ERNursey has a great post series about her top 10 list of ER equipment. Since I'm working on a couple of bigger posts that aren't ready yet, and since DR and I have had a slew of gigs and things that are keeping me busy, I decided to post about my favorite personal ER equipment. These are all things I keep on me every day that make my job easier:
Mini Sharpie I have two of these--one in red and one in purple. The black ones are very hard to come by! I keep them on a ring that's attached to the back of my ID badge. I use them to write on IV bags (sometimes we're out of IV labels, so I just write right on there). I also write the number of the bag on fluids when I hang them--like "1/2," "2/2," or just #1, #2 etc. so I can remember to keep up with the I&O. Also, they're really helpful when drawing up multiple syringes of meds--like in an intubation. I write the name of the drug and the dosage on the syringe. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but it's great to have something on me that writes on everything. Oh--and in a code, I've been known to use this to write vitals, drugs give, times, etc on the bedsheets. I try to use ballpoint pen when I can for that, though.
Stethoscope uh, duhr. But you'd be astounded how few RNs actually carry their stethoscopes around. They leave them on the desk or on the med cart or whatever. I don't like to leave it slung around my shoulders because the weight of it causes my shoulders to tense up. Weird. So I have a geeky holster that I use. It clips to my belt.
Apron Pocket Thing Speaking of geeky, this is the HEIGHT of geekiness. It straps around my hips. I refer to it as my Bat Utility Belt. But I wouldn't be without it. As a relief nurse, I don't have a set "area" for most of my day; I can't set up a supply cart to my liking. So I carry this instead. It has all sorts of pockets, and two little velcro/snap straps. I have one around my trauma shears and one holds my little tiny Mag-Lite. In the narrow, long pockets, I keep three angiocaths of different sizes; two small flushes, two large flushes, and a pencil. There's a tape loop too. Oh, it's awesome. In the large pocket (behind the one with the flap), I keep two large needles, a supply of alcohol wipes, and some large bandaids. In the little flap pocket, I keep small things I can never be without: a small bottle of 0.4 mg sub-lingual nitro tablets, a glass vial of epinephrine (1:1000, for athsma/respiratory emergencies), lip balm, a tiny pencil sharpener, extra erasers, a three-way stopcock (these are in super-short supply, so whenever I find one I pick it up), and a little plastic dingus that helps open those annoying glass vials (you know, the ones you have to break open without cutting your hands). All this stuff fits in there without any problems. I love this thing. And I don't care that I look like a complete doofus.
Also, I'm seriously picky about pens. Currently I use one of those 4-color ones. But any pen I use has to have black ink (at least), no rubber grip (I stick them in my hair to hold them, and the rubber grip really snags), and has to be a "clicky" type pen.
And that's my must-have equipment list.