Do you know first aid, or even have supplies?


I was watching 24 several years ago, terrorists kidnapped an OR nurse because their companion was wounded and "she would have supplies at home."

Wow, another TV show showing stupid medical/nursing information. The nurse is stealing supplies from work? She would have suture, dressing, IV supplies at her house?

I realized how little I have on hand in my own home. I had at that time a small box of plain band aids in various sizes! I would be no more prepared to administer first aid than any person on the street!

I always have to look up what to do for minor burns! (Well, I think I remember that one now...not that my family ever listens to me when I offer first aid advice!)

Our book club read a book who's main characters were nurses. For fun when we met we practiced putting on splints. I had to Google first aid for orthopedic injuries!

Yeah maybe I kind of know some basics....but I still think a boy scout with a first aid badge would be a better go to person than me!

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JBudd, MSN

1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 42 years experience.

I have J&J first aid kits in all my vehicles, and took a First Aid course when I became a camp nurse, because I found out that medsurg nurses are not "first responders". The counselors were really taken aback that their camp nurse was taking the class with them.

I have a fair amount of OTC supplies in the house, since I had multiple Scout troops and was the official First Aider at many overnight camp outs. A Boy Scout that has done his First Aide merit badge is very knowledgeable indeed.

Now that I am in the ED, the first aid stuff is surely a little easier! But the things I would do first in ED require a lot of specialized equipment. None of which (except a BP cuff) do I have at home. So it is back to the basics, ABCs.

psu_213, BSN, RN

3,878 Posts

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 14 years experience.

At home, I have some bandaids and a couple rolls of medical tape that escaped from work in my pocket (accidentally, not stolen). That's basically it. I probably should have more of a first aid kit, but bought from the drug store…not assembled from products taken from work. Along the line of thought, it definitely would not include a suture kit, derma bond, angiocaths/IV supplies.

Specializes in PACU. Has 6 years experience.

We only ever had the stuff my mom brought back from the hospital by accident in her pockets, which amounted to about a ton of gauze and a ton of tape. Maybe a band-aid.

Personally, I have first aid supplies out the wazoo in my apartment. I teach First Aid to lifeguards and other staff and always need it on hand anyway.


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

I had just moved into my new condo and was there for maybe 3 months. I was leaving my place to go to work, when my leg felt funny. I looked down and noted my right pants leg to be grossly soaked with frank blood. Made it to the bathroom and stripping off my pants, I realized a superficial varicose vein had abraided and was spurting away, like a little Old Faithful geyser.

I managed to get to my living room desk and grabbed the scotch tape and with more toilet paper to make a bandage. Didn't have any ice trays but I was able to grab a bag of frozen veggies from the freezer. With a plastic trash bag to protect my bed from the blood I was finally able to properly apply pressure, elevate and chill my leg.

With some help, I made it to an ER where they treated my leg. They must have really, really felt sorry for this nurse with my fancy schmancy toilet paper/scotch tape bandage and frozen peas. They made me up a first aid kit to manage at home until...

I had just moved in - didn't think about first aid stuff. I have stuff now.

And to JBudd - be careful about your first aid kits. In hot summer and cold winter weather, the contents can dry rot. You need to check them.


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

Having been a Navy corpsman and a first responder, and with a husband who was a paramedic and now provides medical supplies for first aid kits, we have a lot of stuff on hand, and we know how to do a lot of that stuff.

Tenebrae, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,807 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative. Has 11 years experience.

I have a fairly well stocked first aid kit. Used to have loads when I worked as a district nurse, as we were allowed to take the cars home (containing our kit) which had everything from catheters, dressing packs, a whole oodle of dressings, drain canisters and replacement packs for VACs. It really sucked having to go back to the office in the middle of the day to get stuff

As for first aid, many nursing jobs here require a first aid certificate. Work usually pays for it


5 Articles; 4,547 Posts

Specializes in critical care.

I have a reasonable collection of stuff that would be good for wounds. Not sure I'd be much good on broken bones, but I can definitely do wounds, big, small, deep, and superficial. I do wish I had suture kits and lidocaine, and I'd love to learn how to splint fractures.

I know first aid. I do not stock much of a kit at home, save for band aids. I should probably make one up, as more than once I've had to punt, MacGuyver style with odds and ends.

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 8 years experience.

As I'm a Paramedic, I definitely know first aid... and at times have been authorized for my full scope of practice while off-duty. I rarely have more than a basic first aid kit nearby though. I also have LOTS of education as an athletic trainer... so first aid, EMT, and most of the Paramedic stuff was more than easy. Never did get any first aid training in nursing school though.


74 Posts

Specializes in Emergency room, Neurosurgery ICU. Has 10 years experience.

My hubby (Army Veteran of Desert Storm) and I hike/camp, so we have quite the first aid kit, varied sizes of sterile gauze, steri-strips, butterfly band-aids, assorted bandaids, kerlix rolls, hemostats, tweezers/forceps, ACE wraps, finger splints, various tapes, scissors, sterile and non-sterile cotton swabs, betadine, alcohol wipes, varied antibiotic ointments, silvadene cream, superglue (works quite well in place of dermabond in a pinch, and is MUCH cheaper), epi-pens (we have 3 beehives, so we keep them on hand, just in case), "break open" hot and cold packs, Vetrap (self adherent bandage) works great for pressure bandages, various size safety pins, razor blades, possibly a scalpel or two, penlight, stethoscope/BP cuff, tourniquets. I stock/rotate out a varied supply of benadryl, baby aspirin, tylenol and motrin, and sterile saline eye drop individual packets and hand sanitizer and liquid soap (these work in a pinch to irrigate any wound).Bottled water and hand sanitizer and liquid soap.

I think there are a few OB tampons (regular), as those can be used to stop a gushing nosebleed until able to get to an ER, (tape string to side of face).

We also have water purifier tablets in there as well as candles with waterproof matches and a zippo lighter. I am sure there are other things in it, as I haven't checked it recently. Between his combat experiences and my having worked ER, we both know first aid quite well.

I know how to splint a fracture well enough, until one can get to an ER for further evaluation.

(I have 3 sons, all were very active little boys and I learned quickly what we needed to go to ER for and what I could manage at home with a little ingenuity!)


74 Posts

Specializes in Emergency room, Neurosurgery ICU. Has 10 years experience.

oh, and gloves, there are various sizes of non-latex exam gloves in it, too! Much of this stuff can be found online, just search for military surplus medic kit... some can be quite pricey, but when you figure the cost of finding the stuff individually, it generally is well worth it. (particularly if you camp in the middle of nowhere, or like to take long out-in-the-boonies motorcycle rides as my husband and I do)