1) Lotion and hand sanitizer - Hospitals are well-stocked with sanitizer (""foam in, foam out,"" right?), but it doesn't ever hurt to carry extra for emergencies. It's not only important but necessary to disinfect frequently throughout the day, but all that alcohol really does a number on your skin. Dry, cracked hands can be distracting, so make sure to keep some quality unscented hand lotion in your bag for relief.
2) Bandage scissors - You can never find a pair when you need them, so bring your own. These scissors come in handy for a number of things and it never hurts to have an extra pair on hand.
3) Small notebook - At least half of a nurse's life is in taking notes, so make sure you have an extra notebook nearby for backup. Get one with a pen attached and you'll be all set. Now you can jot down anything from reminders to phone numbers and more.
4) Sanitary items - There's no such thing as having too many pairs of gloves, in our opinion. Your nursing bag is a great place to stash extra gloves, cotton balls, masks, shoe covers, gauze, and anything else you might need at a moment's notice when rushing to assist on emergency surgery or unexpected trauma.
5) Stethoscope - We know it's probably around your neck 95% of the time, but when it's not, it should probably be in your bag. You use it constantly, so be sure to keep it close!
6) Snacks and water - Shifts can get very long. Some days, you don't even get thirty seconds for a bathroom break, let alone making sure you're appropriately fed. Stock your bag with lots of easy-to-eat snacks that you can grab on the go and eat one-handed if necessary. Pick items that offer plenty of energy to keep you going, and make sure to stay hydrated!
As you get a feel for the particular needs of your assignment, you'll probably want to add more items tailored to meet those needs. In the meantime, though, this is a solid list of items to keep on hand so you go in prepared. For more advice, keep following the blog!