Nurse Teeny’s Favorite Things

When did it become December???

Not that I’m complaining …we’ve already had our first snowfall (before Thanksgiving, even!). So I’m definitely in a festive mood, what with the perpetually lit fireplace, balsam fir-scented candles, and Starbucks peppermint mochas at my beck and call… 🙂 Pandora is my new best friend while I’m studying – their Swingin’ Christmas station is A.MAZ.ING.

In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d share a nursing-themed “favorites” list. Pass it along to the Santa in your life, or to a family member for Hanukkah gift ideas. Some of these items have already benefited me, and some are on my own wish list for the future…

Give Me Your Tired…Feet

A holiday favorites list wouldn’t be right if it wasn’t topped with my saving grace, Timberland PRO Renovas. You’ve read my reviews, you’ve entered the giveaways, now it’s time for your favorite elf to do you a solid and grace you with a pair of these babies. I’m still planning a rainbow of styles and colors for my closet some day (and according to Facebook, Timberland has some pretty jazzy new looks coming our way soon!)

Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub

When I had to buy my first stethoscope for nursing school, I was overwhelmed by the choices. Luckily my program made some recommendations, and I ended up going with one of the less-expensive Littman models. Now that I’m a “real” nurse, I’ve got a hankering for something even fancier: The Littman Master Cardiology Stethoscope. Drool. Probably don’t need it unless I’m a cardiac RN, but hey, a girl can dream. Nothing like having some extra help to listen for those evasive murmurs… 😉

P.S. If I get my Christmas wish and land a peds job, you can bet I’ll be picking up one of these critters to doll up my existing stethoscope and hopefully invite some smiles.

Books, and Flash Cards and Board Games, Oh My!

With the arrival of December comes the emergence of a new class of new grad RNs, eager to take on the nursing world! I know this cuz I was in your shoes just a year ago! But first you have to pass a little exam called the NCLEX. Ain’t no thang. 😉 I’ll admit, asking for study aides isn’t the most glamorous of holiday requests, but it sure beats breaking the bank.

I highly recommend Saunders’ materials. I gave away my Saunders’ study guides in January, so unfortunately I don’t have them in front of me to do an official review, but I will say this: if you are seeking stimulating content review plus A LOT of NCLEX-style questions, look no further. Saunders is your gal.

If Santa is feeling really generous and wants to buy you a whole review course, tell him 1) he missed my house last year 😉 and 2) He would find Marlene Hurst a kindred spirit…very jolly and loves to laugh. 🙂 I can’t speak for the other classes because I didn’t take them, but the Hurst Review Online prep definitely helped me refresh my nursing brain and put everything together, especially in content areas that I hadn’t touched in several months (Med-Surg, anyone?).

Oh, and if you want to get your nursing school friends in on the holiday action, might I recommend Mosby’s RNtertainment? A group of us had a rocking good time one December evening in 2009, sitting around a table and breaking out this NCLEX-prep board game! We feasted on pizza and Christmas cookies, and argued back and forth over correct answers (which made us better prepared – if you can explain your answer, then you really know it)!

Yes Virginia, There Is An App For That

Gone are the days where we have to stuff our scrubs pockets with spiral-bound notebooks full of drug calculations and rhythm strip cheat sheets. Nursing references have gone electronic and all you need is your smartphone or PDA to have a plethora of information literally at your fingertips. I probably overloaded my iTouch with apps that I’ll never use, but I also can’t count the number of times it has come in handy. Plus, the other nurses have been very impressed with my tech-savvy ways…geeking out over gadgets and knowing your way around software can earn you big brownie points when you can teach those skills to your co-workers. Trust me. 🙂

Some download-worthy apps to consider:

  • Skyscape: Available on several platforms, you download the portal for free and can then purchase 1000s of electronic versions of well-respected nursing references (Davis’ Drug Guide, Taber’s Medical Dictionary, RNotes, Archimedes Medical Calculator, and Mosby’s everything, to name a few, plus tons more!). Multiple options for multiple specialties!
  • Epocrates: Also available on several platforms, Epocrates offers a free drug guide and a premium for-purchase version that includes information on diseases and lab values. Since I have Skyscape, I only use the free drug guide to supplement what Davis’ offers, but it’s an incredibly popular program.
  • ECG Guide: Definitely relied on this puppy to help me interpret some wonky rhythms in the PCU. Ain’t no shame in using the resources available to you! I believe it was $4.99 when I bought it on iTunes (on sale now for 99 cents on the iTouch/iPhone!!) There were multiple ECG apps, but this one got the best reviews from health care professionals and I like that it quizzes you!
  • ABG: Free app that helps you determine acid-base status quickly based on ABG values – if you’re too panicked or in a hurry to do it yourself. Also recommends FiO2 and calculates body surface area, mean arterial pressure and drip rates!
  • Shots 2010: Gives you access to the 2010 child, adolescent and adult immunization schedules in the U.S. The app is free to download, or you can purchase it through Skyscape (see above) and get automatic updates.
  • Kaplan Spanish for Health Professionals: Flash cards (with audio pronunciations) of Spanish health-related terms you may encounter in practice. This would probably be useful if I used it more often and if I had a better foundation in Spanish.
  • MedSpan: Assists you with conducting a health care interview in Spanish, and allows you to enter the answers on your device to facilitate more efficient charting later. A good idea in theory and probably helpful to some, but again I feel like I need more basic Spanish skills before I tackle this.


Graduation is a sacred day for nursing students. It not only signals the receiving of a special pin and movement toward practicing as a professional RN, but it also means shedding those fugly scrubs you were stuck with for too damn long! Am I right?

Whether or not your future workplace has a dress code, the chance to purchase your first non-school-mandated set of scrubs should be treasured and celebrated. What better way to transition from student to professional than to parade through your house in an outfit you picked freely and clearly?

Gift cards are the best way to get the scrubs you want. Most towns will have uniform supply stores, but if you are shopping online, I would highly recommend Tafford Uniforms, Uniform Advantage, and Life Uniform. They all have very customer-friendly return policies and crazy good deals n’ discounts throughout the year if you get on their e-mail list.

The Stockings Were Hung

And then there are the stocking stuffers…

  • If you don’t already have one, get an easy-to-clean watch with a second hand. It will make your life easier, I promise.
  • CPR face shield of some kind to keep in your backpack/purse and in your car. You never know when an emergency will arise. As a trained health care professional, it’s good to be able to step in and still protect yourself.
  • Pocket organizer – save yourself from digging around in those huge scrub pockets and keep your supplies organized.
  • A nurse can never have too many penlights or too many black ballpoint pens (preferably with comfort grip).

So there are some ideas to round out your supplies. I hope the suggestions have been helpful!

P.S. Don’t forget to ask for things that have absolutely nothing to do with nursing. It’s important to find ways to take a break from it all! 🙂

Note: I was in no way compensated by any of the above companies for mentioning their products. I either purchased the above items myself at some point and was pleased with results, or I’m jonesing for them myself. 🙂

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