timepiece for nursing

Nurses General Nursing


Hi All,

I'm a nursing student just getting ready to begin my first clinical rotation in an RN program. On my equipment list is a watch with a second hand. I am curious, can I use a digital watch? Do nurses prefer a watch with hands (second hand) and what about the newer watches with both a digital readout and hands?

By the way, I'm new to this forum and have enjoyed it immensely thus far. And so, HELLO!


78 Posts

Buy what you are most comfortable with. You'll be using it to time seconds measuring respirations and pules, as well as counting drips on an IV bag to calculate flow rates. I prefer a sweep/minute hand, as I don't have to touch the watch to initiate counting the seconds. That keeps one had free and you can just twist your wrist and watch the minute hand move.

But, many of my nursing students swear by their digital watches. I've been a nurse fro 15 years, and lvoe the sweep/minute hand features, but that's my choice. Buy what is functional for you.


Specializes in ER - trauma/cardiac/burns. IV start spec.

Get a watch that has second hand it is easier to count while watching hand sweep that way you don't lose track. A dual readout would be OK but make sure your watch is water resistant. You will be washing your hands so much and it gets very hard to remove watch each and every time. In 10 years I have had 2 timex watches and the only reason I had to get the second one was because the plastic watch band hardened and it became very difficult to get off and on.

Good luck. You will do great.


780 Posts

I second the motion of the sweep hand. There are so many stylish watches you can get at a flea market for less than 20 dollars and they kinds look like rolex and seikos. There are also funky ones like with cats and elephants, have fun with it.

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