9 nursing life hacks I wish I could actually use
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“Life hacks” are little tips and tricks that are supposed to make your life easier and more organized. I’ve seen a few designed for nurses, but most of them are written by non-nurses and thus don’t make much sense. Here are my own (satirical) ones that I wish I could use on the job:
1. Buy matching everything in multiple sets. Seven sets of the same scrubs, along with a couple of bags of bulk socks, means never having to think about getting dressed at 4 a.m. Even better is scheduling all your days in a row. That way, you don’t have to shower. Just get up every morning, deck yourself out with air fresheners and head into work.
2. Fill an insulated drink bag like the kind bicyclists wear…with coffee.
3. Indwelling catheters attached to leg bags are easy to insert at the start of your shift and save valuable peeing time.
4. Squeezable yogurt, applesauce or baby food pouches can get you through a long day. If they’re good enough for Ironman competitors, they’re good enough for you! Also, talk to administration about setting up marathon-style water stations midway down each hallway on your unit.
5. Pack animals can be invaluable. Certification for an assistance animal means you and Hootie the Miniature Donkey never have to visit the supply room for an IV start kit again: Just load up his saddlebags at the start of the shift and go!
6. Training a small monkey to chart for you is an energy-saving move. Plus, you get to say things like “Bongo! Chart this for me!” Just make sure your computer charting program has spell-check, and watch out for phrases from Shakespeare.
7. Chutes and Ladders isn’t just a children’s game. Using a slide—or a fireman’s pole—instead of the elevators can cut the time it takes for you to get out of work.
8. Don’t waste time on makeup and hairstyling. Buy Halloween masks in bulk to use throughout the year. Especially good are Disney Princess and Lord Voldemort masks.
9. If all else fails, don’t despair: You can always do your rounds on roller skates after moving all of your patients out into one hallway.
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