RN Shift Essentials

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You know that feeling when you get on the unit and then realize:

  • you left your lunch on the counter
  • you can’t find your favorite water bottle
  • or the barista messed up your coffee order
  • or you’ve already lost your favorite pen!


I swear sometimes how you start your shift can really dictate how the rest of your twelve and a half hours is going to go. I try to have my bag pre-packed with everything I’m going to need and I like to get to work at least 15 minutes early (we’ll see how long this lasts, LOL!).

So, you already know which bag I carry to work, but what’s on the inside? I made a list of all of the things I try to make sure I bring with me for every shift. Do I forget my pencil bag sometimes, or my water bottle? Yes, of course. But on a good day- below is the list of exactly what I carry in my work bag (and yes, I use them all).

Tools You Probably-More-Than-Likely Need As A Nurse:

  1. Tommie Copper compression socks– ALWAYS!
  2. Gray jacket by Patagonia
  3. 32oz Hydraflask (most of us need to get about 64oz of water a day so I try to fill my Hydraflask twice)
  4. Littman Infant Stethoscope
  5. Angled utility scissors, hemostats, and straight scissors (I carry my own because for whatever reason, we can never find any on the unit when we need them!)
  6. Mini USB lamp (sometimes we keep it pretty dark in the NICU and I can’t see the keyboard on my WOW so this tiny lamp is perfect)
  7. Chapstick
  8. Silicone wedding band (ordered from Amazon)
  9. Pencil bag with my favorite pens (in red, blue, and black) and a highlighter
  10. Hair tie, scunci no-slip grip headband, and a mini hair clip
  11. and my favorite scrubs of course!


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