As a new nurse, you want to be uber-prepared, ready for anything and super organized. Part of that is having a functional work bag stocked with things you may need during your grueling 12-hour shifts. I use a Timbuk2 bag, but any bag with lots of pockets and such will do. So, what’s in my bag?

  • loads of black pens
  • one lonely red pen for noting orders
  • one multi-color pen
  • a dry-erase marker for the white boards in the patient rooms (sometimes we run out)
  • highlighters for making note of important items on my report sheet
  • alcohol swabs (from emptying out my pockets at the end of the day)
  • toothpaste (I have a toothbrush in my locker at work….but that’s a whole other post)
  • 5-hr energy drink
  • Lara Bars
  • stevia (gotta have that coffee!)
  • end caps (also from emptying out pockets)
  • 3 penlights that broke almost immediately (WHY IS THIS???)
  • 3 hemostats (one has no teeth)
  • scissors
  • end-of-shift gum (for pleasant report giving!)
  • a pair of compression stockings for those tired legs
  • hair clips and bobby pins
  • cough drops
  • miniature sharpies that hang from my ID badge holder
  • girlie supplies
  • a teabag or two
  • back-up glasses in case I have to take out my contacts
  • customized post-it notes with my daily To-Do list on them (more on this later!)
  • a mechanical pencil or two
  • eye drops
  • pepper spray for that walk out to the parking lot after dark
  • Aveda breath refresher drops (remember all that coffee???)
  • stethoscope
  • ID badge
  • emergency $20

So…that may seem like a lot of stuff. I keep it organized by using smaller bags inside to keep things tidy. Here’s a couple of pics…what’s in your bag?

Inside of my work bag...all tidy!

Inside of my work bag…all tidy!

The outside…I keep scissors, hemostats and my go-to pens in this outer pocker.