Can You Correctly ID These Common Pieces of Nursing Equipment?


By: Lauren Lubas

6 Min Quiz

Image: Pixabay by fernandozhiminaicela

About This Quiz

Anyone who has spent time in a hospital knows that a nurse's work is never really done. They are available to patients 24/7 and function as the hospital's first response team in an emergency. While doctors play a significant role in healthcare, it's the nurses who are often seen as the heroes in nearly every wing of the hospital. 

With so much responsibility on their shoulders, nurses require the right tools to complete their day-to-day tasks. These tools range from the simplest of devices that reveal a patient's temperature to some of the most complex machinery used in hospitals around the world. With these tools, nurses save lives, bring comfort to patients and assist doctors.

Whether you're a nurse or not, you probably know a thing or two about some of the equipment that they use, especially the common pieces of equipment. While some of these tools are easily identified, you might find yourself a little stumped when you check out the equipment we found. We found 40 pieces of nursing equipment that every nurse should be able to identify. Do you think you have what it takes to pass this quiz? Warning: we'll start it off really easy, but the questions are going to get more and more difficult as we go.

The nurse listens to your heart with what device?

Nearly every medical professional uses a stethoscope. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most recognizable pieces of medical equipment. Nurses usually have these on hand in case patients complain of chest pains or breathing issues.


This device is a sphygmomanometer. Do you know what it's usually called?

Monitoring a patient's blood pressure is important for a lot of reasons. It can help a nurse determine if more medication is necessary or safe. It can also give the nurse insight into a patient's symptoms and general health.


What is this substance that all nurses must use?

Hand sanitizer is necessary in the medical field. Nurses see many patients with varying degrees of illness, and it is important not to spread germs around the hospital wing or doctor's office.


What is this small but necessary piece of equipment called?

Hypodermic needles allow nurses to administer medications or draw blood. Though they are a great way for nurses to get the job done quickly, they can be a little dangerous, especially if the patient doesn't stop moving during the procedure.


Do you know what this band is?

Any nurse who uses intravenous needles needs a tourniquet on hand. It's a small band that restricts blood flow, making the veins in a patient's arm bulge. This helps the nurse find the vein faster, causing less stress and pain for the patient.


Can you name this device that helps nurses monitor temperature?

Body temperature can be an important indicator of a health problem, whether the temperature is too high or too low. Several types of thermometer are available, and it's rare these days to see a nurse using one that actually goes in the patient's mouth.


Can you name this device that helps a nurse look in a patient's ears?

A nurse uses an otoscope for a lot of different things. When a patient complains of ear pain, a nurse will check out the ear canal to see if anything is lodged in there or if inflammation indicates an infection.


A nurse wears this to avoid the transfer of germs. What is it?

A mask is important protective equipment. Not only does it protect the nurse from infectious disease and fluid particles from people who cough, but it also protects patients from any germs that the nurse may carry.


The nurse taking your information when you arrive at the hospital uses one of these. What is it?

The computer has become one of the most important pieces of equipment that a nurse can use. It is used to record the patient's symptoms and history; this information is immediately available to other medical staff on the network.


Using this convenient object, a nurse records information from the patient into their chart. What is it called?

Medical clipboards can be found in nearly every patient's room. They are durable and give nurses and medical staff the ability to share notes with doctors. However, these clipboards are rapidly being replaced by computers and tablets.


This device can help a nurse see your throat. What is it?

When a patient opens their mouth so that a nurse can examine their throat, their tongue might get in the way. For this reason, the nurse will use a tongue depressor to hold the tongue down while they take a look back there.


These are standard uniforms for nurses. What are they called?

Scrubs are loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that allows nurses and other health professionals to move quickly and efficiently. They also promote cleanliness, for the protection of both staff and patients.


It might look like a pen, but it does so much more. Do you know what it's called?

A medical penlight is used to help a nurse gauge a patient's pupil response or dilation. It can also help medical professionals see into the throat (with the help of a tongue depressor). A penlight is a very common tool that nurses generally carry on them at all times.


Do you know what this bent pair of scissors is called?

Trauma shears are also known as dressing scissors. They have a rounded tip, to avoid puncturing or hurting the patient while they cut through either bandages or clothing. These shears are strong enough to cut through a penny.


Can you name this little tool that goes on the end of a patient's finger?

A pulse oximeter uses light to measure oxygen saturation in the patient's blood. This helps a nurse determine if any additional measures are necessary to stabilize the patient. The device can be attached to a finger, toe, forehead, ear or nose.


What is the name of this piece of equipment that all nurses have?

A nurse can wear pretty much any watch they please. However, some professional and medical watches offer useful features, such as a red second hand to make taking a patient's pulse a bit easier. Some are designed to hang from a pocket or collar, with the face oriented upside-down for easy viewing.


For patients complaining about dizziness and nervousness, a nurse might use one of these. What is it?

Nervousness, dizziness and a rapid heartbeat are all symptoms of low blood sugar. If a patient complains of these symptoms, a nurse would most likely want to test their blood sugar. The nurse would then report back to a doctor regarding what could be wrong with the patient.


Many intake nurses have a piece of equipment like this that holds a lot of different devices. What is it?

A rolling vital signs cart holds all of the equipment a nurse might need. It is portable and hands-free. It contains items that monitor blood pressure, temperature and heart rates.


