Slushies for patients who don't want to drink (esp good with kids): Microwave two-three popsicles (unwrapped of course) in a styrofoam cup for about 45 seconds (or depending on your microwave- till they're soft enough to scrape off the stick but not liquefied). Pour in a little Sprite, crush up the popsicles in with the Sprite, you have yourself a very refreshing, rehydrating drink that patients may actually be excited to drink (again I work in pediatrics but everyone loves slushies!!!)
Also... snack, cold drink, etc can make a big difference to patients (who are not NPO/sedated of course!!) I've found that when I have time to take that minute to ask them about that and bring it to them right at the start of the shift, results in a whole new attitude and positivity of interaction that lasts the rest of the shift... I don't know why it works but it seems to!! Which makes the whole shift easier with said patient/family, usually saving time in the long run, even though takes that extra minute at first. Obviously NOT possible every shift by any means, but it is something that if you have time, makes more difference than you might think.
Never run when you can walk... Never stand when you can sit... Conserve your energy!!! :-)
Have your patient gulp ice water (if possible) while you're placing an NG tube.
Make sure at the START of your shift that all emergency equipment you might possibly even remotely need for that patient, is in their room and functional. Such as: suction open with appropriate suction device for patient attached (and saline bullets available, if applicable), oxygen source on with mask available, bag-valve mask if patient has a trach or unstable airway, a new pulse ox probe if the one the patient has is falling apart/not sticking well. Oh and of course a large basin if the patient has ANY hx nausea; NOT one of those tiny little emesis basins but one of the big ones, you know what I mean!
Sometimes taping the med-port shut on a G-tube that is receiving continuous feeds... is a good idea. That sucker can pop open easily on some patients then your formula is all over the bed.
Be sure to unclamp appropriate clamps on feeding tubes, IVs, etc after you start a new infusion or change something i.e. hanging an antibiotic, giving a GT or IV push med, etc.
If you work night shift: Learning how to be as silent as possible with your assessments if patient is sleeping... always have a good penlight you can use for light to see what you need to see.
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check your IV sites regularly, and carefully... infiltrations happen fast and you can't completely prevent them, but being very attentive to the site means you catch it earlier. Also making sure the IV site is as stable as possible helps a lot... as much strategically placed tape, Tegaderm, armboards, etc that will help, different ways of positioning the tubing, etc, though ALWAYS MAKING SURE you can see the site itself to assess it!!!
If a patient (or their parent/family member) says all of a sudden that, "Something is really wrong... I just don't feel right/he just doesn't look right..." PAY ATTENTION bc more often than not, those feelings turn out to mean something (in my experience).
You can never have too many pens in your pockets!!! Those things grow legs. Also, your stethoscope. Keep it with you all of your shift; be VERY wary of "lending" it to someone for "just a minute" you may never get it back haha. :-)
Do your best NOT to let people interrupt you while you are preparing your medications.
I might add more later. Although this post is extremely too long already haha... I like this thread!!