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6 Ways Nurses Goof Around with Medical Equipment During a Slow Work Day

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By Kristen Smith, R.N.

“Slow” days at the workplace are few and far between. But nurses have to find ways to entertain ourselves and make the minutes tick by more quickly. When the chitchat has died down and all the fine details of everyone’s weekend has been told and retold, what better way to make the hours go by than to play with all the interesting medical equipment? Admit it — you’ve done it, too! A respiratory therapist has left an intubation tool behind at the desk or a ENT left their gadgets with the LED lights on them. Good harmless fun, right? Here are a few ways a nurse will goof around with medical equipment on a slow day.

1. Check pulses with the Doppler.

We’ve all grabbed a handful of cheap lube packets from the stock room and practiced finding pulses on one another! Truthfully, once I even tried to find a fetal heartbeat on a pregnant coworker. (We never found it.)

2. Take our own vital signs.

To add more realism to the roleplay, why not dress up as a patient! Image via: smugmug.com

Of course, if someone isn’t feeling well, we check a set of vitals. But even when we’re bored, we will sometimes do so. It’s fun to hold our breath as long as possible to see how we can get the pulse oximeter to read. Don’t even act like you haven’t done it! I bet you’ve even run down the hall while holding your breath!

3. Weigh ourselves on scales.

And weigh using the old-fashioned scales, not the digital ones. Sometimes, we may compare our weights using the two scales, because why not?

4. Make balloons from gloves

Who doesn’t love making balloons out of gloves and putting faces on them? Image via: Pinterest.com

This skill isn’t known just to pediatric nurses. Faces can even be drawn on the balloons. Competitions of who can design the goofiest balloon face are not out of the question when boredom takes over.

5. Experiment with the hospital beds in empty patient rooms.

So many buttons. It’ll be a waste if we don’t press them all! Image via: Pinterest.com

How else would we know all of those weird settings, right? Some examples are: the chair setting, the max inflate, how to extend the length for tall patients, and how to Trendelenburg a patient to make an easier time of sliding them up in the bed. It’s also a bonus to know just how to make our patients comfortable!

6. Wheelchair/Rolly Chair races

YouTube video

Long hallways are the best places for wheelchair or desk chair races. Warning: These are best done when patients are sleeping and cannot walk out in front of you.

So, there are six ways that nurses may goof off with medical equipment. It may have been a while since you’ve had a slow work day. But when we DO have those days, we need something to entertain us to get us through those long shifts!

Medical equipment can have multiple uses, right? What ways have you goofed around with medical equipment on a slow day?

I am a full-time registered nurse, wife and new mom. I've recently started writing part-time and I love it! My family is my life. I enjoy spending time with them in my free time.

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