You’ve heard of Life Hacks? Well, here are 16 clever nurse hacks that will save your sanity on those really long shifts.
Nurse Hacks That Will Save Your Sanity
I have some life-changing nurse hacks that you’ll definitely use. You might not use all of them, but I bet you’ll find at least one or two that you love.
And these are more than just “get more sleep.” These hacks are smart ways I and my nurse friends have found to make our job so much easier.
#1 Saline for Mascara
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.
#2 Irrigate Your Eyes
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.
#3 Protect Your Scrubs
Isolation gowns are great for protecting your scrubs during messy meals.
#4 Use All The Gloves
Double or triple glove when heading into a serious code brown situation. Seriously, you can’t have too many gloves for this.
#5 Ask for A Save
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. I’ve used this once or twice, it’s a huge time-saver.
#6 Save Time on XRays
Patient getting a bedside central line and feeding tube placed? Wait and get both Xrays at the same time.
#7 Give Morning Meds Together
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 requests for the reason you’re giving them early.
Use nursing judgment though; some meds have purposefully scheduled that way (blood pressure meds or meds that must be given on an empty stomach or with meals).
#8 Coffee Grounds Absorb Odors
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.
#9 Soak the Dobhoff Tube
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.
#10 Use a Moist Washcloth to Find Veins
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!
#11 Arrange a Visit With a Therapy Dog
Super sad or grumpy patient? 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.
#12 Female Foley Hack
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.
#13 02 Stats Hack
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.
#14 Get A Manual Blood Pressure
Can’t get a blood pressure 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.
#15 Don’t Speak
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.
#16 Use Activity Aprons on Picky Patients
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.
more info on 5 lead ECG placement.
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.
More Nurse Life Reads
What’s next? How about one of these nurse life posts. I bet you’ll enjoy them too!
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