10 Essential Hacks Every CNL Nurse Should Know

Although the role of Clinical Nurse Leader is still relatively new, the practice of sharing nursing hacks with fellow colleagues has been going on for generations.

These are the kind of essential tips that make CNL nursing easier, while also improving care coordination and patient outcome, no matter which of the various practice areas you’ve chosen to work in.

From ways to avoid the spread of infection to handy patient-care tips, read on to learn the top ten nursing hacks that every CNL nurse should know.

1. Remove Bodily Fluids

Blood, vomit, feces – nurses see it all. And a lot of it gets left behind on clothes and skin.

Dried blood can be particularly tricky to remove, even with wet wipes. But coating the area with lubricant before you begin wiping will make it easier to loosen the dried blood.

If you get blood stains on your scrubs, try rubbing it with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. This bleaching agent is usually easy to find in most hospitals or clinics, and it works well to remove blood stains from fabrics.

For removing stubborn feces, lotion works well. In certain cases, such as when a patient has a C. Diff infection, it can be hard to remove traces of feces from the skin. Apply lotion to a wet wipe and the task will get a lot easier.

And, if you have sticky feces stuck to your skin, shaving cream works well to loosen and remove it. Apply a generous layer of shaving cream to your skin then wipe it off with a wet cloth and the feces should be gone.

2. Mask Bad Smells

As well as having to remove every bodily fluid imaginable, nurses have to put up with some seriously bad smells.

You’ve probably got used to most of them, but sometimes it can get too much. If you start to feel nauseous, apply Vicks rub or toothpaste between two masks. Breathing in the menthol or minty scent will protect your sense of smell.

And toothpaste is also effective at removing odors from hands. After some smelly bedside care, rub toothpaste between your palms to remove the bad smell and leave your hands with a fresh minty scent.

3. Handy Thumb Hole

Isolation gowns can sometimes slide down your arms, making them less effective at protecting you and your patients from cross-contamination.

Stop this from happening by creating thumb holes in the sleeves of your gown. Place your thumbs in these holes before putting your gloves on and your sleeves will stay perfectly in place.

4. Syrup Syringe

If you’ve ever had to give a suspension or syrup to an uncooperative pediatric patient, you know that it can get messy.

So, instead of trying to administer the liquid with a spoon or medicine cup, use a syringe barrel to aspirate the medication from the bottle. It will then be much easier to give it to the patient without spills.

5. “P” Is for “Proactive”

If you need to collect a urine sample and blood from a pediatric patient, kill two birds with one stone by placing a urine collector on the patient before they go for blood analysis.

Most children accidentally pee when their blood is taken, so it’s a good opportunity to be proactive and get a good urinalysis specimen at the same time.

6. Double Catheter Insertion

After inserting a Foley catheter in a female patient, if you can’t get a urine flow, don’t remove it and get another one.

Instead, while the first catheter is still in place, insert the second one, but aim higher. This way, you’re less likely to miss the urethral opening again.

7. Fake a Pulse Check

Often without realizing it, some patients can react to medical checks and impair results, as demonstrated with ‘white coat syndrome‘.

When a patient is aware that you are observing their respiratory rate, they become conscious of their breathing. In some cases, they might even hold their breath or try to control their breathing.

To avoid letting them know that you’re checking their respiration, pretend that you’re taking their pulse. This way you’ll get a more accurate result.

8. Stethoscope Safety

A day in the life of a clinical nurse leader can be extremely varied. But, keeping abreast of patient tests and stats is crucial, as is knowing how to ensure extra caution is taken with some patients.

So as not to transfer infection, put an examination glove over your stethoscope before you use it on the patient. Then, once you’re done, you just need to remove the glove and discard it.

Gloves work well as they are thin enough to ensure that you can hear sensitive sounds through the diaphragm, but are also thick enough to cut down the risk of infection between patients.

9. Vein Dilation

Even the most experienced nurses can have trouble finding a good vein on some patients when prepping for an IV insertion.

To make it easier, place a warm washcloth over the preferred insertion site. This helps to dilate blood vessels so you’ll be able to pick a good vein for the IV line.

10. Nasogastric Tubes on Ice

No, it’s not the name of a crazy new cocktail. Soaking nasogastric tubes (NGT) in ice before you insert them is a great nursing hack. That’s because a chilled NGT reduces the unpleasant feeling when the tube is inserted, and the process is a lot easier too.

An alternative option is to put the NGT in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes before you need to insert it.

Your Guide to Essential CNL Nurse Hacks

As a CNL nurse, it’s important to foster a healthy team dynamic. And one of the best ways to do that is to lead your team by example by showing them innovative ways to ensure optimum patient care and safety.

And with these kinds of nursing hacks, you’ll also help to encourage your team to look for more efficient methods to complete tasks themselves.

For more information about CNL degrees and career opportunities, contact us with any questions or queries.