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Creating a Nurse's "Mobile Office"

Nurses Article   (7,860 Views 12 Replies 783 Words)

cjcsoon2bnp is a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Emergency Nursing.

8 Articles; 24,643 Profile Views; 1,156 Posts

Nurses are busy healthcare professionals, often have multiple commitments (school, work, volunteering etc.) and being unprepared is not an option. Creating your own "mobile office" is a great way to always have your essential equiptment close at hand.

Creating a Nurse's "Mobile Office"

Nowadays it is not uncommon to see students who work or volunteer while in nursing school and nurses in practice who have more than one job or have returned to school to further their education. When trying to wear so many different hats, we are bound to slip up once in a while, and there are few things more embarrassing than showing up to work or school unprepared.

I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten a piece of equipment (ID badge, stethoscope, reference guide, etc.) and it has completely thrown off my entire day. However, I know I am not alone and after a countless number of such blunders, I finally came up with the solution to this problem. My solution is the nurse's mobile office so that when I drive from one job to another or from teaching a class to being a student, I am fully prepared for any situation.

Some of this may seem like overkill, but if an instructor ever called you out because you were not fully prepared for a clinical or had to change your clothing mid-shift because of a massive explosion of a stranger's body fluids, then you might consider this to be valuable advice.

What is the mobile office and why do I need one?

In my mind,the mobile office is a mix between an emergency survival kit and a home office. When people think of a mobile office, they imagine someone in a power suit sitting in the back of a town car with a laptop, cell phone, and printer. However, while most nurses do not need that level of mobile business power it never hurts to have your essential supplies on hand at all times. What will distinguish this from just throwing a spare uniform in the back of your car is that this can be used to regularly store a variety of school and work items and what you put in the kit can be easily change to meet your needs on a daily, weekly or semester-by-semester basis.

How should I organize my mobile office and what things do I need to include?

How you decided to organize this will be up to you, as long as it meets your needs and remains functional then the sky is the limit. It can be as simple as having a spare gym bag or backpack in the backseat of your car or can be a covered storage bin that has divided sections for your different needs.

When designing this kit, you need to ask yourself the following questions

  • How much space do I have in my vehicle?
  • How many roles/positions do I need this for?
  • Do you have one job or multiple jobs?
  • Are you a student?
  • Are you an educator?
  • What do I need versus what would be nice to have?

Personally, I use a small plastic storage bin that I keep in the trunk of the car. Here is a list of what I pack in my kit, it may be more or less than what would meet your needs but could be a good starting point.

  • Single change of clothing (spare work uniform, pair of socks and underwear, cheap shoes)
  • Basic but functional stethoscope
  • Cheap wristwatch
  • 2 - 3 black pens
  • $10-20 cash (hidden in the shoes)
  • Spare phone charger
  • Protein bar and bottle of water
  • Three small/pocket references guides (diagnostic testing, pharmacology, and physical assessment)
  • Small blank notepad
  • Lab coat(either hung up on a rack or neatly folded in the box).
  • (Add-In Items - Only As Needed)
  • Specific textbooks (if I am going to the library or anticipate that I will need them)
  • Spare laptop charger (I typically bring my laptop for anything related to school, I will usually pack the spare into my kit for long school days)

For some people, this may serve more for emergency purposes and only be opened or used when you are in need of backup equipment. For others, this can be a way to routinely organize things that are work or school related so that they do not get damaged, lost, moved, or mixed amongst groceries, shopping bags, or items belonging to your kids/family members.

So allnurses readers, tell me if you have a mobile office/survival kit and if so, what do you include in it?

cjcsoon2bnp has been a registered nurse (RN) for six years and his specialties are emergency nursing and psychiatric/mental health nursing. He recently completed a MSN in Nursing Education degree and is currently pursuing a post-graduate certificate in family nurse practitioner (FNP) studies. He also teaches as an adjunct clinical instructor and is interested in problem-based learning, ethical dilemmas in nursing, and promoting success in the workplace through professional mentorship.

8 Articles; 24,643 Profile Views; 1,156 Posts

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33 Posts; 846 Profile Views

This is so true. In my car I keep:

normal clothes, gym bag, volunteering uniform, work1 uniform, work2 uniform. +snacks, chargers, water, pens, watch, all id badges, gloves etc (pocket stuff to move between uniforms in a shoebox) notepad, gigantic first aid kit, pillow, blanket.... when I was at uni also had uni stuff and library study box. This car is my life and essential for double-triple shifts I do sometimes :)

all organised in plastic bags though, can't be bothered making it pretty. I'm

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cjcsoon2bnp is a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Emergency Nursing.

8 Articles; 1,156 Posts; 24,643 Profile Views

This is so true. In my car I keep:

normal clothes, gym bag, volunteering uniform, work1 uniform, work2 uniform. +snacks, chargers, water, pens, watch, all id badges, gloves etc (pocket stuff to move between uniforms in a shoebox) notepad, gigantic first aid kit, pillow, blanket.... when I was at uni also had uni stuff and library study box. This car is my life and essential for double-triple shifts I do sometimes :)

all organised in plastic bags though, can't be bothered making it pretty. I'm

Excellent! It sounds like you are definitely well prepared with what you store in your mobile office. There is nothing wrong with plastic bags, it's about what works for you and its function. Making it pretty isn't bad but it shouldn't be a hassle for you either ;)

!Chris :specs:

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134 Posts; 3,780 Profile Views

I have one too. I carry a Medical bag where I can keep all my nursing equipment plus first aid equipment (i.e., bandaids, ace bandages, compression gauze, etc). I am hoping though to transfer the bag to a backpack for more equipment needs.

