Believe it or not, an ice cube might seem like something only fit for drinks, but it can provide some useful lifehacks for nurses. Its use doesn’t stop at relieving fever, pain or bleeding. It has many other surprising uses in making everyday nursing tasks simple and easy.

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Bear these in mind:

  1. Masks the taste of medicine

It’s often a challenge to give medicine to pediatric patients as they usually resist because of the unpleasant flavor of medicine prepared as syrups or suspensions. Trick these kids by letting them suck on an ice cube or some crushed ice first before giving their medicines.

Ice helps to numb the tongue and confuse the taste buds. It masks masking the taste of drug syrups or suspensions. If not contraindicated, you may also add sugar in the water when making their ice cubes, so that children can better tolerate the more bitter-tasting medicines and the aftertastes.

  1. Take the pain out of removing splinters.

When removing a splinter, applying an ice pack directly on the site will help to lessen pain. This tip is especially useful for pediatric patients.

Ice provides a numbing effect similar to that of topical anesthetics. Before removing the splinter, it is best to put the ice pack on the affected area for about ten to fifteen minutes to numb the area.

  1. Soothe stressed, tired eyes

Do your eyes feel heavy and irritated? Just put a small ice pack over your eyes for a bit and relieve the heavy feeling around the orbital area.

You can also place ice cubes in a soft cloth and use it as your ice pack for ten to fifteen minutes. This trick also helps to relieve a tension headache or if you’re just tired and worn-out from a harrowing shift.

  1. Easier nasogastric tube insertion

It’s easier to insert a silicon-type nasogastric tube by leaving it in ice cold water for ten to fifteen minutes before you try to insert it. Silicon-type nasogastric tubes are soft and flexible. Once soaked in ice cold water, the nasogastric tube becomes rigid and it will be easier to insert into the nasopharynx.

  1. Resolve urinary retention

Applying ice packs alternately with lukewarm-soaked gauze over the suprapubic region is helpful in resolving acute urinary retention among postoperative patients reduces the need for urinary catheterization. You can also use ice packs and hot water bags alternately over the suprapubic area to encourage urination.

  1. To stop bleeding

One of the most tried and tested lifehacks in all households when someone is cut is just to apply an ice pack over the affected area for fifteen minutes every hour until the bleeding stops. This trick is also helpful in decreasing bruising.

  1. Stain removal.

Keep scrub suit stains from settling in by rubbing an ice cube over the stains. The ice cube helps to loosen up the stain from your scrub suit’s fabric so it will be easier to wash off with later.

You can easily do this trick while charting so that afterward, you can just have a quick 2-minute break to wash your stained suit in your area’s sink.

Tips on Using Ice in Nursing Care. 

  1. Wrap the ice in a cloth– Never apply ice cubes directly to the skin. If applied directly, it can cause some nasty burns and even frostbite. Always wrap the ice in a soft cloth, and use it as an ice pack in this way.
  2. Rub a small amount of baby oil over the skin area where the ice pack will be used– Ice can alter the skin integrity so for protection, it is best to apply a small amount of oil onto the skin before you apply the ice pack.

The oil provides a thin film-like protection over the skin cutting down the risk of developing burns or frostbite. Just make sure that the skin is intact and free from cuts before applying any oil.

  1. If the skin is broken or if there are wounds/stitches in place, wrap the skin in a strong, thick plastic bag – This trick prevents the broken skin from getting wet while using the ice pack. Make sure that the plastic bag is clean or if possible, it should be sterile to prevent the development of infection. Using a cling wrap in lieu of plastic bag is also helpful.
  2. Assess the patient’s skin frequently– When using ice packs, always assess the patient’s skin frequently to determine the presence of compromised skin integrity. If the skin where the ice pack has been used appears bright pink or red, remove the pack immediately and reassess after an hour. But don’t keep applying the ice pack if the area seems to be compromised by its application.
  3. Ice can be left on the skin for a maximum of thirty minutes– There is no known benefit in leaving the ice pack over the skin for more than thirty minutes. Ideally, it should only be used for ten to fifteen minutes.

These ice lifehacks for nurses are great tricks to help make daily nursing life easier. There are even more nursing lifehacks around as nurses are naturally resourceful when maximizing the nursing care, they are doing for their patients. Ask your older colleagues about them and you’ll be surprised at how easy a nursing task can be simply by using nursing hacks.

If you have any more ice lifehacks, share them in the comments below. Anything to make the job a little easier.

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