What’s in my work bag?

toteEvery  nurse has a bag they bring to work.  The majority of what I see are large totes.  I’ve seen blue, pink and brown.  There was a phase of back packs.  However, far and away most nurses carry something that looks like a bland diaper bag.

That being said, I am in favor of the large tote.  I envy those that only carry a few items.  In truth, I have tried and failed at the small purse.  Today I looked at what I and my favorite nurses carry.


I think this one is obvious.  You have to have your own.  I never think I hear as well when I have to borrow one, not to mention the hassle of it.


I have about 10-15 pens.  That may seem like overkill.  I have my own pens, the one’s I like to write with.  The free ones we all pick up and the one’s I’ve managed to pick up on accident.  I have a terrible habit of walking away with pens.

Make-up Bag

Everyone has their own special items.  I personally have concealer, two kinds of lipstick, two lip glosses and matte powder.  I carry a small thing of hairspray, bobby pins, hair tie and a comb.  I have a nail file.  I do not like hang nails and my hands can get dry with hand hygiene and gloves.

Medical Necessities

This depends on your own medical history, naturally.  I never have met a nurse who didn’t have Tylenol or Ibuprofen.  I also have some of my regular medications, should I have to stay longer.  I also have eye drops and a spare pair of contacts.  (That does not include my glasses.)  The air is dry in medical facilities.


There is probably lotion at the nurses station and where I work, the nurses have their own “special” lotion hidden.  I still have my favorite in a sample size.  I like Eucerin or Alveno.  Right now I am carry Hemp in Coconut.  I love the smell and the way it feels.


Always ready to know when I work next, other appointments or celebrations coming up.


I have my wallet and check book.  I  make sure to keep it secure.  There are times I have to order food to be delivered and need a payment source.  I also carry one or two dollars in cash.

Phone Charger

I communicate with our doctors via my phone.  Some work places have phone chargers.  Mine doesn’t.  After ten to twelve hours at work, it sometimes needs charging.


I not only have my personal keys, but also my work keys.


This is where the girls meet the women in carrying items.  I have enough room for a protein shake or two and a protein bar.  Honestly, sometimes it’s a diet soda or water.  I come prepared to stay hydrated and awake.  It’s almost a treat to have my own flavor.

This list is not complete.  It is fluid.  It varies from day to day.  But for the nurse starting out, it’s a good guideline.  My nurse friends and I have over 40 years of experience together.  I am not ashamed of my big bag.  I carry it with pride.  I hope this helps some or maybe give you a laugh.  I do notice, as most nurses do, I carry more than one of several items.  It’s the same concept as the alcohol pad.  Why take one in your pocket if you may need twenty?


Kristen Palser
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
This entry was posted in Nursing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *