Essential Items Every Trauma Nurse Needs To Have

There are several items that are essential for every Emergency Department nurse to carry on them at all times.  I like to think of these as my secret weapons to getting through any shift successfully.

  • Badge:  My badge is probably the most used and important thing that I carry.  It is used for most door entries in the hospital, to obtain medications from the Pyxis (along with fingerprint), to gain access to the computers (with password), and holds a lot of cheat sheets for me!  I have lists of frequently used phone numbers like lab, pharmacy etc., and additionally it identifies who you are to the patient and to other staff members.
  • Stethoscope:  This is a fundamental tool used for auscultation in respiratory, cardiac, and abdominal assessments, and can also be used to test deep tendon reflexes.  The one I have is from MDF Instruments.
  • Dry Erase Marker:  This is used to update patient boards so that the patient is more informed about who their ER providers are, their plan of care, and diagnostic testing that will occur.
  • Saline Flush:  You never know when you will need one of these!  I love to keep at least one, or three of these in my pockets to use in case of emergencies such as unexpected traumas, codes, or even when you are simply starting an IV and forget to grab a flush!
  • Pen: A pen is crucial for a nurse to have at all times!  I use mine for labeling patient specimens, signing and filling out EMTALA documents, highlighting important patient education materials, and for patients to sign their discharge paperwork.
  • Versus Badge:  This is used for staff members to signal an emergency.  The signal goes out to security and they are at your side in 60 seconds.  This is needed for the reality that is working in the Emergency Department.  Sometimes you have patients and patients family or friends that will threaten you verbally or physically, and this ensures that security will be there to help you and protect you.
  • Scissors:  Trauma sheers are used in almost all traumas and codes to expose the patient so that a complete assessment can be preformed.  And can I say make sure your scissors are sharp!  This pair is able to cut through patient jeans, leather belts, and pretty much anything in between.  The pair I use is from Clauss Titantium.
  • Carpuject:  This is used to give certain medications that are carpuject compatible and save the need for additional syringes to draw medications up with, as the medication will fit inside the carpuject.  You can use carpujects for IM, and IV medications.
  • One last item I forgot, luckily my followers reminded me!  Is chapstick!  It helps to keep your lips hydrated and smooth during the long shift!

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