Like most nursing students, I knew before starting school that I should invest in the essential: some well-fitting scrubs, a high-quality stethoscope, a small mountain of pens/notecards, and a water bottle. But now, after finishing my first semester, I am smarter. Tougher. More prepared. However, I have realized that there were many items that I wish I had known to bring with me. So here it is, fellow nursing students. A list of necessary insider items you'll definitely need to survive.
- Alcohol wipes. (You will wipe down your stethoscope. Your hands. Your phone. Your pen. Your coffee table. Your shoes. Everything and anything you own will eventually be cleansed with the hospital version of holy water: the alcohol swab. It's best to stock up now and prepare yourself early for the constant impulsive reaction of reaching for a swab to purify said items. Otherwise, you can start to feel as if you can see the bacteria crawling around you. Terrifying.)
- A Shank and/or sword. (The battle for extra credit points can get INTENSE!)
- A Flame thrower. (Please see the reasons for "Shank".)
- Gum. Strong gum. (You will eventually smell a patient, or a patient's clothing item, or a patient's body fluid, or a patient's SOMETHING, and immediately wish you had perfume or laundry detergent or something powerful enough to wipe the stench from your immediate nasal memory. I like gum and/or Altoids to help purge myself of whatever C.Diff-remniscent smell has come into my vicinity. Also, I like knowing that if I have to get all up in my patient's personal space, I have nice breath to harass them with.)
- Elastic sweatpants/yoga pants. (You will stress eat. Accept it now, and buy the appropriate wardrobe preemptively.)
- Pen lights. (This is something you will need throughout your nursing practice for a variety of reasons. It's better to order it now before you need it, instead of doing what I did: hear about it in lecture, panic, scramble over to Amazon.com, and do pretty much everything but promise them my unborn first child if they would just send the thing ASAP).
- Wine bottle opener/cork remover. (No explanation needed).
- Surge Protectors. (Show up to a crowded room full of nursing students preparing for lecture without one and see how far you get in the Hunger Games Style Battle For Outlet Ownership).
- Scissors/Trauma Shears. (These will help you avoid awkwardly fumbling around in the patient's room to open things. You will appear super suave as you pull out your scissors and effortlessly glide through the plastic casing of whatever item you're trying to open. However, I admit that I got these supercool trauma shears that I was SO excited to use...but in the 4 months that I've had them, the only thing I've used them for is to open a Miralax packet for my patient. Sigh.)
- Eye drops. (These will help you go from a sleep-deprived stressed-crazed nursing student to a sleep-deprived stressed-crazed nursing student without bloodshot eyes.)