Being a nurse is satisfying work, but it can also be hard. Thankfully, nurses are resilient, resourceful and creative when it comes to creating solutions that can make life easier.
Here are a eight great nursing hacks that you should add to your arsenal if you haven’t already.
1. When Hanging a Bolus...
Whenever you need to hang a bolus by gravity, flip the bag over after you spike it and squeeze the extra air out. That way, when the bag is empty it won’t dry your tubing out. You don’t have to worry about negative pressure in a bag of fluid because the bag has no rigidity. This little trick keeps the line primed between bags if you're hanging multiple boluses.
2. Dealing With Dried Blood
If you have to deal with a patient covered in dried blood, it can be really tough to get off. When hot or cold blood isn’t doing the trick, coat the bloodied area with something like Surgilube, Ultrasound jelly or any other item with a similar consistency and let it sit on the stain for a period of time. Once you are ready to wipe it off, the blood should come off very easily.
3. The Wonderful Hydrogen Peroxide
Another option for removing dried blood is hydrogen peroxide, but it doesn’t stop there. As a nurse, you get all kinds of fluids on your scrubs, including blood. When you get home, just wet your scrubs, splash hydrogen peroxide on the stained areas and scrub those stains right out!
4. Make Things Easier on Autism Patients
Routines and repetitive behavior are comforting tools that help autistic people cope with life, and this information can be used to a nurse’s advantage.
When dealing with patients who have autism, consider keeping the same nurses with them during their stay. Being in a hospital or similar medical setting can be rather jarring for an autistic person and being outside of their usual environment can put them on edge. While this may not always be practical due to staffing issues, many people on the autistic spectrum tend to do better with routines.
5. Save Time By Securing IVs
You can save quite a bit of time by preventing an IV from pulling out. Try to tape on the line right below the tegaderm to help stop pulling. When patients need IVs for a longer period of time, put some tubular net bandage a couple inches above and a couple inches below the IV. This will help patients remain aware of the IV.
6. Stop Your Gowns from Sliding Down
If you’re putting a gown on that doesn’t come with holes, you should add the holes yourself to prevent the gown from sliding down and exposing your wrists and arms when they need to be covered.
As you’re putting your gown on, before you put on the gloves, punch a hole in the sleeve of the at the wrist using your thumb. Leave your thumb in the whole, then put on your gloves.
7. Dealing with Dementia Patients
When you are taking care of dementia patients, make sure to make eye contact, be polite with them, and most importantly, explain what you are doing. As you’re washing them, changing them, treating them, say so often. For example, “I’m your nurse and I’m just cleaning you up Mrs. Johnson.” This help them understand that you aren’t just a random person invading their personal space.
8. Catheters and Male Patients
One of the most uncomfortable things for male patients is getting a catheter inserted, but you have to do what you have to do.
To ease the pain, don’t just lubricate the tip of the catheter, take a syringe with lubricant and squeeze it into the urethra. This will make receiving the catheter much more bearable for your patient.
These are just a few of many nursing tips and tricks that have been learned and shared over the years. If you have any more nurse hacks, please be a pal to your fellow nurses and share in the comments below.