There are a lot of things to prepare for when gearing up for nursing school. Housing, tuition, and academic concentrations must be sorted out before arriving on campus.
Of course, the list doesn’t end there. Nursing school demands certain supplies, and not all of them are as obvious as you may think. From backpacks with wheels to the right style of scrubs, the number of things you’ll need for nursing schools may surprise you.
Check out our original guide to nursing school supplies and essentials for more information on what will help you get through the journey.
50 “Must-Have” Nursing School Supplies Every Nursing Student Needs
The Right Scrubs
We’re kicking things off with your everyday uniform. That’s right, scrubs. Landing the right pair will secure your comfort throughout the day. That’s certainly something you want to get sorted before spending long days on your feet and at the hospital.
The right pair of scrubs will also help you present yourself as a professional to patients, coworkers, and potential employers. Remember, when you aren’t doing clinical rotations, you’ll be interviewing for long term positions. In these instances, appearance matters.
It might take some time to find the right brand for you, so plan accordingly. Aim for something comfortable; not too loose, but not too tight either. Get a good start on your first day with the right fit.
Here’s another not-so-glamorous but oh-so-helpful item to consider. Compression socks can significantly reduce the amount of discomfort a nursing student will feel by the end of their shift.
Compression socks provide the support that helps reduce soreness, improves swelling, and protects against varicose veins, blood clots, and other conditions that can be caused by spending too much time on your feet. This is an important addition for a nursing student as well as a professional.
Flesh toned underwear
As a nurse, you’ll have to rush around so much as it is. The last thing you need to worry about is whether your underwear is showing through your scrubs. But that could be a concern and one that would make you look more comical than professional.
Getting a pair of beige, nude, or dark brown-toned underwear would help you look neat and well put together. It’ll add extra support. We’re recommending ExOfficio, particularly because these are full-cut, mesh briefs, sure to keep air circulation going. And they’re antimicrobial.
These will also make you feel confident. Just make sure you get a pair that fits well and is comfortable to wear.
A face mask has become an essential component of our daily lives today, mostly due to the coronavirus outbreak. But this isn’t a new practice for nurses and other medical professionals. It’s very important to wear a good quality mask that covers both your nose and mouth to avoid the spread of diseases.
An added benefit is that a mask can protect you from air pollution, too. And they come in whites, nudes, and other light colors that make them easy to clean. Add a mask to your nursing student supplies list – it’ll come in handy!
Essential Nursing Supplies
A stethoscope is one of the nursing school essentials that both doctors and nurses need. It helps in listening to lung sounds and the sounds of different organs, including the heart, intestines, etc. This is a good indicator if something is wrong. It’s also used in checking blood pressure.
You should get a durable stethoscope that produces high-quality sound. Find one that is versatile enough to be used to detect normal and abnormal rhythms.
Make sure you get a strong and sturdy stethoscope case in which you can protect your special stethoscope. It’s a bonus if you find one in which you can put in other supplies too. Get one that’s easy to clean and lightweight but long-lasting. This is a good case to add to your nursing school supplies list.
Stethoscope Identification Tag
An ID tag provides easy identification of your stethoscope. It will help you put down your name or other personal information on your device. A good tag should be easy to engrave on. Select tags that will help you personalize your unit, differentiate it from that of your classmates, and keep track of too!
Also known as a nursing watch, these devices allow nursing school students to keep track of time when providing medication to patients on a scheduled basis. They also help nurses perform other duties, including recording vitals, conducting pain assessments, lab charting, and more.
Many institutions will include this item in their required nursing school supply list.
Figure out which watch face is right for you. You might want one that follows a 12-hour cycle or one that displays the military time. Smartwatches like Apple watch and FitBit are also becoming increasingly popular across the field. Do a little research, and purchase accordingly. You could check some of these out too.
Pocket Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer kills up to 99% of all the microscopic bacteria and germs in your surroundings. This is very important to protect your own health since you will have to work with sick people the entire day. A pocket hand sanitizer is convenient and portable.
Choose one that moisturizes your hands, is natural and non-sticky, and offers a fresh fragrance.
