Today's nurses are often equipped with the biggest, newest and latest technological equipment to perform their jobs, but they also rely on standard equipment and tools that have been around for decades. Depending on location, specialty and facility, nurses around the world are best able to perform their duties with a handful of tools that are easily carried in a pocket, on a cart or at a nurse's station. Understanding the basic equipment or tools of the trade for a nurse takes some of the mystery out of their job functions and enables patients to help their nurses monitor their progress in inpatient and outpatient settings.
One of the most common and visible tools of the nursing trade is the stethoscope. The stethoscope is a versatile piece of equipment that's used to check heart and lung sounds, as well as bowel and other organ sounds.
Thermometers come in all shapes and sizes. There are oral and rectal thermometers and tympanic thermometers, which are now commonly used in hospitals around the world. The tympanic thermometer is accurate in about 2 seconds, which saves nurses time and offers a noninvasive way to get a temperature from patients of any age. With probe covers, the tympanic thermometer can be used directly in the ear with little fuss or stress. Of course, the good old thermometers have been replaced with digital readouts, making it a lot easier for patients and nurses to record reliable temperature readings.
A good pair of medical scissors is present in any good nurse's pocket. These scissors are handy when cutting bandages or clothes, as their ends are blunted and curved in an upward angle to protect tender skin.
Yes, that's a fine word to wrap your tongue around, so most nurses and medical personnel call this handy gadget a pulse ox. It's a device that when placed on a finger can record the oxygen level and even the pulse of the person wearing it. Readings are produced in about a minute or less and are a great way for nurses to quickly check O2 (oxygen) levels in all patients.
Calculators to check drug dosage rate flows, formulas and dosages are also handy and can slide easily into a lab jacket or scrub pocket. Accurate dosage and drip rates are essential for nurses, so small digital pocket calculators are perfect for the job.
Other Tools of the Trade
Syringes, blood pressure cuffs and bladder readout machines are also often used daily by nurses, but such equipment is usually kept in the med room, the nurse's station or at specific locations within a medical facility. Of course, nurses are welcome to purchase their own blood pressure cuffs or other portable equipment and bring it to work with them every day if they wish.
It's important to have a sturdy and comfortable pair of shoes for nurses, who are on their feet all day. Scrubs, lab jackets and other uniform pieces should be comfortable and durable. Scrubs, both bottoms and tops, are available in a wide variety of materials and patterns to suit just about any fancy. Dress codes of medical facilities often enable nurses to show their own personality through their uniform choices and styles.