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Essential Nursing Equipment for 2021

Essential Nursing Equipment for 2021

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read affiliate disclosure for more information

Having the right nursing equipment can make a difficult shift a bit better. With the new year, it is important to make sure you have the right nursing gear to help you in your shift.

Hospitals should provide you with everything you need for your shift, but that doesn’t mean that there is some nursing equipment that you don’t want to pass on!

adverse drug reaction - featured image

Stethoscopes

It can be difficult to hear some heart and lung sounds, so having a great stethoscope is essential.

A nurse’s stethoscope needs to be well-made but does not necessarily need to be the same caliber as one that a cardiologist would need.

One excellent stethoscope for nurses is the Littmann Classic III which is great nursing equipment for the bedside nurse.

If you’re looking for something more top-of-the-line, you can try:

Littmann has traditionally been the go-to stethoscope for medical professionals, and they do provide solid equipment. But they are not the only option.

I recently bought an MDF stethoscope and love the quality, and it comes at a much cheaper price.

For a lightweight but still good quality stethoscope, try the MDF Acoustica Deluxe. For something higher quality but still cheaper than Littmann, try the MDF Classic Cardiology.

 

COVID Nursing Equipment

While the vaccine is out and starting to be implemented, the pandemic is still not ending anytime soon.

Hopefully, hospitals supply enough PPE for their nurses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy better gear to deal with COVID.

Reusable N95s are affordable and provide more comfort than a traditional N95. The Envomask is one popular reusable N95 which many nurses seem to like.

You can also get a respirator, but just make sure the filters are approved for airborne diseases since these respirators are generally used for occupational exposures. This is an approved filter here.

Goggles or face shields are also good options to have, as COVID can infect someone when they come into contact with any mucous membrane – including your eyes!

Related Article: These 8 COVID Nursing Tips could save your life

 

Nursing Equipment Pocket Essentials

Scrubs have a lot of pockets for a reason – nurses need to carry around a bunch of stuff!

While tape, gauze, and alcohol pads should be supplied by the hospital, there are some pocket essentials that every nurse should have.

Shears are an essential tool for every nurse. You never know when you’ll need to cut off a dressing, cut a new dressing, or cut off someone’s clothes in an emergency.

The raptors are a great pair of scissors for the ER nurse, but a cheaper alternative that still works great is basic nursing shears.

Penlights are another great piece of nursing equipment to have in your pockets! They are great for looking in your patient’s mouth or for assessing the pupillary light reflex as part of a good neuro assessment!

They can also be great to check on your patients in the middle of the night for hourly rounds.

I personally use the CAVN Pen lights which are great because they have a pupil gauge printed on the side. They’re also affordable, durable, and stylish (I recommend rose-gold!).

A good pen is also essential for nurses. We use our pens to write up on our patients, label lab specimens, sign forms and consents, witness blood products, and so much more!

I really underestimated how much having a good pen can impact my happiness while working (and don’t you DARE steal one of my pens…)

I love the Sharpie pens because they write well, dry quickly, and tend not to smudge!

Another great thing to have is a retractable badge holder – or what I like to call “a badge pulley”.

We are constantly having to swipe into and out of certain areas within the hospital, and being able to retract your badge without disconnecting it comes in handy!

 A Good Nursing Bag

Having a bag to transport all your nursing equipment can be very convenient. This way you can keep all your “nursing stuff” in one place, and helps you stay organized. Otherwise, you might end up with your stuff scattered all across your car floor (guilty…).

Nursing bags are also great for those who work home health!

If you don’t need something quite as large as a bag, you can try getting a smaller Travel carrying case.

Scrubs

Every nurse needs a good pair of scrubs.

There is no universal “best scrubs” because not every nurse has the same needs.

Some scrubs offer plenty of pockets, are more comfortable, or just fit better. There are also more expensive ones that have a nice fit and are stylish (Like Figs).

I personally prefer Figs because I like the fit. Watch out though because they run small. Also there was recently some negative PR because of an ad that didn’t paint female physicians or DOs in a good light… NOT a good look.

I also have Grey’s anatomy and Jannuu which all work great.

Hospitals can get COLD, especially at night, so having a good nursing jacket to wear is great (I have 3 or 4). It can also be cool to get your name and title printed on!

 Nursing Shoes

Working as a bedside nurse usually involves long hours and constantly on your feet. This makes a comfortable pair of shoes essential!

Plenty of nurses go with the Dankso clogs, sacrificing style for comfort and durability.

I myself get myself a good pair of Nikes for something a little more stylish.

No matter which shoe you get, understand that your risk of getting body fluids on them is probably high, so be careful about selecting the material as well as the color!

Compression Socks

And speaking of being on your feet for long hours – compression stockings are super important for nurses to be wearing!

