By Lucy Osborn MACN
This column, The Scrubs that Fit, is all about the highs and lows of being a junior nurse, from the perspective of an ACN Emerging Nurse Leader. The aim of these blog posts is to help ease the transition from university to grad years and beyond. Find Lucy on ACN’s neo and on Instagram @aussie_nurses.
Your first day as a nurse has arrived. It’s all you’ve been thinking about since you found out your application was successful. The following tips are some down to earth advice on what you do and do not need to buy and put together as you travel into the exciting world of nursing, based on my personal experience.
Shoes are going to be your saving grace, you need comfortable supportive footwear. Check your hospital’s policy as some are stricter than others and if in doubt go with the strictest rule. Generally, most places will like black, leather or strong material, waterproof/resistant and no slip. In saying this I currently wear runners to work as I’m not showering patients or exposed to fluids, but never the less I still have a pair of workplace safe shoes at home that I whip out when I need to. The most important thing is that they are comfortable.
Has your workplace contacted you about uniforms? In my graduate year we had to organise our own fittings at the uniform shop. Two sets were free and any extra pieces we wanted we’d pay for. At my current workplace there is a no uniform policy so I can wear free clothes or scrubs. I tend to wear scrubs to keep my home clothes free; this is at my expense but its tax deductible. Have a look at what’s required from where you can start work. If you are looking at acasual pool or agency position, it’s not a bad idea to grab some plain navy scrubs to have handy.
It’s probably my favourite fashion statement. Get yourself a good lunch box, mine has different compartments and it encourages me to bring a diverse range of snacks and food. It also stops me from buying food when at work. This is my current lunch box that I got from Nurses only Club.
Drink bottle and KeepCup
Drink bottles are your second best friend. Have a big and sturdy one to encourage you to drink throughout the day. I have a 1.25L bottle and I always try and finish it within my shift. Also coming in second is my fashionable keep cup. Please don’t go buying ultra-expensive keep cups, because they like to go walkabouts. Just find one you like and that does the job. I’ve currently got a frank Greene, keeps it warm and has my initials on it. ACN have great coffee cups too!
Do you need your own? Sometimes yes, most of the time no. I was lucky enough to be gifted a stethoscope as my graduation present from my family. But to be honest I didn’t use it in my first rotation (surgical), I just used the shared one. But when I started in emergency I found myself using it every 15 minutes so decided to bring in my own. Some departments do not allow you to use your own for infection control reasons —it’s an expensive thing to buy, so wait and see if you need it first.
Sorry everyone, but I’m anti bum bags. Where I work I can’t imagine the type of germs it would gather. I don’t even wear my scrubs two days in a row, let alone reuse something I touch whilst touching a patient. I totally can understand how they are useful and I’m sure there are places where they are. But sorry guys this one is not for me.
Usually your workplace will give you one of these with your ID card, but if you are looking for a way to show your character, grab your self an FOB. Stalls at conferences and expos usually give these out!
Pens and stationery
ONLY BUY A PEN IF YOU ARE HAPPY FOR IT TO GET LOST! I can barely keep a pen for one day at a time, so best just to use the ones provided by your work place.
The most underutilized tool in nursing; a pocket size note pad is a great asset as you can write down things that you are unsure of as they happen. I have many senior nursing friends who still use these and they’re fantastic. You can find cheap ones from places like Officeworks.
At the end of the day, you will learn what you need as you find your feet as a nurse. My takeaway message is not to spend too much money on things before you start.