Nurses are always trying to keep the plates spinning, as the saying goes. Maybe in our case it’s bedpans, full of “output”, while paging a doctor, and getting the family member a cup of hot tea.
What exactly is a “nursing hack”? It’s any simple tip that a nurse might stumble upon that changes the work routine and saves precious time and energy. It’s basically a trick that will help make work easier. Nursing hacks aren’t easy to come by and often surface at the most unexpected moments, like an “AHA” moment while inserting a foley catheter. I’ve rounded up some of my favorites from your submissions, and even created a few of my own. They just might change the way you practice nursing.
- The Ring: Use an oxygen mask elastic strap to remove rings, eliminating the need to cut them off. This technique acts as both a tourniquet and an anchoring technique. I can’t really do it justice with an explanation so just watch the video below…
2. You only need 1 secondary IV tubing set: When it’s time to hang a new one, just lower and invert the existing secondary bag. Gravity will force the fluid into the old bag and flush it out. About 50 ml’s worth should do the trick, then re-spike a new secondary. If you’re changing from one medication to another that’s not compatible, then change the tubing to avoid crystallization.
3. Immaculate shaving cream: If you have a patient covered in BM and it’s stuck in their body hair, lather the affected area with shaving cream, then wipe it off with a wet washcloth. It will come right out. Be sure to avoid sensitive areas like mucous membranes.
4. Toothpaste sandwich: Next time you have a heinous code brown, take 2 preformed masks, spread a little toothpaste on one and sandwich the other on top. When you wear it you will be impervious to stench.
5. Bedpan maintenance: To prevent splashing onto the bed while your female patient is on the bedpan, place a sanitary wipe or disposable washcloth between patient’s legs. Also, place powder along the bedpan before you put in under the patient. It makes for easier extraction and is ideal for heavier patients.
6. Tiny bubbles: If you are priming new IV tubing, clamp the tubing first, then spike the bag and slightly fill the chamber before you commence priming. This will prevent annoying air bubbles from being distributed all throughout the tubing. Also, when you’re priming a pressure bag and tubing for an arterial line, inflate the pressure bag with the fluid upside down. This will force all remaining air out of the saline bag first, followed by the fluid, preventing more bubbles.
7. Phlebostatic axis: When you’re patient has an arterial line, ensure that the pressure reading is always accurate by locking the bed height. This will ensure that the transducer remains at the level of the heart.
8. Climate control: Want to keep your elderly, demented patient exactly where you last placed them? Turn down the temperature in the room and cover them with nice, cozy blankets. They will not want to get out of bed and wander around if they’re super comfy and it’s cold outside of the sheets. They might even sleep!
9. TED talk: Place the plastic wrapper that the TED hose comes in over the patient’s foot when applying the stockings. This prevents sticking and helps them to slide right up. This is especially helpful with edematous legs.
10. Helicopter family: If the patient’s family is hovering like crazy, especially during a procedure, give them a task to perform. If it’s an IV start or something painful, offer them the job of holding the patient’s hand.
These are just a few of the nursing hacks that save time and make a hectic shift more tolerable. There are lots more out there so feel free to visit the Contact page or leave a comment below to let us know about your favorite tips, tricks, and hacks…