This helps improve blood return and minimize pressure on the veins leading to varicose veins and even edema.

I had to get a varicose vein ablation by the age of 27 (thanks nursing). Wearing compression socks can help prevent this!

And that pretty much sums up the essential nursing equipment you will need for 2021! Make sure to always be prepared with these nursing essentials!

Do you have any other nursing equipment essentials that you find necessary as a nurse? Let us know in the comments below!

These 8 COVID Nursing Tips could save your life

These 8 COVID Nursing Tips could save your life

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read affiliate disclosure for more information

Whether we want to admit it or not, the COVID19 pandemic is not ending anytime soon. Even with the vaccines coming soon, there is still be months of hard work ahead of us. Using these COVID nursing tips might be able to help!

As nurses, COVID can be exhausting and even somewhat demoralizing. I have felt plenty of burn-out since this all began, and nurses across the nation can relate.

In this article, I will list some COVID nursing tips for ER and inpatient nurses – to help you get through your shift safely!

Covid Nursing Tips Featured Image

1. Minimize Contact

This is easier said than done – but minimize your contact with patients who have symptoms consistent with COVID. If you need a refresher, common symptoms of COVID include:

  • Fevers
  • Cough
  • SOB
  • Body aches and Headache
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Loss of taste/smell

As an NP, this is actually fairly doable. I can conduct my history at 3-6 feet away, and perform a very limited physical assessment, often without even touching the patient. Sounds terrible, but the safety of healthcare workers is essential.

Bedside nurses are much more hands-on. What I’m going to say might be controversial, but you do not need to listen to every patient with lung sounds. We are going to get a chest X-ray anyway. Minimize contact, minimize exposure, and minimize your risk as best possible.

Patients with COVID often have normal or somewhat diminished lung sounds. Knowing this does not change management. When I do listen to lung sounds, they are patients with asthma, COPD, or CHF, because I’m specifically looking for wheezes or rales.

Make sure you get everything you need before garbing up and entering the room. Bring with your IV equipment and blood tubes, vital sign hookups if not already in the room, any medications already ordered, a COVID nasopharyngeal swab, etc.

If the patient may be discharged and an ambulatory pulse ox might be ordered – might as well get them up and walk them around the room while recording their SPO2. This is using your nursing judgment to anticipate orders. Let’s face it – not all Providers are great about putting in every order at the same time (guilty!).

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Your N95)

Don’t take your N95 for granted, because they’re running out! At least, that was the worry when this pandemic started and is definitely a possibility if infections and hospitalizations continue as they have been in the US.

However, we can’t afford to be wasteful. Before COVID, we would use an N95 like a surgical mask – apply it when taking airborne precautions, and removing it upon leaving the room. This life of luxury is no more.

Many hospitals have decontamination protocols for N95s – where they decontaminate them in some capacity. However, not every hospital will do this. If needed, there are multiple ways that you can decontaminate your N95 yourself using the following COVID nursing tips.

Bake It

Covid Nursing Tips bake itNo, really – throw that N95 in the oven! Baking with dry heat at 75° C (167° F) for 30 minutes effectively kills Sars-COV-2. Researchers at Stanford found that this can be done for 20 cycles without significantly reducing the filtration efficiency. Other studies indicated that only 2 cycles proved safe.

Hang the N95 from the oven rack with a wooden paperclip, or place an oven-safe fabric on a metal sheet. Do not place the N95 directly on the metal as this can overheat the mask.

Rotation Schedule

COVID has been found to survive on hard surfaces for 48 hours, plastic for 72 hours, and cardboard for 24 hours. While scientists aren’t 100% sure on the specifics of covid spread via surfaces, they do know that COVID doesn’t spread much through touch.

An alternative method to decontaminating your N95 is to leave it in a safe, warm, dry area and allow it to “air-dry” for 3-4 days. Placing it in a paper bag may be useful for this. This will kill the coronavirus without degrading the filter.

If you have three or four N95s, you can start a rotation cycle and effectively never run out of N95s.

Please note this does not appear to be a well-studied decontamination procedure and is solely based on theory.

Covid Nursing Tips recycle n95

Other methods

There are other methods to decontaminate your N95, including moist heat, UV radiation exposure, boiling, and even steaming. These all kill COVID but degrade the N95 at varying rates, and are likely more difficult to perform while at home.

If the idea of having to decontaminate and then reuse your N95 does not fit your desires – you can always skip this COVID nursing tip and buy a reusable N95 Device.

3. Buy a Reusable N95 device

They do make reusable N95 devices which are somewhat affordable and probably worth it.

Using a reusable N95 is more comfortable, less of a hassle, and can leave you feeling more protected.