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cjcsoon2bnp is a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Emergency Nursing.

8 Articles; 1,156 Posts; 24,643 Profile Views

I have one too. I carry a Medical bag where I can keep all my nursing equipment plus first aid equipment (i.e., bandaids, ace bandages, compression gauze, etc). I am hoping though to transfer the bag to a backpack for more equipment needs.

I really like the addition of the first aid equipment, I never thought of that for this particular use but its a great idea.

Keep the good ideas coming!

!Chris :specs:

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NurseKellyKMo specializes in Home Health; Hospice.

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I'm so glad that someone took the time to share what they carry on a daily basis. I've been trying to assemble my things in an orderly fashion. I'll be starting my second ever full time RN nursing job at a local nursing facility. I'll be working 12 hour shifts 4 days a week, so I've been stressing over what things to keep with me for emergencies, school, etc. I got on another forum for Every Day Carry (EDC) and there were nurses on there with similar lists/pictures of what they carry for their EDC.

My question is - how many of you carry a bag of some kind - be it a backpack or tote into your actual place of work? Seems like I need a million things at work and I always feel unorganized and feel like a total noob rustling through my backpack for things I need for every day use. If you do carry a backpack into work, what do you put in it?

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I keep forms, stethoscope, bp cuff, thermometer, lysol wipes, fanny pack, toiletries, money, pens, clipboard, snacks and water and gum. I also take into work place a skinny backpack to keep all my belongings, lunch.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

166 Articles; 21,045 Posts; 191,663 Profile Views

I'm an APRN and I carry a leather purse/tote with:

laptop (apple 11" macbook air) with charger

ipad mini

Littman 3200 electronic stethoscope

Wallet

Pens

Then, in my car I have several small zipped bags:

Xtra BP cuffs

Baby wipes

Xtra stethoscope

Because I'm also on the fire dept - I keep a turnout bag in my car also with my turnout gear in it.

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Mommavik has 32 years experience as a ADN.

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I used a rolling cooler (soft sides upright) similar to a small duffle. Since I worked different jobs I had my laptop, snacks, extra clothes (those were in the car) my record sheets (to record my times, duties performed, etc. , stethoscope, BP cuff, SAT monitor, extra pens, tools that I might need (portable dialysis machine needs adapter to connect) and extra connectors, caps in case the facilities didn't have them in stock

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cjcsoon2bnp is a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Emergency Nursing.

8 Articles; 1,156 Posts; 24,643 Profile Views

I used a rolling cooler (soft sides upright) similar to a small duffle. Since I worked different jobs I had my laptop, snacks, extra clothes (those were in the car) my record sheets (to record my times, duties performed, etc. , stethoscope, BP cuff, SAT monitor, extra pens, tools that I might need (portable dialysis machine needs adapter to connect) and extra connectors, caps in case the facilities didn't have them in stock

I really like the roller cooler as a storage tool. I was actually thinking of getting something similar because if you need to take your supplies out of the car to your destination or inside the house to refill the container it is much easier with wheels and a handle.

Thanks for sharing the idea with all of us.

!Chris :specs:

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Mommavik has 32 years experience as a ADN.

55 Posts; 826 Profile Views

Yeah it worked well, had a zippered compartment in the top that I used to bring a frozen dinner ,drink or small amount of snack food. The lower area I used for most of my supplies, then it had a small zippered section I used for small supplies such as pens tools connectors, stretchy panel for bottled water, etc. The fact that is was rolling made it easier for me; only had to lift it if I was on uneven ground and into my car. Wheels big enough stairs weren't a problem either

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Kitiger has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics.

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First aid kit in the car has the extra medical supplies, like gloves, masks, basic stethoscope, BP cuff, bandages, tape, whistle, pencil & paper, etc.

In the winter, I carry a cloth grocery bag in the car with warm clothes, hats, gloves, mittens, warm socks, etc., and I also keep a blanket in the car.

Fat, waterproof folder in the car has extra blank charting forms. I work for three agencies, so that's a lot of forms. I carry at least enough to cover what I might need on my shift, plus extra physician's orders, nursing flowsheets, nurses' notes, and MARs for each agency.

Knapsack with a lot of pockets gets carried into the home (I do private duty/peds). In this I carry:

Flashlight and small fan with extra batteries, stethoscope

Pens, pencils, sharpie, highlighter, comb, nail clippers, flat sewing kit, baggie of gloves, facemasks, small calendar (yeah, I don't like it on my phone), small pad of paper, Post-it notes, ID badges, paper clips, Scotch tape and small hole puncher (to repair loose-leaf papers), a couple of folded plastic grocery bags

Thin, plastic folders, one for each agency, with any forms or instructions I might need.

Small pouch with thermometer, see-through plastic ruler, glass nail file, small screwdrivers (to replace batteries on the toys), eyeglass repair kit

I wear street clothes in the homes, and I choose clothes that are light-weight and wash easily. If ... something ... gets on my pants, I go in the bathroom, wash it out, wring it out with dry washcloths (that I carry) and put the pants right back on. Within an hour, they are dry. The wet washcloths go in a plastic grocery bag. I always have a few with me.

Baggie containing meds I might need (Check with the mom first; do her kids get into things?) If the knapsack isn't secure, I'll just carry meds in a fanny pack. There are a couple of meds that I really should keep with me, and not in the car.

My lunch goes in one of the pockets. I also carry a small container of my coffee mix (one part each coffee, cream, 'sugar', cocoa) and a spoon. I can heat up water and make a cup of coffee easily.

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