25 Life Hacks Every Nurse Should Know

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nurse life hacks

Nursing is not an easy job and because it’s not easy, nurses have found ways to make some of their tasks easier. After all, they’re known to be really creative and innovative.

Whether you are a new nurse who’s adjusting to the job or a veteran nurse finding ways to cope with staffing issues, here are some of the most famous life hacks you need to know.

1Rinse contact lens with normal saline solution

Your normal saline solution can be used to rinse off particles from your contact lens right before you wear them. Take note, however, that the solution doesn’t have cleansing agents so you shouldn’t use it to clean or disinfect your contact lens.

2Wear triple gloves during code brown

Code brown is truly messy. So, to save your hands from unexpected poop exposure, try triple gloving.

After cleaning up every trace of feces from your patient, peel away the first layer of gloves. This way, you won’t have to wear a new set of gloves before applying a clean diaper.

Remove the second layer of gloves after waste disposal and when you have to put on a new set of bed sheet.

This trick won’t only save you time but it also ensures that your hands are well-protected. It prevents the spread of bacteria, too.

Also read: 20 Funniest Things Only Nurses Would Understand

3Wear isolation gowns during meals and keep uniforms clean

If you are worried about getting stains on your scrubs during your meal, just wear an isolation gown. It works like an apron as it shields your scrubs from unwanted meal stains.

4Get rid of unwanted odor with coffee grounds

Can’t get rid of that odor from your patient’s bedpan or emesis basin? Just put some coffee grounds and it will absorb the unpleasant smell.

It also works in neutralizing odors in hospital rooms. Just put a small pot of grounded coffee beans at the center of the room.

5Soak nasogastric tube in ice before insertion

Chilled nasogastric tubes are great for two reasons. One is that they reduce the unpleasant feeling of NGT insertion and they make the process a lot easier. Aside from soaking the tube in ice, you can also place it in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes prior to insertion.

6Dilate those veins! Put a warm washcloth over area of IV insertion

When starting an IV line, it helps to put a warm washcloth over the preferred site of insertion. This will help dilate blood vessels so you can pick a good vein for an IV line.

Also read: 35 IV Therapy Tips & Tricks for Nurses

7Try double insertion of Foley catheter in female patients

When you can’t get a urine flow after inserting a Foley catheter in a female patient, don’t remove it and get a new one. While the first foley catheter is still in place, insert the second one by aiming higher. This trick will reduce the chance of missing the urethral opening again.

8Put a urine collector bag on a pediatric patient for urinalysis before blood collection

If your pediatric patient is going for a urinalysis, make sure to put a urine collector before the medical technologist sticks the child for blood works. Most kids pee accidentally during blood workups and this is a good chance for urinalysis specimen collection.

9Remove blood stains with hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide works really well in removing blood stains on fabrics. Think of it as an instant stain remover.

10Sticky poop? Put lotion on your wipes

In some cases, like when a patient has a C. Diff infection, removing traces of feces from the skin can be a bit hard. Try applying lotion to your wipes before using them and you’ll be surprised at how easier the task will be.

11Clamp, spike, and fill when priming a new tubing

Clamp the tubing first, spike the bag, and fill the drip chamber before priming. This way, you can avoid the formation of air bubbles in the IV tubing.

12Put an examination glove over your stethoscope

For contact precautions, put an examination glove over your stethoscope before use. Then, once you’re done, you can just remove the gloves and discard.

Gloves are thin enough to hear sensitive sounds through the stethoscope’s diaphragm but thick enough to reduce the risk of infection transmission between patients.

13Keep confused patients busy by giving them a pile of washcloths to fold

Some confused patients keep trying to get out of bed and short of tying them down, it’s hard to keep them in one place.  What you can do is to give them a pile of towels or washcloths to fold.  This trick gives them a sense of purpose so they can remain occupied in their rooms.

14Make it fit! Cut a tourniquet into half for IV insertions on pediatric patients

Most of the time, a tourniquet is too thick or too long for pediatric patients. To initiate a good grab, cut the tourniquet in half to make it fit the small limbs of pediatric patients.

15Use cloth or gauze for IV insertion on hairy skin

When inserting IV lines into patients with hairy limbs, use a piece of cloth or gauze as a skin barrier before you put the tourniquet.  This trick will reduce the pain caused by the tourniquet rubbing against their hairy skin.

16Protect your nose against tough smells by applying toothpaste or Vicks between two masks

Nurses are used to the smell of every body fluid you can imagine. However, there are really tough smells that can make you feel nauseous. During such cases, applying mentholated scent, like toothpaste or Vicks, between two masks can protect your sense of smell.

Also read: 10 Everyday Things Nurses Can’t Live Without

17Get tangle-free hair with rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is effective in dissolving sticky residues in the hair of bed-ridden patients. You can use this trick before or after a patient’s daily bed bath.

18When inserting a foley catheter, don’t just lubricate the tip of the catheter

Take the syringe with lubricant and squeeze it directly into the urethra. This will keep the lubricant in one place. It will also ensure that you don’t accidentally drop off the catheter.

19Remove sticky feces with a shaving cream

For a nurse, it’s not unusual to find yourself with sticky feces stuck to your skin.  In removing it, try applying a good layer of shaving cream before wiping off with a wet cloth. Shaving cream works like lotion and will help loosen and remove sticky feces from your skin faster.

20Don’t lose your patient’s sock with the sock-on-sock technique

If you need to remove one sock from a patient to do a procedure and don’t want to accidentally misplace it, use the sock-on-sock technique. Just put the sock you removed over the sock on your patient’s other foot.

21To get patients’ respiratory rate, just say you will get their pulse

When patients know that a nurse is observing their respiratory rate, they have a tendency to be conscious of their breathing. They might even hold their breath.

To avoid those things, just pretend that you are checking their pulse.

22Use an empty syringe barrel to clamp a urine bag tubing

Just remove the plunger and insert the folded tubing into the empty barrel of the syringe. This trick comes in handy whenever you run out of Kelly clamps.

23Remove dried blood with a lubricant 

Wiping dried blood with wet wipes will take some time but if you coat the area first with lubricant, it will be easier to loosen the dried blood.

24Stick a piece of micropore and write there

The things you write on your skin can be erased accidentally whenever you are sweaty or when you are doing hand washing. Writing on a strip of micropore attached to your forearm can make sure you don’t lose your notes, particularly when you’re attending to an emergency.

25Stop your isolation gown from sliding down your arms by creating a thumb hole

You can do this by punching a hole in the sleeves of the gown for your thumb before putting on your gloves. Make sure that you leave your thumb in this hole before donning your gloves. This is needed to ensure that the sleeves will not fall off while doing nursing care.

Read Also: 15 Nurse Life Hacks Every Nurse Should Know (Part 2)

These brilliant life hacks for nurses are just some of the most popular ones around. Do you know more nurse life hacks? Share them with your fellow nurses in the comments below.

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