Envo Mask is all the rage in my ER, and for good reason. This reusable N95 is comfortable and won’t fog your goggles. There are replaceable filters that you use, making this usable forever (but hopefully COVID won’t last forever too).

You can also buy a respirator, which can be cheaper depending on which one you get. If you do, you need to make sure you buy the appropriate filter though, as many of these respirators were intended to be used for occupational exposure. The 2091 filter is recommended by the CDC.

Please be aware it can be somewhat difficult to speak to people with a respirator on, as they can have a hard time hearing. This can be especially difficult over the phone.

Covid Nursing Tips Different Masks

4. Protego Skin!

Covid Nursing Tips skin breakdown exampleWe’ve all seen those horrid photos of nurses who worked 12+ hours in an n95 mask, with deep facial markings to prove it. Many of us have experienced this firsthand.

You shouldn’t only worry about your patient’s skin breakdown. Wearing an N95 for 12 hours straight can cause your own skin-breakdown, and it can be very irritating, painful, and eventually lead to open wounds. There are a few different COVID nursing tips regarding your skin protection that can help!

Take Breaks

To minimize skin breakdown, frequent removal of the N95 is recommended. However, with the COVID pandemic among us – that is not always feasible.

If able to safely remove your N95, the recommendation is to take a 15-minute break every 2 hours. For the vast majority of us, this just won’t work.

Skin Protectant

Probably one of the safest options, you can apply a liquid skin protectant onto your skin. Once applied and allowed to dry, this creates a protective barrier that minimizes moisture and friction.

Any skin protectant should work, and skin repair creams with dimethicone can also be effective. Apply it over the areas where the N95 will cause the most skin breakdown (nasal bridge, cheeks, behind ears). Avoid getting the product in your eyes or mouth.Covid Nursing Tips Skin Prep locations

Good skin protectants to use:

Make sure to always allow the product to fully dry before applying your N95.

Protective Dressing

If skin protectant doesn’t do the trick – you can try a protective dressing.

The issue with protective dressings is they can alter the fit of the N95. Unfortunately, that could mean catching COVID. This is why skin protectant is a safer option. Still – if your skin really needs it – you can likely put a protective dressing in a safe manner.

Cut a thin dressing into small pieces, and apply a thin layer to the nasal bridge, the cheekbones, and behind the ears.

You should use a foam dressing that has a non-permeable outer layer, so any hydrocolloid dressing should work well. A good example is the Duoderm Hydrocolloid Dressing.

You should attempt to confirm the N95 fit by blowing out and seeing if there are any leaks. Definitive fit testing can also be done and is more accurate, although may not be feasible on the unit.

5. Surgical Mask Woes

Even with using our N95s, we are still recommended to be using a surgical mask on top of that. This prevents soiling of the N95 mask and adds that extra layer of protection for splashes.

Unfortunately, surgical masks wrap around your ears and they can lead to skin breakdown of your ears and just hurt.

There are scrub caps and headbands with buttons sowed on which you can loop the surgical mask onto, which takes the pressure off of your ears entirely.

They also make plastic devices that connect both sides and loop around the back of your neck. You can even MacGyver your own version with some rubber hands and/or paper clips.

Covid Nursing Tips paperclip hack

 

 

6. Bad Breath

No – wearing a mask won’t give you hypercarbia… But it can give you hyper-halitosis. If you have bad breath – you’ll definitely notice it now. Sure, bad breath won’t kill you, but it’s just not fun to be breathing in for 12 hours.

Working 12-hour shifts without time for water breaks will cause dry mouth and will increase the odor of your breath as well!

Covid Nursing Tips bad breathOne easy fix is to buy some gum. This leaves your breath smelling minty and fresh. If you’re someone who needs more help for your halitosis, you can try special toothpaste or special mouthwash.

Make sure you are able to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before your shift (not that you’ll have much time to pee). Try to take a few breaks throughout the shift just to drink some water and stay hydrated.

7. Wrap it Before you Tap It

No – I’m not talking sex-ed. I’m talking about your smartphone!

Let’s be real, we all bring our phones to work. No, we probably don’t have time to scroll Instagram (follow me!), but we occasionally check the time and maybe our messages.

I personally use multiple apps on my phone throughout my shift to help with antibiotic selection or to reference something related to patient care.

The problem is, we don’t want to contaminate our phones with COVID or who knows what else.

One simple COVID nursing tip is to bring a Ziplock baggie to work that your phone easily fits in. Ziplock it shut. Your touch screen actually works through the ziplock bag!

You could also just leave your phone at home – but if that doesn’t give you anxiety thinking about it, then something is wrong with you.

If you risk it and just use your phone while at risk, you should know how to decontaminate your phone. Pro Tip: Don’t put your phone in the oven like the N95!

