Supplies and Tools Nurses Utilize

By: Sandy Darson1

Since nursing is a booming industry today, there are also a growing number of nursing supplies and tools available. Nurses are no longer subjected to the tired old-fashioned scrubs and stethoscopes of yesterday. There are more tools that can assist a nurse in their everyday tasks, and these tools have a variety of designs. Although a nurse’s tools and supplies vary by their specialty, there are tools and supplies that are common in almost all nursing specialties.

Whenever you are referring to nursing tools, you have to start with the most common tools that a nurse is going to use. The first of these tools is a stethoscope. Today, stethoscopes come in a variety of styles and colors; and, a few of the most popular stethoscope brands include Littmann, Omron, Prestige, and ADC. Some of the newest innovations include lightweight and electronic models, and there are some that are geared toward specific specialties, such as pediatrics. Yet, stethoscopes have a price range that is wider than most nursing tools, as they can range from $20.00 to $700.00 dollars.

Though referred to within the medical community by the proper name of sphygmomanometer, most call this nursing tool a blood pressure pack or unit. Blood pressure units have also come along way, from nurses using a stethoscope and stopwatch to more compact units. Nurses may also need more than one blood pressure unit; since, larger sized patients may require a larger blood pressure unit due to the size of their arms. Even the high-end blood pressure units are usually under $100.00, and some of the more popular types today are the digital wristwatch blood pressure monitors. But, please note that we are only referring to small portable units. The larger units are typically only purchased by the healthcare facilities.

The most common supply among all nursing specialties is a set of uniforms, typically referred to as scrubs. Scrubs or uniforms are often the first thing a nurse buys or is issued by their employing facility. Although nursing scrubs were once predominately white, nursing scrubs can now be purchased in a variety of colors. Typically, nursing scrubs describe a shirt and pants uniform, that was designed to be light weight and allow the nurse to perform duties with ease. They also allow patients to easy distinguish nurses from other medical staff. Scrubs or uniforms may also include a jacket or hat.

Although a nurse’s shoes are deemed as being a part of the nursing uniform, they are not provided by employers as frequently as the nursing uniforms. However, healthcare facilities may place restrictions on the type of shoes that nurses are allowed to wear. Nursing shoes are almost always tennis shoes. Nursing shoes tend to be lightweight and able to handle long periods of standing and walking. They should also provide as much comfort as possible. Nursing shoes are typically white.

A common but critical nursing tool is a gait belt. Gait belts are used to aid nurses in moving and transferring patients. Gait belts come in a variety of colors. Two of the most popular brands of gait belts are Posey and Alimed. Though gait belts range in price, from $10.00 to $200.00; there, are only subtle differences in the majority of these tools. The main reason for the gait belts on the lower end of the pricing spectrum is that the cheaper belts are usually disposable. One of the most popular types of gait belt is one that can easily be cleaned.

Nurses still often need a good wristwatch. A nurse’s wristwatch should have a hand that measures seconds. It is also advised that a nurse’s wristwatch be comfortable, yet worn tightly enough to avoid slipping. It is also recommended to purchase waterproof watch since they spend a great deal of time washing their hands throughout the day.

Nurses are also required to keep a pen with them at all times to be able to record patient’s data. Though there are no real standard for these pens, nurses often take it a step further by using pens that are equipped with a light. It is recommended that they use ergonomic pens due to the frequency of use. Many nurses purchase pocket organizers or penholder necklaces for easy access. Scissors are also part of a nurse’s common tools, because of the need to frequently cut bandages.

In efforts to make things more compact and easy for a nurse to access, most common nursing tools can be purchased as a portable kit. The size and style of nursing tools are evolving as new ways of making a nurse’s duties easier are discovered. Nursing uniforms are now bursting with comfort and color. The only constant is that as the nursing profession changes, the tools are also going to change with it.

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Sandy Darson is a freelance writer who writes about the nursing profession. Mr. Thomas often writes about specific items used in nursing such as nursing uniforms.

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