Nurses Tools of the Trade

Last updated: February 19, 2019
Published 3:23 am

A nurse’s tools of the trade include as great a variety as those of any profession if not more. Being a nurse means that on any given day, you have to be ready for whatever may be thrown at you.  One day, you might have a light patient load while the very next day you might be overloaded with patients.

The role of the nurse has grown exponentially since its conception by Florence Nightingale. Yet, in the basic sense, nursing has and always will be about patient care and to do this nurses are armed with tools.

Hand Washing
Nurse washing hands

The first tool you need as a nurse is a good defense. Any nurse will tell you the first thing a nurse needs to do is wash their hands.  It has been proven without a doubt that hand washing is the single greatest thing you as a nurse can do to prevent the spread of infection.


To help you complete a patient assessment, the nurse needs their trusty stethoscope.  The stethoscope hangs around a nurse’s neck much akin to a badge when seen by patients.  It is as much a symbol as much as a tool.  With it a nurse can identify various illnesses including respiratory distress, gastrointestinal sounds, and even cardiovascular dysrhythmias.

Pin Light

Next a nurse needs a pin light. This tool helps a nurse to determine any neurological deficits that might be related to head traumas.


Like any professional, a nurse has to be dressed for the part.  As a nurse, you need to be able to wear something comfortable because most nurses work for twelve or more hours.  It was sometime in the late 1970’s. The nursing profession switched over to scrubs, moving away from the white dress and cap.  Scrubs have become as synonymous with nurses as bread is synonymous with butter.

Shoes for Nurses

The shoes come next. And any nurse will tell you after a long shift that having comfortable shoes make all the difference.  Comfort is not the only concern, but also having shoes for nurses that are easily cleaned are just as important.  Running shoes have become extremely popular in the nursing world.  It almost goes without saying that upon entering a hospital, you are going to see more than one or two nurses wearing running shoes.  Nursing clogs have also become popular due to how easily that they can be cleaned and sanitized.

Electronic Medical Records

In modern times, a nurse has to be able to not only take pen and paper notes. But now has to have computer skills with the emergence of Electronic Medical Records.  Almost every state has now passed laws that require medical facilities to have electronic medical records.  This shift, while met with some resistance by old school nurses who prefer the pen and paper method, has come to stay.

As you can, tell nurses need just as many tools as any carpenter in order to perform their job functions.  This should come as a reassurance though. Because all  of these tools are geared toward one thing–keeping you or your loved ones alive.