10 Supplies Every Nursing School Student Needs

August 09, 2017

nurse use stethoscope on patient

Everyone knows that nursing school is tough, but having the right gear can make it a lot easier. We’ve done the homework for you by making a list of all the essentials.

10 Nursing School Must-Haves That Totally Make the Grade

1. Comfortable Nursing Shoes

nurse walking patient in nursing shoes

The last thing you need to deal with in nursing school is foot pain. You’ll be on your feet constantly during clinicals, so finding supportive shoes that fit right is imperative. Athletic sneakers are always a good choice, as are clogs — and the perfect shoe for you will likely depend on your personal preferences and needs.

Invest in nursing shoes with functional features like arch support, cushioned insoles and moisture-wicking liners. While you’re at it, pick up some compression socks to ward off varicose veins (yes, this field does a number on your legs and feet).

2. Scrubs

nurse scrub top

Scrubs are a must for every nursing student, and there’s definitely no shortage of options. From seasonal prints to solid hues, you’ll have your pick of scrub uniforms that match your personality, your hobbies — even your eyes.

Play it safe by sticking with traditional hues in neutral color palettes (think white, black, gray and blue, which all work with any professional dress code.) Short sleeve scrubs and scrub tees are smart for layering, while scrub jackets are ideal to have on hand in case you get chilly.

Ultimately, comfort and ease of wear are the most important considerations, so choose soft, stretchy scrubs that are machine washable.

3. A Utility Bag

nurse utility bag

Books are heavy, and nursing students have a lot of books. Invest in a utility bag with plenty of storage space for all your essentials. These designs are easy to transport and super convenient, and rolling bags are even kinder to your shoulders and spine.

Go for a design that’s made with heavy-duty materials to withstand wear and tear, and go for the roomiest style you can so that you can pack your lunch and bottles of water, as well.

4. A Stethoscope

stethoscope on table

As a nurse in training, you’re going to need a stethoscope. A lot of nursing students tend to go for cheaper models to get through clinicals, but it’s best to spring for a high-quality design with better tubing and overall sound quality.

Littmann is a trusted auscultation brand, while Prestige Medical offers good quality with fashionable hues to suit your personality to a T.

5. A Penlight

nurse holding a penlight

Speaking of medical gear, you’ll want to have a penlight on hand at all times for examinations and physical assessments. These handy devices are commonly used during eye dilation procedures or ear exams, and their sleek shape allows for easy handling.

Much like pens, they also get lost fairly easily. Buy a multi-pack so that you’ll have extras just in case, and look for styles that feature clips so that you can secure them to your chest pocket.

6. Bandage Scissors

bandage scissors on a table

One of the least expensive nursing supplies, a pair of bandage scissors is a necessity when it comes to cutting tape, bandages, gauze, tubing, etc. Stainless steel EMT/utility scissors are excellent for clinical dressings and bandage changes, and they cut open packages in a flash.

7. A Planner

nurse planner and calendar

Nursing students are super busy, and planners help you stay on top of your daily to-do list. Find a style you love with a monthly, daily or even hourly layout, and use it to plan your schedule in advance.

If it helps, use different highlighters or ink pens to color-code your days based on the type of task (clinical assignments, deadlines and everyday life responsibilities), and keep track of short-term and long-term goals.

8. Writing Essentials

nurse holding pen

You’re going to be taking a lot of notes, so go ahead and stock up on pens and notepads. Clickable pens will become your new BFFs, because you won’t have to worry about losing their lids and getting ink stains all over your new scrubs.

Smaller notebooks that fit in your pocket are a great option for jotting down reminders, vital signs and info on the go, while Sharpies are a must-have for dressing changes during clinicals.

9. A Wristwatch

nurse holding folder

You’re probably in the habit of checking your smartphone when you need to know the time, but think of how that looks to everyone around you. Don’t set yourself up for people to think you’re browsing Facebook during an important learning experience.

Wear a wristwatch that you can glance at discreetly when you need a time update. These timepieces also come in handy when you need to count pulses. Analog displays are helpful, and water-resistant designs are a smart choice considering how often you’ll wash your hands.

10. An ID Badge Holder

nurse with badge holder

Every nurse needs to have her name badge front and center, but you don’t want it dangling in your patient’s face while you’re trying to master a new nursing technique. Buy an ID holder or pin that clips to your scrub top to keep your credentials on display and out of the way.

Do you have the supplies you need for nursing school? Which items do you use most, and which things should we add to the list? Keep the conversation going in the comments!

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