Covid Nursing Tips ziplock bag phone

8. Decontamination Station

After a long shift working with COVID patients ALL day (or night), there is nothing you probably want more than to get home and crawl in bed. But you are also aware of all the NASTINESS on your body, scrubs, and everything else you’ve touched.

You need to have a procedure for how you clean yourself and your items. The last thing you want to do is infect members of your household!

Leave anything items you can at work, like your stethoscope, scissors, pens, penlights, etc. If you have a locker – use that!

Make sure you carry hand sanitizer in your car. Use it immediately once you get in before touching the steering wheel. Do not touch your face now that you are maskless.

Once you get home, find a way to strip quickly without touching anybody or anything. I put anything in my pockets (like my phone) on the island counter. I put my clothes directly in the washing machine. Take an immediate shower with hot water and plenty of soap.

After this, I personally go through and wipe down everything I touched including the doorknob, the bathroom door, etc with a disinfectant. I then wipe down all the items I had placed on the island counter. You can use clorox wipes, lysol wipes, but I personally use Original Pine-sol which kills COVID within 10 minutes (THAT’S the power of Pine-sol baby).

Other related content:

COVID Nursing Tip: Always Follow Hospital Policy

As always you should ALWAYS be following hospital policy and procedures whenever implementing any of these COVID nursing tips. This is an unconventional time, so there may not be much oversight regarding infection control practices, but make sure anything you do is safe for you and your patients.

Comment down below your COVID Nursing tips!

Covid Nursing Tips Pinterest Pin

Top 5 Apps for ER Nurses

Top 5 Apps for ER Nurses

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read affiliate disclosure for more information

 To work as a nurse in emergency medicine, you have to be quick on your feet, efficient, and knowledgeable. Drawing on information in life and death situations can be daunting. Sometimes, it can be difficult to think when you are stressed, overworked, and underfed. Using smartphone apps specific to emergency nursing can save you some brain power and offer a quick reference to ensure patient safety. Sure – googling is an option, but using smartphone apps specific to nursing or medical information can greatly improve the accuracy and utility of the information.

  1. WikEM

    WikEM is an “online wiki and database of emergency medicine knowledge”, primarily intended for clinicians such as physicians or advanced practice providers. However, WikEM offers great information to those nurses who need to look up a new disease, refresh an old disease, or update their knowledge on various procedures, labs, or medications.

    All information on this database is specific to emergency medicine and will help you draw the need-to-know information. Just like a Wikipedia article, a convenient table of contents is offered to assist you to navigate to the desired information. Topics are not too wordy and are easy-to-read synthesized information specific to the emergency clinician.

    The best part about this app is that it is completely FREE to use. All you need to do is first create an account on their website. Afterward, you can use the website database or download the app and use your login information. You can choose to subscribe to get access to personalized lists and favorites, but this is only $5 dollars per year and helps them maintain free information for everyone.

    Information is continuously updated from their online database and ensures accurate and up-to-date information.

  2. Critical – Medical Guide

    Critical – Medical Guide is a one-stop shop for all things critical care. This app can be used for really any nurse in the hospital setting but seems to specifically cater to the ED or ICU.

    This app “aims to assist by providing crucial medical guidelines, emergency medical references & materials” to use on-the-fly. Within it, there is information on ACLS algorithms, EKG interpretation, fluid and blood products, laboratory values, hemodynamics, ventilator management, and various assessments.

    In my opinion, one of the most useful features is the critical drips function, which gives you all the critical drips you may entail within the critical setting. Each drug offers a calculator, in which you enter the patient’s weight (in kg), the total dose and dilution amount, and the infusion rate. The app will give you a mg/hr and mL/hr rate. It offers a small slider which lets you adjust the mg/hr and titrate the medication effectively.

    Another helpful feature is the RSI tab, which gives you dosing calculators for common medications used in rapid sequence intubation. The app also offers many other features including a pediatrics critical tab, which overviews each Braslow weight including medication dosages and ET tube sizes. The app also has a “pharmacology” section which overviews the pharmacology, indications, and adverse effects of commonly used emergency drugs.

    Unfortunately, this app is not free. It comes with a one-time payment of $9.99. However, I have personally used this app in the ED and find it to be very helpful with my management of a critical patient.

  3. Intravenous Medications: Gahart

    IV Meds boasts itself as “the #1 IV drug reference for 40 years”. Basically, this is your go-to resource for IV medications and drips. It provides comprehensive information regarding every type of IV drug.

    This includes comprehensive information on dosing, dose adjustments that may need to be made, dilution, compatibility, the rate of administration, drug actions, indications, contraindications, precautions, interactions, side effects, and antidotes.

    The app also offers calculators and charts for dilution and rate administration, although I find these to be a bit difficult to use and unsightly. There is an option to mark your favorites for quick-access in the critical setting.

