8 tips and tricks new nurses have gotta read
When you first start out as a nurse, you tend to be in awe of all the little tricks that more experienced nurses have up their sleeves.
I remember the first time I saw somebody pull air out of an IV line with a syringe, rather than unloading the IV set from the pump and dripping out the fluid and air together.
So simple! So obvious! So sensible! So not anything I would’ve thought of myself!
Now I do it all the time without a second thought.
So I thought of putting together a list of tips and tricks for new nurses. Please leave yours below. Maybe we can get a real Trick Wiki going. (What a treat!)
1. Wiping “up” with your last iodine swab before inserting a catheter will cause a woman’s urethral meatus to “wink” at you, so you can see it more easily.
2. If you’re having trouble placing a catheter on a man because of a swollen prostate, a larger gauge will often bypass the blockage more easily than a smaller gauge.
3. The foam boots used for Buck’s traction can be cut down for people with dwarfism. Just save all the Velcro straps and re-wrap them in whatever way works best.
4. If a patient pulls out a PEG tube, you can insert a Foley catheter in its place (provided you get to it quickly enough) to hold the hole open until a new tube’s inserted.
5. If a hot pack doesn’t bring a patient’s veins up to the surface, try alternate hot and cold packing. Sometimes the temperature difference will do it.
6. Lemon juice reduces the need to salt food. This is particularly useful when somebody’s on a low-salt diet. Skip the Mrs. Dash and grab a slice of lemon.
7. Potato chips eaten immediately after taking metronidazole will keep the nasty metallic taste of the medicine at bay.
8. Cold water for blood, hot water for poop, and if it’s got iodine or benzoin on it, just replace it.
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Agatha Lellis