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Ask a Nurse: What Are the Must-Have Gadgets as a Nurse?

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN
Updated March 1, 2023
    Check out these must-have gadgets that can help improve the administration of patient care and make nurses' shifts run more smoothly.
    Credit: Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

    In our Ask a Nurse series, experienced nurses provide an insider look at the nursing profession by answering your questions about nursing careers, degrees, and resources.

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    Question: What are the must-have gadgets as a nurse?

    Healthcare technology continues to evolve and improve how patient care is administered. Increasing efficiency and effectiveness can also influence patient outcomes. Technology has helped improve healthcare, but it cannot replace nurses.

    The human touch continues to be vital to patient outcomes. No robotic device or smart bed can offer what nurses provide every hour they are on and off duty, because we know that nurses continue to provide care to their families and friends at all hours of the day and night.

    Monitoring devices, electronic health records, and telehealth are just a few advancements affecting nursing roles and healthcare. While these technologies are institution- or practice-wide applications, other technological advancements have produced must-have gadgets for nurses.

    As part of our “Ask a Nurse” series, we asked healthcare professionals for the must-have gadgets for nurses. Consider how you can leverage the power of these gadgets in your practice.

    9 Must-Have Gadgets for Nurses (According to Healthcare Professionals)

    Eko CORE Digital Attachment

    The Eko CORE Digital Attachment is an addition to your regular stethoscope that converts it to a digital stethoscope. The attachment is placed between the tubing and the chest piece of a stethoscope.

    Brian Clark, BSN, MSNA, is the founder of United Medical Education. “Its features include noise cancellation technology, 40X amplification, and supports live streaming for telemedicine applications,” he says.

    Livescribe Echo 2 Smartpen

    This must-have gadget for nurses gives the flexibility to write notes, and it records everything you say and hear. You don’t have to be concerned you’ll miss an important detail. If the information is said aloud, the pen records it.

    The Echo 2 by Livescribe will playback your notes directly from the pen from internal speakers or it can be paired to your Android or Apple device. You can also send your notes over email or save them to your favorite cloud application.

    Veinlite EMS Pro Vein Finder

    Veinlite carries several devices that are clinically proven to improve your ability to find an appropriate vein. To visualize the vein, the devices use transillumination with either red or orange LED lighting.

    The EMS Pro Vein Finder also acts like a tourniquet and keeps the vein from rolling during a stick. The company has a device for infants to adults with a far higher success rate for first venipuncture sticks than without the device.

    LED Wearable Light by First Lifesaver

    Working nights can be challenging. You want to keep the room dark so the patient’s sleep is uninterrupted, but some tasks require lighting. Gatty Chavarría is a registered nurse who prizes having a hands-free light during hectic night shifts.

    “To provide hands-free lighting, this wearable emergency lamp simply hooks into your scrubs. This straightforward and inexpensive device is readily cleaned and can be very helpful during hectic shifts,” she says.

    MUAMA Enence Smart Language Translator

    This handy palm-sized device lets you speak in real-time to anyone in 36 different languages. Once you have downloaded the app to your smartphone, you speak into the device and your conversation is immediately translated into the language you choose.

    Press the microphone button and let the other person speak. You’ll hear the translation back in your language. This little gadget works far quicker and more effectively than Google Translate when you’re speaking with and teaching patients.

    Steering Wheel Desk Tray by EcoNour

    This is a must-have for nurses working in home healthcare or hospice. The device clips to the steering wheel of your car, creating a handy desktop for your laptop or for grabbing lunch on the go.

    The tray is two-sided — one for food and the other for your laptop. It’s flat and easy to store when it’s not in use. It is slim, sturdy, lightweight, and ergonomically designed for mobile workers.

    Upright GO 2 Posture Corrector

    Nurses understand the importance of proper posture, but knowing and executing can be two different things at the end of a long shift. The benefits of maintaining proper posture include a lower risk of back pain, better digestion, and greater confidence.

    The Upright GO 2 device is cordless or can be worn like a necklace, with the movement sensor resting in the middle of your upper back. It connects to an app on your smartphone and gives you real-time feedback on your posture.

    Ampule Opener

    Old-school gadgets can be just as helpful as digital devices. In this case, Clark says a simple ampule opener can protect your finger. He says, “This gizmo helps break open the ampule easily and protects the finger.”

    Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle

    Brittany Ferri, Ph.D., integrative mental health, notes that self-care is vital to providing good patient care. “You need to stay hydrated to think and move the best. Self-care is the only way you can keep helping others, so drinking water and staying energized is important,” she says.

    The insulated, double-walled, stainless steel water bottle by Iron Flask comes in various colors and sizes from 12 ounces to 64 ounces. The water bottle is BPA-free and keeps liquid cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours.

    In Summary:

    • Healthcare technology continues to evolve and improve the way that patient care is administered.
    • Yet, technology cannot replace the human touch and care provided by inpatient and home healthcare nurses.
    • These must-have gadgets for nurses include the Eko CORE that inserts on a standard stethoscope to transform it into digital readings and the Livescribe Smartpen that acts as a pen while recording everything said in the room.
    • Nurses working with a diverse population should consider the MUAMA Enence, which is a palm-sized device designed to help you communicate in 36 languages.
    • Other gadgets include a wearable posture trainer, steering wheel desk, veinlite, and wearable light for night shift nurses.

    Meet Our Contributors

    Portrait of Brian Clark, BSN, MSNA

    Brian Clark, BSN, MSNA

    Brian Clark is a certified registered nurse anesthetist and founder of United Medical Education. He noticed a lack of instructional material on the internet on important emergency lifesaving techniques and decided to do something about it. He founded United Medical Education in an attempt to provide free, clear, and comprehensive education and certification for students.

    Portrait of Gatty Chavarría, RN

    Gatty Chavarría, RN

    Gatty Chavarría is a registered nurse. She loves talking to others about Medicare and helping them understand their options. Her goal is to make sure that everyone has access to the best possible healthcare, regardless of income or background.

    Portrait of Brittany Ferri, Ph.D., OTR/L

    Brittany Ferri, Ph.D., OTR/L

    Brittany Ferri is an occupational therapist and the owner of Simplicity of Health, a writing and consulting company. She has experience in program development, behavioral health, and pediatrics. She is also the creator of Social Fly — a social and motor skills curriculum that teaches kids about disabilities. Ferri has published four books and frequently guest lectures in OT/OTA programs. She has also been quoted as a health expert by NBC News, WebMD, CNN, and other outlets.