RN Tools

Registered nurses provide care to patients, assess their needs and maintain their health records. They might also counsel patients on how to manage a health condition or supervise a staff of licenses practical nurses, nursing assistants and clerks. Registered nurses work in a variety of settings, and different settings or specialties can require different tools. However, like those working other related careers to a nurse, some specific tools are commonly used.

Basic Nurse Tools and Equipment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that one of a registered nurse’s job duties is to measure and record a patient’s vital signs. To accomplish this, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and a variety of thermometers (ranging from rectal thermometers to digital versions that are inserted in the ear) are part of an RN's medical equipment list. A watch with a clearly visible dial and second hand is a valuable tool used primarily when taking a patient’s pulse.

Syringes and Lancets

Registered nurses must sometimes administer injections or secure blood samples from their patients, and this requires certain nurse tools and equipment. Syringes are used for both purposes. At times, only a small sample is needed for testing. Lancets can be used to make heel sticks or fingertip pricks to secure a few drops of blood for a laboratory slide.

Patient Care Tools

Nurses must monitor and control the IV drip rate.

Nurses working in a hospital setting might need to place catheters in bed-ridden or unconscious patients. If the patient cannot take or tolerate food, the RN might need to insert a feeding tube so the patient can receive nourishment. Registered nurses might start an intravenous drip, commonly called an IV, to supply fluids to the patient and expedite the administration of injectable medications, which can be introduced via the IV line.

Regardless of setting, RNs sometimes need to use suctioning tools to clear a patient’s trachea, ears or nasal passages. Manual resuscitators can be used to force air into a patient’s lungs if the patient stops breathing on his own.

Technology Tools for RNs

Depending on the setting and duties, nurses might control a variety of technology tools to monitor patients, mentions O*NET OnLine. In the labor room, many RNs attach a fetal monitor to track the unborn baby’s heart rate. Defibrillators are used in emergencies to restore normal cardiac function in patients by introducing an electrical shock. Registered nurses must also possess computer skills to update patient records, prepare schedules or perform timekeeping duties for the staff they supervise.

Protective Gear for RNs

Surgical nurses typically require the most protective gear.

Indeed mentions the importance of personal protective equipment for RNs. While some protective gear is for the patient’s benefit, some is for the nurse’s and some serves both purposes. Disposable gloves help prevent the transmission of communicable diseases between patients and between a patient and his nurse. Disposable protective masks serve the same purpose.

In some settings, a nurse might need a protective mask, typically made of transparent plastic, that covers the entire face and shields the wearer from potentially contaminated fluids. Depending on job duties, nurse tools and equipment can also include disposable shoe covers, gowns and hair covers.