Known as an IV, what is this device that nurses administer to patients?

If you've spent time in the hospital, chances are you've had one of these in your arm. It is a simple tube that doctors and nurses use to administer various fluids and medications to patients.


Do you know this piece of equipment that nearly all medical staff use?

Health professionals use gurneys for a variety of reasons. They are generally used to transport a patient from one ward to another or take them to and from an operating room if they need surgery.


Though nurses administer medications, sometimes patients are allowed to do it on their own. What piece of equipment will a nurse give a patient to help them manage their own pain?

A patient-controlled analgesia pump (PCA pump) is designed to help patients who have chronic or intense pain. The device ensures that the patient can't overdose, but allows them to administer a pain reliever as needed. This helps nurses avoid repeated trips to a patient's room.


Every nurse who has worked in the pediatric ward has used one of these. What is it?

A bassinet cart is a great piece of equipment for new parents and hospital staff. It is stocked with everything the child needs, and it provides a cozy place for the baby to sleep.


Can you name this piece of equipment that nurses who work with asthma patients use frequently?

A peak flow meter is used to measure the force at which air is released from a patient's lungs. The patient must blow into the device as hard as they can to get an accurate result. Nurses who work with asthma patients usually have these on hand.


You might see a nurse recording numbers from this device. Do you know what it is?

A cardiopulmonary monitor allows nurses to monitor the heart rate, cardiac rhythm and respiratory rate of a patient. This is especially necessary for patients who can't discuss their symptoms with the nurse.


If a patient needs stitches, a nurse might use one of these to assist a doctor. What is it?

A suture tray is an organized set of tools for doctors and nurses to use when giving a patient stitches. It usually includes suture materials, gauze and various other tools that are necessary to ensure a successful procedure.


Do you recognize this piece of equipment that helps nurses monitor a patient's blood?

A blood gas analyzer tells medical professionals a great deal about a patient's blood. While certain devices only tell them about oxygen levels, a blood gas analyzer can reveal the levels of blood oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH, potassium and more.


You may see nurses take blood from this device inserted into a patient's artery. What is it?

An arterial line is also known as an art-line. It is a catheter for the artery. With this device, a medical professional can get blood pressure readings as well as draw blood samples from a patient under anesthesia or in intensive care.


When nurses need to monitor urine, they generally use one of these. What is it?

Foley catheters are used for a variety of reasons. If a patient is bedridden, a catheter is often necessary for proper waste disposal. It can also be used to monitor urine production or to collect urine samples for testing.


Most people call this a feeding tube. What is the actual term for it?

There are two types of tubes that can be inserted and lead to the stomach. The nasogastric tube goes through the nose to the stomach, and the orogastric tube goes through the mouth to the stomach. Both tubes allow nurses to remove contents from the stomach or add contents to the stomach.


Nurses in the pediatric ward use this quite frequently. Do you know what it is?

While most older children and adults can stand on a scale and remain still until their weight is determined, infants aren't able to do so. A pediatric scale allows the nurse to lay the infant down to determine an accurate weight, without disturbing the baby.


If a patient isn't cooperating, a nurse may need to use these common items. What are they?

Restraints are usually made of soft but strong cloth or nylon, allowing medical professionals to keep a patient still while they administer medication or perform a procedure. Restraints are also necessary for patients who do not cooperate with staff, who may harm themselves or who are disoriented.


Do you know what this piece of equipment that helps patients breathe is called?

A nebulizer helps a patient breathe. The device is used to add or remove humidity for the patient as well as administer medication through a vaporizer. A tube connects the base unit to a mouthpiece or mask.


Can you name this device that nurses have to master for patients who have respiratory issues?

An oxygen concentrator pulls oxygen from ambient air and filters out nitrogen, creating concentrated oxygen for the patient to breathe. This helps raise blood oxygen levels for patients with asthma, pneumonia or other conditions.


This keeps blankets warm for hospital patients. Do you know what it's called?

Warming cabinets or blanket warmers do what the name implies — they heat linens and blankets to help keep patients warm. Studies show that patients who are kept warm before and after surgery often recover faster.


When an infant has jaundice, a nurse uses this to reduce bilirubin levels. What is it?

Phototherapy blankets are often called biliblankets in the nursing world. Infants with jaundice are wrapped in these blankets. They provide UV light to help reduce bilirubin levels.


An emergency room nurse might use this. What is it?

Disposable resuscitators are most often used in emergency response vehicles to help patients who are not breathing. However, these devices are also used in hospital settings, for emergencies, for transporting patients who need a ventilator, or in case a mechanical ventilator malfunctions.


This is used for a variety of things. What is it called?

Medical tape is used to hold IVs in place and apply bandages. This essential tool is available in a variety of types. Depending on the situation, the ideal tape should be waterproof, easy to tear or easy to remove from skin.


Most hospital nurses carry this. What is it?

A saline flush is used to clear out an IV, or intravenous line. Without this device, a hospital patient would have to endure more discomfort — their IV would have to be replaced every time it got clogged.


What is the name of this machine that assists with breathing?

A ventilator, also called a respirator, keeps oxygen flowing through a patient's lungs when they cannot breathe on their own. Nurses in hospitals work with these quite a bit, monitoring airflow and patient progress.


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