The pocket of a nurse during a shift gets filled with random items and well, some of those items make it home.
1. Juice, Milk, Crackers, and even Ensure. It seems like every facility has these “nutritional staples” to appease the snacky patients. Well, patients aren’t the only snacky ones around. There is nothing like downing an ice cold juice cup after running yourself sweaty at work! And yes, sometimes the Ensure if you’re desperate.
2. Hospital Socks. You know those non-slip socks? Aren’t they great? They are thick, warm, colorful, and…non-slip! And they match your tacky holiday sweaters. Why wouldn’t you snatch one?
3. Alcohol Pads. This you just can’t help. They are ubiquitous, always in your pockets, and really handy! I use them to clean small things that too many people touch – keyboards, phone screens, mouse buttons etc. They’re also great to wipe those permanent marker smudges that seem to get everywhere.
4. Gloves. Always useful as well. If you’ve gotten in the habit of packing extra gloves in your scrubs (disclaimer: not recommended!), you’ll always have some riding home in your pockets too.
5. Pens. Well, everyone steals these.
6. Tape. Paper tape! Silk tape! Plastic tape! There are rolls and rolls of it and it is good tape. It sticks to things and makes other things stick to other things really well. None of that cheap school-grade Scotch for us nurses – it’s hospital-grade we want!
7. Earplugs. Yes, earplugs, if you work in a nice enough facility that offers these to patients. The handly little bullets shrink, stick in your ears, and expand for blissful silence.
8. Handheld Thermometers. I’ve never snatched one of these – and I don’t know of anyone who has. But they always seem to go missing. One can only assume someone is taking them home. Stop it. Whoever you are.
9. The Occasional Controlled Substance. This is not stealing per se. But if you work as a nurse long enough, you will eventually have a medication hitchhike home with you on the bottom of your pocket. If you’re unlucky it would be a controlled substance. But it does happen!