    You can download the app for free, but unfortunately, to use the app you must pay $50. You can likely find all the information you need on google or other medication reference apps, but this app is specific to IV medications and offers convenience in the critical setting.

  4. Eye Chart HD

    Eye Chart HD is a great app to utilize within the emergency setting. Any patient who presents with an eye complaint usually needs visual acuity tested. Unfortunately, most exam rooms do not have a Handy Snellen chart available. This means that you have to take the patient out to a common area and have them perform the visual acuity assessment in a less-than-ideal setting.

    The app will detect which phone you are using, and recommend an appropriate distance (such as 4 feet). This is ideal for testing at the end of the stretcher with the patient in high Fowler’s position. Assess the visual acuity as you normally would.

    The app also offers a “randomize” option, which randomizes the letters. You can also click “mirror” and test yourself in the mirror!
    The app also offers other visual acuity charts including Tumbling E, Sloan Chart, and a Landolt Chart.

    This app is FREE, but you can choose to pay $2.99 per month to get access to a randomized near-vision chart, Amsler grid, line isolation, and other specific eye chart features. However, this seems excessive for use in the emergency department, and I don’t recommend it.

  5. Lab Values Medical Reference

    Lab Values + offers comprehensive information regarding lab values. The app separates the labs by system, but also has a search function.

    Within each lab, the app lists common “normal” values for the lab in both SI and US units. Additionally, it offers a description of the lab and the pathophysiologic significance. It also offers a differential for abnormal levels, as well as which lab vial color to draw. Please note that not every hospital utilizes the same colors. For example, a lab that may be run off of a gold tube at one facility may be run off of a mint tube at another.

    While not free, you can utilize this app with a one-time payment of $2.99, which is very affordable. You can likely find the information within this app elsewhere, but this app offers convenience and a pleasing aesthetic.

So there you have it – my Top 5 apps for ER Nurses. Have you used any of these apps in your ED? Are there any other apps that you use in the ER setting that you recommend? Comment below!

Top 10 Nurse Tech

Top 10 Nurse Tech

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read affiliate disclosure for more information

Technology has changed the way the world functions. With the rise of the industrial revolution, technology has changed the way we cook, the way we store food, the way we communicate, as well as the way we treat patients. The advancement of technology can be both good and bad. Increased technology leads to increased cost of healthcare, but it can also lead to better management of care. Nurses utilize this technology at work every day, but what about the tech not at work? What a nurse brings in his or her pockets can make or break a shift. Read more for Top Ten Nuse Tech!

  1. Top Nurse Tech: Portable Pulse Oximeter

    Portable Pulse Oximeter with LED display A small portable pulse ox can easily fit into your pocket and can save you some hassle at work. These little pieces of nurse tech are only around $20, and they are pretty durable. While your unit will have pulse oximeters on the monitors and probably some free-standing ones, sometimes it can be very difficult to locate one. Personally, this little gadget has saved me quite a bit of time. There are often many patients not critical enough to require constant pulse oximetry in the ER. A portable pulse ox can spot check a heart rate and SPO2 in a few seconds and is perfect for a quick discharge set of vitals to prove that they were living when they left. There is nothing more frustrating than not having access to a portable pulse ox and having to open a disposable pulse ox, connect it to the monitor, and wait 10 more seconds for a reading. This is a waste of time and money for the department. Save yourself some time and energy and just carry one of these guys in your pockets! The battery tends to last a long time and most of them use AAA batteries so changing out the battery is also a piece of cake.

  2. Portable Blood Pressure Cuff + Adapter

    Portable Welch Allyn Blood pressure cuff and valve/gaugeYou may have access to plenty of portable Pulse Ox’s in your department, but there is a high possibility that manual blood pressure cuffs are harder to find than a good deal at a Tesla dealership. When a blood pressure reading is very high or very low with the automatic BP machines – we really should be checking a manual measurement to verify the results. This can be problematic when no manual cuffs are available, and there may not be any functional bedside cuffs available. The Welch Allyn DS44-11 is an affordable detachable bulb/gauge and an adult-sized cuff. But you DON’T want to keep reusing your personal adult sized cuff on different patients. This is an infection control issue, and just nasty anyway. The great thing is that with the Welch Allen DS44-11 Cuff + Adapter, it can disconnect from the cuff and is attachable to any Welch Allyn disposable FlexiPort cuff. It just so happens that the most widely used disposable cuffs in hospitals are the Welch Allyn FlexiPort cuffs. This means that you can use the disposable cuff provided by your facility in order to perform your measurements. All you need to do is attach your personal one-piece bulb, valve, and gauge to the disposable cuff, whip out your stethoscope, and check the blood pressure.

