regardless of the interview style or methodology used, there is one question that everyone should ask of a registered nurse in an interview. This includes all positions, from staff RN to Chief Nursing Officer.

What is your definition of nursing?

This helps you to sort out whether you have a professional-role-based RN or one who might only be there for the paycheck. A professional-role-based RN is a nurse who understands the complexities of the profession and is committed to placing the patient first, as opposed to a tas- based RN who is there to just clock time and take home a paycheck. If your organization prefers behavioral-based questions, take that question to the next level as a two-part question by asking the RN candidate to give you an example of when they exemplified the definition they just gave you.
nurse
You might say, “Are not all RNs professionals?” One just needs to understand the components of a profession to know that there are RNs in the profession who are not professional. Let me explain by starting with the sort of definition you are looking for and then I will touch on the difference between a technical and professional RN.

The American Nurses Association defines nursing as “the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.” That is a long definition that many RNs will not be able to give you verbatim. However, the professional RN should be able to talk about and say things that are of a very similar nature. The responses between the professional and technical RN will be very different. Most times when I have asked this question, it has stumped many nurses, or was the one they needed the most time to think about before they were able to give their response.

The type of answers you want from a professional RN are statements or an explanation of caring, kindness, ethical, and wholistic care of the entire patient, an understanding that the RN is a professional who is accountable for themselves, and understands that they have a duty to society to place the patient first.

The technical, less desirable answer is when the RN describes their profession as a set of tasks, like medication administration, bathing, assessments, budgets, staffing, or worse yet, someone who assists the physician. While you might expect your RN candidate to do those things and to be competent in those areas, the professional RN understands that. It is a given that part of the professional responsibilities is to carry out tasks and orders, but it is in the manner in which they do it. The technical RN does not understand how to be professional, or worse yet, may not want to be a professional.

Can you teach a technical RN to be professional? I suppose, but only if they are open to it. This is not a simple task they can learn, but a way of being. A professional RN understands their role as a RN, their accountability to the patient and the family, their coworkers, and the organization, and will hold others to the highest standard of patient care.

This type of RN embodies what we want to see in our nurses, like Florence Nightingale. Florence could easily point out the technical nurse. Those who only work as a RN because it’s a good paying, stable job, and where you only have to work three 12-hour shifts; the one who does the minimum to maintain their employment and the minimum to maintain their own education, skills, and professional standards. It is those who do not say anything when another RN or staff member may be jeopardizing patient safety as it’s “not their responsibility” to hold others accountable. Professional RNs do hold each other accountable for quality and safe patient care.

Your next steps:

Recruiters: Have a discussion with your nurse executive on whether this is a question they would like to you ask. Talk with you nurse executive about their nursing philosophy for the organization and how they would like to see RN candidates answer that question.

Nurse managers: What is your philosophy about nursing? Can you articulate it and share with your recruiters so that the right candidates could be screened early in the process? Even if used in the early stages of recruitment,  still include this question in the onsite interview process with the candidate and yourself or the team. Ensure your team who maybe interviewing the RN candidate understands this question and the type of response you want.

As organizations struggle to improve quality measures and patient satisfaction, which type of RN do you want on your team? The professional RN will help your organization obtain success in these areas. If an RN can give you a professional-based answer for the definition of nursing, you are halfway there in choosing the right candidate for your patients and organization.

Topics: nursing student, nursing, nurses, career, nursing career

Nursing Student Brings the Joy of Music to Pediatric Patients

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Thu, Jan 03, 2013 @ 01:28 PM


When Mary Jo Holuba enters a child’s hospital room, it’s not uncommon for the child’s eyes to widen. After all, most nurses are dressed in scrubs, not princess dresses.

Not Holuba. She’s different. She’s a nursing student in the pediatric nurse practitioner program at Johns Hopkins University, but she’s also a classically trained soprano whose soaring voice can transport her listeners far beyond the sterile confines of a hospital or clinic.

In between classes and studying, Holuba dons the fanciful gowns of fairytale characters and performs for pediatric patients and their families. Sometimes she gives them a full-on presentation, complete with storytelling and grand gestures and songs. And sometimes, she sits next to a child, holds her hand, and quietly croons her to sleep. She takes her cues from the children.

Either way, she is grateful for the chance to use her gift to help sick children feel better. Even just for the length of a song.

“It’s a great thing to see my dream of fusing my passions--nursing and music--happen,” said Holuba, 23.

As a little girl in New Jersey, Holuba spent many hours visiting a young relative in the hospital, which gave her some natural comfort with the hospital environment. Later, as a teenager, she participated in high school and community theater, honing her performing skills. Remembering her own family’s experience, Holuba called up the local children’s hospital and asked if she could come entertain the children.

She had a calling.

When she was a sophomore in high school, her father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Over the years, he received treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, including three different stem cell transplants. As she observed his nurses at work, the idea of a possible career in nursing was first planted.

Holuba eventually went on to major in psychology at Columbia University, graduating in three years. Then she enrolled in the accelerated BSN program at Johns Hopkins. She even recorded a CD of beloved Christmas songs, at her father’s encouraging.

