4 Nursing School Hacks from Seasoned Nurses


Nursing school is one of those experiences you just can’t relate to unless you’ve been there. Like childbirth or sitting in one of those 4-hour long timeshare presentations to get a free 3-night stay at The Great Wolf Lodge.

Okay, so maybe the timeshare thing isn’t quite as hard, but you still have to field their sales calls for the next 6 months, so there’s a serious time commitment involved!

On a more serious note, nursing school isn’t for the faint of heart and it requires so much more than a strong stomach. You obviously need to possess the necessary skills to properly perform your job duties. However, you should also learn to build large reserve tanks that are filled to the brim with less tactical things like perseverance and tenacity.

The best way to fill these metaphorical tanks is to make things as simple as possible. This gives your mind the ability to clear out any unnecessary information and make room for the stuff that isn’t in your books. One way to do this is using nursing school hacks! If you haven’t heard the term hack before it just means an easier way of doing and/or remembering something.

We here at Nurse Born love the hacks we’ve invented just for you as well as the ones that got us through school ourselves, so we’re going to share them with you today!


If you’re sick of the constant struggle that comes along with getting IV tubing apart, Gripsors are sure to be your new best friend! These medical bandage scissors can easily grip IV and G tubing apart with ease, saving you lots of time, as well as the frustration that comes along with trying to do it by finger strength alone.

The three newest models of Gripsors also include a hook that can be used for opening saline style vials AND serves as an oxygen key. And just in case that’s not enough for you, Gripsors can also be used to strip electrical wires and even skin a chicken!

The stainless steel construction goes right into the dishwasher, the blunt safety tips prevent reaching hands from injury when stored in the drawer or toolbox/tackle box and they won’t pierce your pocket or your purse. The best part? They were invented by a nurse!

The Reel Thing

Our good friend and fellow RN Donna Bowden told us one of her favorite hacks was to take a pair of hemostats and use them as a tape holder by turning  them upside down, adding a roll of tape, and clipping them to her shirt.

That was before she invented a handy little tool she calls The Reel Thing!

The Reel Thing is a badge reel that has cables that can be opened and closed. This allows items such as tape or scissors to be put on the cables. Then the badge reel itself can be placed on a pocket or waistband. This keeps the things we use the most within reach and easily accessible, without getting in the way of doing our job!

Check out the other great hack Donna shared with us below!  

“I like to tape my Foley tubes to the patient’s leg by putting 2 strips of tape horizontally across the tube about 3 inches apart, then place 2 pieces of tape, one on each side of the tube that went over the other strips. This held the tube in place really well.”

This sounds like a great cure for those rogue tubes we all hate! The Reel Thing isn’t available for purchase just yet, but Nurse Born Products will be a proud merchant of this super helpful tool in the very near future.

Badge Reference Cards

One of the largest obstacles you’re sure to face in nursing school is remembering the heaps of information that’s thrown at you daily. From lab values to vital signs and everything in between there is a LOT to keep track of.

That’s where badge reference cards come in!

These handy little reference cards cover a wide range of information, including:

  • Adult Vital Signs
  • Glasgow Coma Scale w/ AMS & Pupil Tool
  • Healthcare Conversion Chart
  • Lab Values
  • Medication Math & Drip Titration Chart
  • Weight Conversion General Range
  • Adult Vital Signs
  • Pediatric Vital Signs & Developmental Milestones
  • Healthcare Conversion Chart
  • Height & Time Chart
  • 12 Lead Placement Diagram
  • Weight Conversion General Range

Not only are they helpful, but they’re durable and waterproof too, so they can handle everything you’re nursing career will throw their way!

Give Your Shift a Cup of JOE

Our good friend Ben (the same awesome guy who created the mini badge cards listed above) from ScrubPocket wanted us to share another great hack with you as well! Here’s what he had to say about giving your shift a cup of joe:

“When I started ScrubPocket.com a lot of our ideas for cards came from thinking about ‘what does a healthcare professional find themselves repeatedly doing every shift?’  That is how a lot of our cards were created – what do people need to reference routinely but might be a little tough to devote to memory.  Particularly when you are a student and being bombarded by information and everything is new and not yet a routine.  To gain back some of your precious time give your shift A Cup of JOE.  After every shift ask yourself ‘What used a lot of my time today?’  Take 60 seconds to and JOT it down, keep a running note on your phone, or setup a dummy text conversation to quickly text yourself.  Pick the top one or two things – maybe it was searching for a pumps, looking for a slide board/mat, a med calculation, how many centimeters are in an inch, requesting an unstocked med, that computer that constantly crashes, placed on hold with IT, giving report, etc.  After a few weeks OBSERVE see if there are any patterns – if so now it is time to EXECUTE and do something about it.  If the heparin protocol always throws you – was it finding the policy?  Or calculating the equation?  Make yourself a quick cheat sheet of where to get the policy and the major steps.  Practicing the process when you are not “in the thick of it” will help, plus you will have a guide that you can follow next time you need to start a drip.  If it is an IV Pump or other equipment issue start emailing your manager once a week about the problem.  Once they keep getting the emails it will flag for them that this is a real problem.  Bonus points if you can offer a solution, or be part of a work group to think of a solution.  You will gain confidence in your clinical practice, find yourself with less headache during your shift, and have more time for your patients – and all it took was A Cup of JOE.”

While these hacks won’t help you pull your next all-nighter, we certainly hope they make the following day on the floor a little easier! What other hacks did you use to get through nursing school or even still use in the medical field? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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