  3. Smart WatchApple iWatch Smart watch with downloadable apple store apps to streamline patient care

    Yes, a Fitbit is the cheaper alternative. These can function as a watch and keep track of your steps, and depending on the version, it can track your heart-rate and may have other features as well. But what I truly consider a valuable piece of nurse tech is Apple’s iWatch. The Apple app store is almost infinite at this point, and many built-in and downloadable apps can help streamline your patient care.The clock can be set to military time to help with charting purposes (not to mention counting down until the shift is over). There’s also actual countdown apps which you can literally program to let you know how much time until you leave. You can use the alarm app to set limits doing various activities, with a silent vibration to let you know to move onto the next task. Additionally, alarms can be set to make hourly roundings, to turn patients every 2 hours, or to remind you to check back on a certain patient in 15 minutes before the bolus runs out. Off the record – if you need to be sneaky you can also scroll through Instagram, read and respond to texts, and most importantly get alerted to Pokemon in the general vicinity.  Additionally, you have access to the built-in features of the Apple iWatch such as the heart-rate tracker, the activity reminder, and the step-counter. The possibilities are literally endless as newer apps are being released frequently.

  4. Vein FinderIllumivein vein Finder LED flashlight to help with IV hard sticks

    Okay, so unless you have $2,000 lying around, you are NOT going to buy the infrared vein finder. And let’s be real – with a little practice, you won’t need one. Sure – a device like this could come in handy with a very hard stick, but a device this expensive should really be purchased by the facility if it is in that big of a need. A MUCH more affordable option for this handy nurse tech is the Illumivein Portable Vein Finder.  No, the Illumivein doesn’t use Infrared technology and isn’t as cool as that expensive version, but this is the Nursing-on-a-Dime version. This is basically just a strong red LED flashlight. This could potentially be used with hard sticks, but will likely be more useful with neonates and infants, and maybe the elderly with thin hands.

  5. PenLightBlack and Silver Penlights with pupil and measurements

    Alright, this one is basic, like… a 13 on the pH scale. There are some tools that should be in every nurse’s pockets, and every nurse should have a good Penlight. You likely will have many different opportunities to test pupils and look into mouths and who knows what other orifices. Sure, if your department has bedside otoscopes you can utilize this, but that is a BIG if. Nightshift on the floors, it can be useful as a source of light when checking in on your sleeping patients. All Penlights are NOT made equal. I have bought multiple penlights only to have them break after a few shifts. Are you truly a hospital nurse if your pens didn’t all fall out of your pocket on an hourly basis? These penlights on Amazon I have personally used and are very durable. They also come with pupil guides for you to gauge pupil size.

  6. Smart ClipboardPrestige Smart Clipboard with Calculator, Timer, and alarm

    Writing down relevant clinical information is essential in most practice settings, especially within the hospital. Managing multiple patients with multiple medical problems, you need to keep everything straight and what you write down will help you manage your patient care throughout the shift. A clipboard can often be overlooked as a necessary piece of equipment. It is always helpful to have a backboard when you’re doing CPR right? The same thing goes for writing! Clipboards make a great backboard. But why get a regular clipboard when you can get a smart one? The Nurse Assist clipboard is a regular clipboard comes equipped with a built-in clock, a timer, an alarm, as well as a calculator. If you don’t have a smartwatch, this can really help you with various tasks throughout your shift. In addition, the clipboard itself has printed diagnostic and assessment guidelines such as pressure ulcer stages, cranial nerves, EKG interpretation, and pupil assessment – among other helpful guides.

  7. Raptor ShearsRaptor shears, utility tool

    While the Leatherman Raptor Shears are not necessarily electronic, they are still a great tool and piece of nurse tech which can help you throughout your shift. I once owned a beautiful pair of these shears and they worked amazingly. While somewhat pricey, they were able to cut through anything. Additionally, it has a strap cutter, a ring cutter, an oxygen tank wrench, and a carbide-tip glass breaker capable of breaking standard glass. As you can tell, these tools are perfect for emergency first responders but I also found the shears to be perfect for the emergency department. Sadly, I lost them during a busy shift – never to be seen again – RIP.