“He really loved it,” Holuba said. “He took full credit for it being his idea…We played it for him that last Christmas, and it was really great to see his smile while it was on.” She was privileged to spend some time with her father before he died in January 2012.

After returning to school, she finished her BSN during the summer and began her current master’s degree program.

In Baltimore, Holuba had discovered Dr. Bob’s Place, a palliative-care home for terminally ill infants and children. Ever since that discovery, she has committed herself to weekly visits. Even when she’s trying to juggle all the demands of her program, she always finds time to visit the children.

“I make the time for this as if it were a job,” she said. “It’s really important to me, and I know how much it means to the families. I’ve been that family member where the hours can’t pass quickly enough.”

She loves seeing the children respond to her costume and to the music. She always takes requests from the young patients. She’s equally enthusiastic about slightly off-key group renditions of “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as she is about the big Broadway-style numbers that she performs. And when children ask her to sing songs that she doesn’t know, she just encourages the children to teach them to her.

“It’s always fun to make music with them.”

She sees them as children who love music and singing and dancing, not just “sick kids.” “I think that’s a nice change for them,” she said.

With all of her experience, Holuba believes strongly in the value of good end-of-life care and palliative care. Many people don’t want to talk about death or dying, but she realizes it is part of the life process. She hopes to continue exploring her devotion to helping people at such a vulnerable time in their lives.

Her future will certainly include music, too. This spring, Holuba plans to begin visiting the pediatric patients at Johns Hopkins, in addition to Dr. Bob’s. She’ll also continue her course work, with her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner still in mind. She’s considering a future working with children with cancer in an outpatient setting.

“It’s really just about sharing the music and sharing the time,” she said.


Copyright © 2012. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Topics: nursing student, music, pediatric, nursing, children, hospital

Future nurses learn with smart dummies

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 @ 03:41 PM

November 24, 2012|By Kevin Duffy, Special to The Morning Call

"I need a nurse. I can't breathe! Send a nurse!"

Maria Gonzales is in distress, and her caregivers need to figure out what to do.

She is sitting upright in her hospital bed, knees bent toward her chest. Beside her, a team of nurses and technicians scan the bar-coded bracelet on her wrist, and Gonzales' patient history flashes across the computer screen beside the bed. They quickly assess its contents — she was admitted two days ago with an inflamed pancreas — and check to see if she is flagged from receiving any medications.

A nurse applies a pulse oximeter to Gonzales' index finger to monitor oxygen saturation. Her levels are low. They place an oxygen mask over her nose and mouth. They check the screen again.

She has a history of high cholesterol. The medical team notes the clinical signs: alert and responsive, but expressing pain. What to do?

Complicating matters, her heart rate is low.

From an adjacent monitoring room, an instructor observes the scene through one-way glass but makes no move to help. The nurses, actually students, are on their own. The scene isn't playing out at St. Luke's or Lehigh Valley Hospital, but in a nursing simulator on the campus of Northampton Community College.

And Maria Gonzales is really in no danger. This "46 year-old wife and mother of two" is a mannequin.

This mannequin, however, is a smart dummy. "Maria Gonzales," one of six mannequins recently purchased by NCC at a cost of $75,000, has a full personal profile and medical history available to the students online. Instructor Marie Everhart in this class provided Maria's voice by speaking into a microphone from the observation room, where she also can alter the mannequin's health status.

Maria also has speakers in her ears and a camera installed in her head. This allows the instructors to video the exercise and then debrief the students afterward, said Mary Jean Osborne, program director for the nursing lab.

Gonzales is equipped to simulate 30 scenarios, such as pancreatic inflammation, sickle cell anemia, fractures and allergic reactions to blood transfusions. Instructors can alter the sex of each smart dummy to practice gender-specific exercises.

The technology, which began in the aviation industry with dummy test pilots measuring G-force, goes back about a decade in nursing applications. Neighboring centers of learning such as Lehigh Valley Health Network have been using simulators for some time, but they are new to NCC.

Using a high-tech mannequin "allows us to standardize experiences we'd like each student to have so they have an opportunity to practice what their responses should be," said Mali Bartges, director of nursing practice at the college.

"And to use their reasoning skills — what should I do first?"

As the exercise continues, Maria says she is in extreme pain and her oxygen levels drop.

Everhart leans into the microphone again and coughs for Maria. She presses another button, and Gonzales begins to blink.

"They better call for help," Everhart says.

Ultimately the students do, and the exercise reaches its conclusion. Afterward, the students realize that a rapid response team should have been summoned once the patient's heart rate dropped.

Worrying about administering pain medication, they agreed, is secondary.

There's an obvious benefit to using mannequins for learning.

"When you're using a mannequin you never have to worry about anyone dying or getting hurt," said Joan Yankalunas, education specialist for the Division of Education at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

"You can't do CPR on a live person, but you can certainly do that on a mannequin," she said. "So in those situations, getting the practice helps the student know how they're going to react and what they need to do in an emergency situation. And it's a safe way to learn it."

Student Jennifer Lamont, one of Gonzales' nurses, said the exercise with the mannequin provided a valuable learning experience.

"We are the nurses," she said. "Their lives are in our hands."

Topics: mannequin, nursing student, technology, nurse

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