You are starting your clinical rotations, congratulations! The next few weeks will be filled with many new experiences. You’ll get to meet actual patients and work in a real hospital. There is nothing like experiencing the true world of nursing to make you realize why you wanted to pursue this career in the first place!
For a smooth and efficient rotation, here are some supplies that you should always have with you:
Penlights are a staple in hospitals so nurses need to have one. You need them to look into patients’ eyes, to check their pupils for dilation, to test the patency of veins before you start an IV, and more. Make sure you carry a penlight around as you’ll surely need them in your shifts.
This is definitely one of the vital nursing supplies. As you know, we use this device to listen to organs, including the heart, veins, and intestines to ensure they are working properly before treating patients.
I use my stethoscope every shift so I highly recommend that you invest in a high-quality and durable one.
Don’t leave the house without your wristwatch on you! If you’re doing clinical, you’ll need it to take vital signs. My recommendation is to get a watch that is easy to disinfect and typically waterproof, making them ideal for the medical setting.
When you’re in a jam and need to tie an extra IV line or cover the rolling edge of a bandage, it’s critical to have a roll or two on hand or at least in your pocket!
Taking notes on scraps of paper – or worse, your hand – is the worst feeling ever. Having a clipboard or binder ready is essential if you want to keep a record of everything.
Also, it looks much more professional than using one hand to write while simultaneously supporting a stack of papers. A standard clipboard is all you’ll need for this task but the nursing clipboard with cheat sheets and internal storage space is excellent if you want something a bit more special.
Medical scissors are very useful for so many things like cutting tapes, bandaging wounds, opening packages…the list goes on! They have so many uses that I have my medical scissors with me at all times. I’m sure you’ll be needing a pair early on so don’t forget to bring your own to your clinical.
Compression socks and soft shoes
These two items are absolutely required. You might not think that the clothes you wear in your rotation are important, but they can make a big difference in your comfort.
Compression socks are a type of medical equipment that is used to reduce swelling in the legs. They work by applying pressure to your leg muscles with an elastic band that helps improve blood flow and return oxygenated blood back up to your heart. Soft shoes also help with circulation because they don’t put any pressure on your feet or toes when walking around all day long.
Since you’ll be on your feet most of the day, it’s worth getting yourself some compression socks and soft shoes.
It’s important to be on top of things and make sure you have everything in order before you start your shift. One way to do this is with the help of a planner, which will hold all the information you’ll get. This will allow you more time to focus on taking care of patients while also making sure that nothing gets forgotten or overlooked.
I honestly believe that you will never be psychologically prepared to start your clinical rotations. But training at the hospital bedside is much more valuable than any textbook, so take this opportunity to learn. Volunteer whenever you can. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to do so. Make a thorough note of everything and practice what you’ve learned in school. Good luck, baby nurses!