  8. Apple PencilApple Pencil

    The Apple Pencil, in my opinion, is easily the best stylus out there. I have personally used many styluses – regular, Bluetooth, pressure-sensitive… none compare to the Apple Pencil. The pencil is pressure-sensitive, fine-point, and just feels natural. Writing on an iPad with the apple pencil looks and feels as though you are writing on a piece of paper – without wasting the actual paper. Not only that, writing digitally gives you the opportunity to make everything nice and neat, and be able to digitally organize your writings. What good is writing down your patient’s history if you can’t read it?! In class, this is perfect for taking notes. There are multiple note-taking applications, with many different features including recording audio which you can attach to your specific notes. Additionally, you can add photos, drawings, videos, and streamline your notes across all of your devices with the apps like One Note, Evernote, or my personal favorite Notability. Within the hospital, you can use the apple pencil in combination with an iPad in a few different ways. Sure, you can write down notes and basic things you learn from your shift. You can also be able to make patient care templates and write down your “brain sheets” on the iPad instead of wasting paper. This can really help you stay organized – you can try out my FREE patient care organization sheets here! Just be sure to run it by your supervisor and hospital IT/security before adding patient-information to a personal device. There may be rules and regulations, or specific guidelines to follow such as deleting the information daily or leaving the device connected to the hospital network while patient information is still on the iPad. A big downfall of the Apple Pencil is that it currently only works with the iPad Pro series and the new 6th generation iPad.

  9. Smart Water Bottle

    Smart Water BottleNurses have a tendency to put the needs of their patients above their own. We’re hungry, thirsty, and holding our bladders while we simultaneously feed, hydrate, and help our patient’s use the bathroom! It is super important to take care of yourself and your health in order to be able to take care of your patient’s needs as well. The Hidrate Spark 2.0 is a smart water bottle which glows to reminds you when you need to drink to stay hydrated. It connects to a smartphone app to track your water intake as well. Additionally, reviewers love the quality of the water bottle and state even without the Bluetooth technology it is worth the cost.

  10.       Electronic Stethoscope

    The 3M Littmann 3100 Electronic stethoscope is relatively expensive but if you can afford it – this can be a great gadget to aid in your patient care. With this digital stethoscope, you can adjust the audio to be able to hear heart, lung, or bowel sounds with ease. Become a master at murmurs, or a lung-sound linguist – even in a loud ER department! With ambient noise reduction technology, you are able to pick up on even the slightest auscultatory abnormality. This nurse tech claims to remove 85% of the surrounding noise. Forget counting the apical heart rate – this stethoscope includes a backlit LCD screen which displays the heart rate for you. It has both a bell mode for lower-pitched sounds and a diaphragm mode for higher-pitched sounds. There is a newer 3200 version, but this is not available on Amazon. The major difference between these versions is that the newer version does offer a recording-feature connected to an app on your smartphone via Bluetooth, whereas the 3100 version does not.  Whether you are a student, a Nurse, a Nurse Practitioner, a Physician Assistant, or a Physician – these new pieces of technology can be a creative addition to your arsenal. Whichever clinical setting you rock, rock this tech and really improve your clinical skill and organization.

Top 5 Nurse Practitioner Apps

Top 5 Nurse Practitioner Apps

Check out these Top 5 nurse practitioner apps for when you’re at clinicals or even at work! The internet can be a clinician’s best friend. With the implementation of easy-to-use apps for smartphones, evidence-based recommendations are literally at your finger-tips. Not only will this information be helpful in a pinch, but you can also rest assured you are giving your patients accurate and updated information. 

1. The Best Nurse Practitioner App: UpToDate  

UpToDate Medical Resource App IconUpToDate, according to its website, is an “evidence-based, physician-authored clinical decision support resource” for use in “point-of-care” decisions. Basically, experts in their respective fields write in-depth recommendations for every disease or complaint you can think of. Think of it as a comprehensive textbook regarding all things medical in the palm of your hands or on the screen of your computer. This can be an extremely useful nurse practitioner app to utilize!

UpToDate guarantees evidence-based recommendations that are quite literally up-to-date. Each article contains relevant figures, tables, and pictures to aid in understanding. In addition, Continued Medical Education (CME) hours can be turned in to various certifying bodies (AANP, AMA, ACEP, etc).

While UpToDate is an invaluable resource, there are some negative drawbacks. This requires a monthly subscription, and you may be looking at paying more than $50/month. An additional $6/month will be added if you want to use the UpToDate app on your smartphone. However, many hospitals offer this service free-of-charge, as well as many universities. Additionally, if you are an Advanced Practice Provider or Physician, many places of employment will be willing to pay for this service. If you are a student or medical resident, there is a significant discount applied which ends up costing $19/month ($25/month with smartphone app access).

Additionally, some say that UpToDate has a layout that is verbose and sometimes difficult to follow. This may lead to trouble using it on-the-fly while at clinical or work. However, from personal experience – once you get used to the layout, the speed and effectiveness of the service increase dramatically.

Regardless of price, UpToDate is WORTH it, and once you use it you won’t regret it! This nurse practitioner app can be used on the fly for a quick refresher or can be studied in-depth for a complete understanding.

