Nursing Student Checklist
You will need a good pair of stainless steel bandage scissors in a 5 inch size. They should have some sort of identification attached to them so they get returned to you should someone borrow them. A pocket organizer designed for nurses will house them and keep them safe in one of your pockets.
A Four Color Pen
A four color pen will be handy, and if it comes on a rope to hang on your neck, it’ll be perfect. Many institutions require multi-color charting to differentiate such things as phone calls, narcotic administration, pain assessments etc. Some require blue ink and some black as the primary color ink, with red as the secondary. Being prepared makes you more confident. (Even if all of your charting is computerized, you will need a pen often!) Some pens designed to look like a syringe are popular with nurses.
More Must Have’s
A medical dictionary such as Taber’s will become your best friend as will the latest edition of the Drug Handbook or PDR for Nurses. Keep them in your backpack or locker at all times. (Donʼt forget them at home.) Replace them yearly!
A penlight for pupil (neuro) assessment should be kept in the pocket protector with your scissors. The disposable ones often have a handy pupil size chart on the side.
A few other items you may want to purchase along the way include a small retractable plastic tape measure, a nursing calculator clip board, or small pocket calculator.
You might also want a sphygmomanometer. Or you might consider a Combo Kit which includes a stethoscope, bandage scissors, reusable penlight, tape measure and sphygmomanometer in a matching fanny pack. These come in a variety of colors.
Choosing a PDA
A PDA can be a very useful tool at the bedside for looking up drugs or other health information. It can also be used to keep vital contact information and for a calendar to keep you organized. Time Management is an essential skill that you may not learn in nursing school. A PDA can be very helpful is keeping you organized and on task.
Put Your Name on Everything
Everything should have your name on it. Doctors are notorious for borrowing an item and then walking off with it. When you are rushed or called to another patient, you can easily forget your equipment and find it gone when you return.
Here are a few books that might make your education process a little easier and help you ease into your first year as a new nurse:
• How To Survive and Maybe Even Love Nursing School by Kelly S. Dunham
• Your First Year as a Nurse by Donna Cardillo RN
• My First Year as a Nurse: Real World Stories From America’s Nurses by Barbara Finkelstein (editor)
• The Everything New Nurse Book by Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN
Relax and enjoy your entry into the rewarding career as a nurse!