5 Things Every CNA Must Have

The job of a CNA is a hard one.  Long hours on your feet all day and night, heavy lifting and pulling, not to mention keeping your cool when caring for confused or angry patients. With all these challenges on the job, what are the most essential things to bring to work with you every day?

1. Good Shoes

Being on your feet all day means it is essential to wear a good pair of shoes.  If you can, invest money in your shoes, and make sure to try them out in the store.  If you add up all the time you spend in your shoes, you would be shocked!  Nothing is worse than working a 12-hour shift and having sore feet!  And while you’re at it consider getting a pair of support hose.  You may not have varicose veins now but your middle-aged self with thank you for it in the future!

2. Pen and Notepad

There is nothing more valuable on a nursing unit than a pen.  They are absolute gold when you can find one, and there is nothing more frustrating than looking for a pen when you need one.  If you make it a policy to always start the day with a pen or two in your pocket, you should be able to make it the whole day without that frantic search.

A notepad or scrap piece of paper is always a good thing to have on hand.  You may think you will remember that vital sign or what time you sent someone for an x-ray, but believe me, there is a lot you forget when you finally get the chance to sit down and chart.

3. Painkillers

Between headaches and sore backs, you never want to be without your favorite painkillers!  In many units, the nurses are not allowed to give you even Tylenol and Advil and going through your shift with a raging headache is no fun for anyone!  Keeping a small bottle of Advil or Tylenol of whatever OTC painkiller you prefer in your purse is essential to surviving your shifts!

4. Water bottle

Ever get to the end of a 12-hour shift and realize that the only thing you had to drink that day was that cup of coffee in the morning?  It happens all too often, you are too busy caring for other people to take care of your own needs!  But staying hydrated is essential to surviving a long shift, especially a night shift.  If you buy a cheap water bottle or tumbler that you can carry with you throughout your shift you can keep track of your water intake more easily, and also not worry if that water bottle goes missing.

5. Watch

A cheap watch with a second hand is essential if you need to take a pulse, or just to check the time.  Expensive or fancy watches are probably a bad idea since they will be wet all day from repeatedly washing your hands or be exposed to hand sanitizer on a regular basis.  Hand sanitizer is the best way to dull a beautiful watch or ring!  Plus watches can harbor bacteria or viruses which you could potentially pass from patient to patient.  If you can, keep the watch in your pocket or even better buy a watch pin that you can pin on your scrub top.

With these 5 essential items, you know you are prepared for anything on your shift!