You’ve heard of Life Hacks? Well, here are my NURSE.HACKS.
- Put 1-2 drops of normal saline (from one of the hundreds of flushes you accidentally bring home) in your mascara that’s starting to dry out. That’ll moisten it up and make it last longer.
- Contacts hurting or dry at work? Grab a flush and irrigate your eye. It’s the same as your solution at home, minus some of the extra ingredients to clean the contacts overnight.
- Isolation gowns are great for protecting your scrubs during messy meals.
- Double or triple glove when heading into a serious code brown situation.
- If you have a really chatty patient or family member and are in a big time crunch because your other patients need you, ask someone to come in and grab you after ten minutes.
- Patient getting a bedside central line and feeding tube placed? Wait and get both xrays at the same time.
- 0700, 0800, and 0900 meds? Ask the patient if they normally take them together at home – if they do, give them all at the same time and chart patient request for the reason you’re giving them early. Use nursing judgment though; some meds are purposefully scheduled that way (blood pressure meds or meds that must be given on an empty stomach or with meals).
- Coffee grounds can absorb even the stinkiest of stinkies. Throw a bag of coffee grounds in one of those useless tiny emesis basins and set it in the room to be sneaky about your odor absorption.
- Soak your dobhoff tube in ice water for a few minutes before insertion; it stiffens it up and allows it to glide through their nasal passages easier.
- Can’t find a vein? Warm up a moist washcloth and set it on their skin for a few minutes. This can make veins pop better than a tourniquet!
- Super sad or grumpy pa3tient? Many hospitals have therapy dogs. See if the patient likes pups and arrange a surprise visit! You could even see if you can get a dog that is similar to one they may have at home.
- Can’t get a female foley? Have someone hold a pen light, aim high, and if you don’t get return just leave it in place and grab another and aim higher! If you’re worried you won’t get it, bring a few extra in the room before you start.
- O2 sat won’t pick up? Try the earlobes or toes! The neonatal O2 probes are awesome on adults. They stick better and are less bulky.
- Can’t get a blood pressue on a patient in afib with an elevated heart rate? Get a manual pressure. Uncontrolled afib is hard for those automatic cuffs to read properly and probably isn’t accurate anyway.
- Family and/or patient very emotional or upset and don’t know what to say? Your presence can speak louder than words. Just being there with a reassuring shoulder pat or taking really, really good care of their loved one will mean just as much, if not more, than saying the perfect thing.
- Confused patient picking at EVERYTHING? Activity aprons are a Godsend. Move the O2 probe to their foot. Put their ECG leads on their back (not for an extended period of time due to skin breakdown). Give them something to do, like fold washcloths.
What other NURSE.HACKS do you have to add to the list? Tweet me / pin / tumblr post some of your favorite nurse hacks with the #nursehacks hashtag! I’ll make an awesome master list to reference.