15 Nurse Life Hacks Every Nurse Should Know (Part 2)

Nurse Life Hacks

Nurse life hacks are popular among nurses. These tricks are handy when you need to be resourceful in order to dispense quality patient care.

Many seasoned nurses share the life hacks they discovered or developed to make some nursing tasks easier to accomplish. As a follow-up article to the first series of life hacks we released for nurses, here’s a list of more life hacks every nurse should know:

1. If you can’t pick up an O2 Sat reading, try attaching the probe to an earlobe or a toe.

Sometimes, pulse oximeters can’t pick up readings in a finger if it’s too cold or if the nails are too thick. Attaching the probe to a toe or to an earlobe will give you a good access for O2 saturation reading.

pulse oximeters
Via turnermedical.com

2. To remove unpleasant odors from your hands after doing stinky bedside care, rub toothpaste between your palms.

Toothpaste removes odors and leaves a peppermint-like scent.


3. When giving syrups or suspensions to uncooperative pediatric patients, use a syringe barrel instead of a spoon or a medicine cup.

Remove the needle from the syringe barrel and use the barrel in aspirating syrups or suspensions from the medication bottle. It will be easier to give liquid medications to pediatric patients without spills.

syringe barrel

4. Whenever patients are nervous about a needle stick, ask them to wiggle their toes.

This technique distracts them so they can take off their mind from the needle stick. If they feel uncomfortable about wiggling their toes, you can also ask them to sing or draw with their pinky finger.

wiggle toes

5. When doing a minor bedside procedure to the patient, give an anxious family member something to do.

Simple tasks like holding the patient’s hands or helping you secure equipment will keep them from interrupting what you are doing. Anxious family members of the patient often feel overwhelmed with the feeling of not being able to do anything for their patient. It helps a lot to make them feel involved in patient care so they will be cooperative as you work with your patients.

Also Read: 25 Life Hacks Every Nurse Should Know

6. Put powder in the bedpan before you put it underneath the patient’s buttocks.

This trick provides easier traction especially for obese folks. It also absorbs odors and keeps the patient’s buttocks dry.

baby powder

7. For patients with tough or calloused fingers, do the finger stick in the corona of the pinky. 

This spot works best when sticking other fingers fails. If you want the least painful site to stick a finger, you can do it in the pad of the pinky finger. However, you need a good blood flow to do this so make sure to pinch the site well before sticking.

8. For ambulatory patients with indwelling Foley catheter, tie a clean glove or a tourniquet at the bottom of the IV pull.

With this technique, the patient can hang his urine bag at the end of the IV pull whenever he needs to ambulate.

Also Read: 12 Things You’ll Never Learn Nursing School

9. Calm down elderly and confused patients by providing them with heated blankets.

This will relieve restlessness and it will keep them from getting out of the bed. If not contraindicated, make the room cold and dark to promote a calming environment.

elderly in a blanket
Via homeinsteadrva.com

10. There are many nurse life hacks for smelly patient rooms but the mouthwash trick is the simplest one to do.

Just soak washcloths in a bottle of mouthwash and leave them inside the room. These washcloths help absorb unpleasant odors while producing a minty scent all over the room.


11. For patients with atrial fibrillation and elevated heart rate, get manual blood pressure.

Automatic blood pressure cuffs can’t pick up accurate blood pressure readings among patients with atrial fibrillation.

manual blood pressure

12. For persistent nausea and vomiting, an ice pack pressed behind the ears can offer immediate relief.

If the patient can’t tolerate an ice pack, a rolled hand towel filled with ice cubes is a good alternative.

Ice Pack

13. Use alcohol pads to loosen the adhesive from tapes and patches.

They can also remove traces of adhesives from the skin. It works best for patients with hairy skin so removing tapes and patches will be less painful.


14. Spray an unfamiliar scent while studying for a nursing examination.

Then as you take the examination, spray the unfamiliar scent again. This trick will help you recall the things you studied as the scent will stimulate your memory.

Also Read: 101 Things We Should Teach Every Nurse

15. Use double-adhesive tapes to keep rags in place.

This simple trick is a great help in preventing accidental slips and falls among elderly patients. Just attach the double-adhesive tape at the back of the rag and stick it against the floor.

double adhesive

Do you have more nurse life hacks you want to share with your fellow nurses in practice? Share them on our FB page or Instagram and let’s trade the tricks we use to make nursing tasks easier to do.