Match the Right Nurse’s Watch to Your Personality
There’s no way around it, as a nurse you have to keep time like accountant billing against the clock. Every second matters.
There’s no room for the nurse who wants to use a smartphone for managing time. [Insert: raucous laughter] Who has a hand free or time enough to pull out a phone on the run, wake it up, and then read the clock?
That’s impractical, not to mention impossible in workplaces where cell phones are forbidden. You’ve gotta go with an actual watch.
Picking the ideal timepiece setup to match your style can be fun. After all, other than your stethoscope, what other way do you have to let patients know what you’re about?
Crazy-patterned scrubs? Perhaps, but perhaps you’d prefer something a little more subtle? Like carrying the right pen, a watch can say so much about a person.
Whether you prefer the fob watch, the wristwatch or the pocket watch, there are further customizations to each watch option to let the world know what you are about. That’s the centre of our bullseye.
The classic fob watch
There is no watch setup more classic than the nurse’s fob watch. Across nursing roles, it’s the single most universally functional design.
- The fob watch is always where you need it, in view.
- You get hand’s free time.
- Fob watches don’t smash against door frames and desks.
- The fob is tough.
Nurses have always appreciated that reading the fob watch while on the run is as easy as glancing down.
In case you’re unfamiliar, the fob positions the face of the timepiece upside down, easily read when leaning forward by glancing towards your chest. Sly nurses recite the time as if it’s come to them in a vision, “the time is now…” making only a brief glance down.
Further reading: Why Nurses Can Tell Time Upside Down
Within the category of the fob watch, as with any watch, there are several variations…
Clip-on fob watches
For the nurse who doesn’t want to poke a hole in every pair of scrubs, the clip-on fob is a good way to go. Sadly, clipped versions are less common than the pinned ones.
Swiss Medical Clip Watches, yes really made in Switzerland, are a good example of a clip watch that clips on and stays on all shift long.
Stylistically, they’re simple, as in Swiss-simple. That just means all the non-simple stuff is where you can’t see it.
The watch face itself is eleven crystal clear numbers (the 6 is where the date appears) and 60 pips in a ring around the face to count the minutes or seconds.
The one in our catalogue also features a ring of corresponding heart rate data to help you make quick estimates.
Pin fob watches
If you don’t mind pinning your fob to your lapel, there are way more options. Pin fobs have a safety pin which you can thread through your uniform in the preferred location.
If you'd prefer a more fixed version, look at the one from Classique, which moves much less. You’ll pay more for a pinned fob like the Classique, but you get Swiss movement and a rose gold option. Not all pinned fobs are metal, though.
Silicone fob watches
From the front, the silicon fob watches look clean and simple. They pin to your lapel like the watches mentioned in the last section, but they look like they’re floating.
What nurses who prefer the silicone fobs like is that they allow you to change the look of your watch as often as you’d like.
There are almost 40 different colours and patterns available, and swapping the face into a different silicone case takes about 20 seconds. You can change the look of your fob as often as you change your socks, which is hopefully often.
Both allow you to swap your fob colour as often as you like. The quartz face is little more rugged, though.
The simple nurse’s watch
Some nurses prefer to wear a timepiece they can wear outside of work since a fob looks a little silly pinned to your t-shirt when meeting friends for coffee.
In this case, you could go with just about any wrist-worn timepiece that fits your preferences, but there are wristwatches made specifically for medical professionals.
Swapping out a few key numbers for medical symbols, the Prestige medical symbols watch makes a subtle statement to the observant.
Traditional wristwatches DO offer versatility in time-telling, but they require an attentive mind.
If you’re apt to bang your arms into objects as you work, you’ll damage your watch. Consider your grace under pressure before going with one of these watches.
Also, consider that checking the time will always require you to lift your arm to your face on top of looking down.
Why pocket watches don’t work well
From time-to-time, stylish nurses decide they’re going to go the fashionable route by donning the pocket watch.
Once upon a time, these were lovely timepieces for rail station-masters to wear, and they’ve enjoyed their day in the sun as casual fashions come and go, but as a functional nursing watch? We can’t recommend it.
Donning a pocket watch is the low-tech version of using your smartphone to tell the time. It’s messy. You’ll always need a hand free, which works in some nursing roles, but not in most.
Alternatively, if you absolutely can’t imagine wearing a fob or wrist-based watch, you might consider a stethoscope watch.
There is one made by Prestige which adheres to the back of your stethoscope. It won’t be as convenient as a fob, but at least you won’t have to dig in your pocket to fish it out.
Think about it...
What if you have biowaste on your (gloved) hands? Do you really want to fumble around in a pocket watch at that case? Will you really have time to wash your hands to tell the time?
Don’t forget watch batteries
Last comment… don’t forget the batteries. Unless your ideal set-up is a crystal-powered watch, there’s a good chance you’ll need batteries for your watch.
Even if you plan to have a watchmaker replace the actual battery, we’d recommend you have the replacements you need on hand to avoid paying the markup from the watchmaker.
The answer to the question on your mind (why?) is that when your watch battery goes, you’ll not want to wait for a second longer to have it up and running. Otherwise, you’ll be at the whims of whoever carries the exact battery you need or you’ll be waiting for an online retailer to ship it to you.
Reading your timepiece is a mindless activity you will miss sorely when your watch is dead.
Have extra batteries. Keep them in a sealed plastic baggie in the refrigerator, and stay ahead of time.
If you’re still not sure, pick up a simple silicone fob watch with some colour options to start. You can always upgrade to something fancier later or build a collection of timepieces to wear depending on your mood.
This is your touch of uniform whimsy. Choose wisely.