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As with all careers, there are some things about being a nurse you just don’t learn in school. Wisdom develops over time – but nurses don’t have a lot of time to spare! So, we’ve compiled a list of 9 tips every nurse should know to help your next shift run smoother.

  1. Remove blood stains with hydrogen peroxide (1)

Blood stains are a reality in nursing, and the best way to remove them is with hydrogen peroxide. Simply work it into wet scrubs, let it stand for a few minutes, then immediately wash it out.

  1. Wear three pairs of gloves (2)

Wearing a second pair of gloves can reduce skin exposure by up to 71% and donning a third pair lowers that figure further. Using different colors for each pair makes holes and tears more visible.

  1. Fight odors with coffee grounds (3)

Unpleasant odors happen, but you don’t need to suffer through them. Add coffee grounds to bedpans and emesis basins or leave a small pot of them in the center of a room to absorb and neutralize odors.

  1. Apply toothpaste between two masks (4)

For those odors that coffee grounds can’t cover, smear toothpaste between two face masks. The paste will help counteract smells, and the second mask will keep it from making a mess.

  1. Dilate veins with a warm washcloth

Infiltration is the most common IV therapy complication. (5) Missing or passing through a vein can cause infiltration. If you’re unable to find a vein, cover the patient’s skin with a warm washcloth for a few minutes; the vein should rise. (6)

  1. Learn breathing exercises (7)

Breathing exercises encourage relaxation, lessen anxiety, increase energy and reduce stress — all huge benefits to nurses and patients alike. One easy exercise to practice and share with patients is inhaling through your nose as you count to five, then exhaling while counting to five again.

  1. Untangle hair with alcohol (8)

Working through a patient’s knotted hair can be difficult and even painful. An easy way to comb out the tangles is to wet the hair with alcohol and patiently comb it through.

  1. Give hovering family members a task (9)

It’s nice to see family members who genuinely want to help, even when there’s not much they can do. To keep hovering family members occupied and ensure you can do your job, send them on a short but legitimately useful errand, like getting reading material for the patient.

  1. Wear an isolation gown for messy meals (10)

Some patients are bound to make a mess during meal time. Before you assist them eat, take a moment to put on an isolation gown like an apron. It will keep food and drinks from staining your scrubs.

If you’re serious about advancing your nursing skills in a convenient and flexible way, enroll in Southeastern University’s online RN to BSN program today.



  1. https://scrubsmag.com/tools/stain-removal/scrubs-stain-removal-101.pdf
  2. http://news.nursesfornurses.com.au/Nursing-news/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CochraneReviwGloves.pdf
  3. https://www.nursebuff.com/nurse-life-hacks/
  4. https://nurseslabs.com/30-nursing-life-hacks-probably-didnt-know/
  5. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3464192?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
  6. https://www.freshrn.com/2014/10/03/nurse-hacks/
  7. https://dailynurse.com/three-breathing-exercises-need-try-today/
  8. https://nurseslabs.com/hair-care-combing/
  9. https://nurseslabs.com/30-nursing-life-hacks-probably-didnt-know/2/
  10. https://www.nursebuff.com/nurse-life-hacks/