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Are you ready to nurse those summertime injuries?

Are you ready to nurse those summertime injuries?

So you are the nurse in the family. Most people probably assume you are ready at a moment’s notice for anything from a gunshot wound to bug bites. But, while some of you have probably stashed a few trauma-worthy items in your house or car, at least a few of you are… well… a little unprepared.

Maybe you aren’t a trauma junkie, but you know some basic first aid. After all, as a nurse, you are pretty good at keeping people alive. You don’t need much to get the job done, but you do need some basics. Unlike at the hospital, supplies aren’t just down the hall. So let’s figure out what you need to get the job done.

First aid kit for the house.

You have a bit more space here so, think creatively. There are plenty of kits available, but be warned, many come with less of what you need and a lot of what you will probably never use. You can start with a kit, or if you have a nice bag, create your own. Half the fun is making it fit!

To start, you will need:

  • Bandaids of at least three sizes
  • Butterfly closures or these cool laceration closure devices 
  • Non-stick gauze pads and gauze pads. (Gauze for active bleeding, non-stick for bandaging, so your kid doesn’t lose it on you when you try to take it off.) No wet-to-dry dressings here, folks.
  • Coban/gauze for wrapping. (Let’s be honest, Coban is way more helpful)
  • An elastic bandage or two
  • Medical tape
  • A set of high-quality tweezers. Those plastic ones are terrible.
  • A set of trauma shears
  • Neosporin
  • Alcohol pads or betadine 
  • 84 mg Aspirin
  • Motrin/Tylenol
  • Sting/bite serum or hydrocortisone cream
  • Benadryl
  • Aloe Gel (bonus points if you keep it in the fridge)

The majority of home emergencies can be handled with those supplies. Of course, adding emergency numbers to the kit may be a helpful reminder. You know, just in case your spouse or kids aren’t quite as calm, cool, and collected in the face of trauma.

Now let’s talk about your car. 

Depending on what you do for fun or where you travel, these objects may need some adjustments, but generally speaking, you should start with the same base in your home kit.

Add a few other things to make your car a safety net:

  • Motion Sickness pills
  • Vomit bags
  • Safety Pins
  • Hair ties (okay, not an emergency, but you’ll thank us later)
  • Flashlight
  • Instant cold pack
  • Nitrile gloves
  • CPR Mask
  • Triangular bandage
  • Emergency blanket

If you do specialty items like biking, camping, or hiking, you may want to beef up your kit a little bit. Remember, you’ll need it on your person and not in your car when disaster strikes. Consider adding a compass, clean water straw, and an all-purpose utility knife. If you are a hunter or gun enthusiast, consider adding a clotting sponge and pressure dressing. 

This seems like a lot of equipment, but if you stock all your kits simultaneously, you are likely to find some good deals. Much of the first aid equipment has an expiration date several years after purchase. Just make sure you keep up on the medications. If you have more than one car, you need more than one pack. You can see some more samples from the American Red Cross here.

Don’t forget to replace what you use. A little bit of preparedness goes a long way in an emergency. Take a look at the kind of hazards you are likely to encounter around your house and in your activities. Even nurses who aren’t that adventurous will eventually be the first responder to a bee sting or a little toe injury. Ouch!

Amanda Ernst, DNP, RN, CEN

Amanda Ernst, DNP, RN, CEN


Amanda is an ER nurse with 10 years of healthcare experience. She currently works as a nurse educator and as an adjunct professor for several schools. She also works as a freelance healthcare writer in her spare time. Amanda thinks the greatest thing about nursing is the endless possibilities and opportunities to learn. What have you learned today?


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