Nurses commonly use simple diagnostic tools to measure a patient's vital signs, such as stethoscopes, portable glucometers, blood pressure monitors, portable pulse oximeters and thermometers, according The Nest. Hospital nurses are often trained to operate in-room equipment and may possess credentials for more specialized machinery.
Some equipment is very basic and is often carried on a nurse's uniform at all times. Examples include a pen, watch, stethoscope and penlight, explains The Nest. Hospitals, quick care clinics and long-term inpatient facilities such as nursing homes often have rolling vital sign carts on hand that make it easy for nurses to move between rooms with a multitude of diagnostic tools that measure pulse rate, blood pressure, temperature and oxygen saturation. In specialized facilities, nurses must be familiar with tools such as wound drainage systems, intravenous infusion pumps, analgesia pumps, ventilation equipment and blood gas monitors.
The Houston Chronicle explains that nursing staff are often heavily dependent upon complex computer systems that manage patient records, employee scheduling, medication dosages, timing details and supply ordering. Computers are also used by medical staff for research and communication purposes. For this reason, nurses must be computer literate and detail-oriented. Nurses often use bar-code scanners to identify the correct medication to administer to patients.