2. Epocrates  

Epocrates Medical Resource App IconHailed as the #1 Medical Reference App, Epocrates has set itself apart as the go-to nurse practitioner app that over 1 million healthcare providers are using. This app offers a wide array of services from Updated Guidelines, Disease Overview, Medication Interactions, Drug information, Differential Diagnosis tools and much, much more. Best of all, Epocrates has a free version. While somewhat limited, the free version is still very useful for nurse practitioners, other clinicians, and nurses alike.

Epocrates free version does include access to their drug information and clinical practice guidelines – which are very useful in the clinical setting. Additionally, the free version offers medicine interaction checks, as well as a few other features which I have found to be non-useful. The Premium option is MUCH more inclusive and offers a wide variety of useful tools. The Premium option is available for $174.99/year, which is less than $15/month. This version offers all of the features included with the free version but adds many more. This includes it’s most useful section, the Disease Information (see below). Additionally, it offers ICD-10 code lookups, CPT codes, Lab information, and Infectious Disease treatments.

With all the features available in the Epocrates app, the most useful feature is the Disease Information. With a simple query, you have access to the disease highlights, treatment options and approach, history and physical exam findings, differential diagnosis, complications, and follow-up information. As you can tell, this pretty much does your job for you – you just need to know where to look. I have found this feature to be useful during clinical – where I used it almost every day.

If you are a student in a medical field (such as a nurse practitioner), university faculty, or a medical resident/fellow, then you can obtain the premium version at a discount of only $49.99.

Epocrates is sleek, offers up-to-date information, and is easy to access on-the-go. While not in as much depth as UpToDate, it offers quick easy-to-access information which makes referencing medical information at clinical or work to be effortless. Many users find it much easier to navigate and find what they are looking for. Additionally, Epocrates is offered MUCH cheaper and just a fraction of the cost of UpToDate – however, MUST be bought for a full year as opposed to monthly payments.

3. MedScape  

Medscape Medical Resource App IconMedscape is very similar to UpToDate and Epocrates in the information it offers – primarily disease and drug information. However, the big difference is in pricing. Medscape is 100% FREE. However, the information provided is HUGELY beneficial to the medical professional in every medical setting.

Medscape has in-depth information for most medical conditions, in-depth drug information and interactions, pill identifiers, various useful calculators, and more. However, something that sets Medscape apart is its Procedures information.

The Procedures feature offers step-by-step techniques for every procedure imaginable, as well as important information regarding anesthesia, complications, and postoperative care. This is VERY useful to students who will be doing procedures in clinical, as well as medical professionals who need to brush up.

Additionally, Medscape offers a fun interactive diagnostics feature that lets you test your skills at interpreting X-rays, CT scans, and the like! Similar to UpToDate, learning on Medscape can be beneficial too for those who need to accrue CEUs for renewing their licensure.

Unlike UpToDate, Medscape does not seem to offer as many tables and figures, although it does offer many pertinent images. Additionally, I have found the Medscape app to be somewhat harder to navigate and absorb information from than both Epocrates and UpToDate.

Best of all, Medscape is 100% free. In order to access some of the features, a free account needs to be created with a valid email address. Overall – Medscape is underrated and underused – but a wonderful nurse practitioner app to use!

4. Merck Manual  

Merck Manual Medical Resource App IconThe Merck Manual, originally published in 1899, is quoted as the world’s best selling textbook. Merck & Co has developed an app which gives the wide information from the Merck Manual at your fingertips.

In-depth, expansive, and searchable, Merck Manual offers innumerable information on various diseases and conditions – breaking down pathophysiology, etiology, evaluation, treatment, essentials, and key points. Merck also offers videos on various procedures and disease overviews. While not all of these videos are made by Merck, they are easy to find and watch within the app.

Similar to the others, Merck Manual does offer some clinical calculators which can be useful in the clinical practice setting. Also like Medscape and FP notebook, Merck manual is 100% Free – No registration or subscription required, and no ads.

5. FP Notebook  

FP Notebook Medical Resource App IconThe Family Practice Notebook, or FP Notebook, is a point of care resource which began in 1995, and now has expanded to 31 specialties and more than 6100 linked interlinked topics. Like the others listed above, FP Notebook has searchable disease information. However, it is limited to just that.

Although FP notebook does NOT offer extra tools, features, or drug information, it does offer easy-to-follow notes on many disease processes. FP Notebook reads more like notes that you would take in class with numbers and sub-numbers. This adds the benefit of finding the relevant information that is useful for clinical practice and takes away the added verbiage – making navigating to the essential information quickly and painlessly.

While FP Notebook does seem to give updated information – it is not prided on delivering the utmost updated information. However, like Medscape, it is 100% free to download.

And there you have it – the top 5 nurse practitioner apps for the working NP! Please leave a comment down below if there are any apps that we missed that you find useful!

 

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