A hemostat helps control bleeding. It clamps and holds blood vessels so that the wound can be cauterized. You can also use it to move small objects, like pieces of bone in a wound. You can find either a curved version or a straight one.
This device is used to measure the blood pressure of patients. It’s also very important during a nurse’s clinical rotations. There are two types of Sphygmomanometer – a mercury column and a gauge with a dial face. Choose what’s more apt for you.
Nursing students need to keep washing their hands over and over again. This can make your hands dry. The best preventive measure against chapped skin would be to keep a small bottle of moisturizing hand cream with you. It’s steroid-free and will keep your skin soft and heal any flaking or cracked skin.
As we mentioned earlier, nursing school students have to spend a lot of time on their feet. With that, it’s no wonder why so many put a good pair of nursing shoes on their supply list.
There may be certain guidelines in place that outline what kind of shoes you can wear, so check with your school before making a purchase. Some of the most popular brands include Dickies, Nurse Mates, WorkWear, Dansko, and Alegria.
A good nursing bag will help keep many nursing supplies and other items organized and in place. It’s so important if you have to undertake clinical rotations. Make sure you get easy to clean and durable bags to keep your supplies secure and safe too!
Check these out; they’d be a good addition to your list of nursing school supplies.
A backpack is especially useful to keep your study guides, college assignments, laptop computer, lab coat, badge clips, and other supplies for nursing in. It’ll come in handy and convenient, making your life easy as well as keeping the innumerable nursing school supplies safe.
Badge Clip or Lanyard
A lanyard or a badge clip is a cord or strap worn around the neck to carry items such as identification cards with your personal information like phone numbers, keys, etc. Badge clips are really helpful and come in different styles, too – choose the one that best suits your needs.
You can keep your personal information listed down on a name badge card, such as your designation, phone number, blood type, and other essential personal info. Badge cards help patients and the hospital staff members to recognize you.
Also, it’s a quick introduction for your patients when they first meet you! You can even personalize your badge card and make it unique!
Not all scissors are created equal. Nursing scissors not only allow individuals on the job to open packages easily, but to safely remove gauze and bandages as well.
Apps and Electronics
This is an atlas that shows you human anatomy. It is extremely essential for nursing students – in school as well as when you’re outside doing your clinical rotations. Instead of carrying around the actual atlas, you can download an app on your phone for easy access.
This is a cool app that helps you save a lot of time. It lists out FDA approved prescription drug information, formulary and includes interaction check, pill identification, and clinical practice guidelines. It’s a must-have nursing school application.
This app helps a nursing student diagnose, treat, and follow up hundreds of medical conditions at the point of treatment. It’s full of information that is essential and helpful for nurses and nursing students alike. It’s on many nursing school’s must-have lists.
Practice NCLEX® Questions
This handy app is super helpful for nursing students and can help them study when they’re outside nursing school, too. It’ll help you prep for the NCLEX – one of the most important nursing certifications for any student to pass.
Laptop or Tablet
A laptop or tablet is essential for a student nurse or any school student. It will help you meet many of your nursing student needs. It’s also great for nurses just to store all their information in and access it whenever required – putting laptops or tablets in the “must-have” nursing school supplies.
You can download tutorials, videos, e-books, research papers, and other important information to upgrade your knowledge and training.
Ever been in a situation where you just can’t find a tricky vein for a blood test? Such events can be really frustrating. That’s where the vein finder device comes in. It will help you locate a vein without any unnecessary hassle or trauma to the patient. We’ve recommended Illumivein to get the best results.
Portable Back Massager
Long hours and numerous shifts later, a nurse or a nursing student is bound to develop back pain, leg ache, or undergo body strain. A portable back massager is just the ticket to ease your pain. It should be on every nursing school supplies list.
Infrared thermometers have become popular during this pandemic. Most outlets use these to measure the temperate of individuals coming in. The plus point is that it can check a patient’s temperature without touching them or creating any point of contact.
This is definitely a good nursing school supply that students should keep in their backpack and use whenever required.
This is a non-invasive and painless test that measures the peripheral oxygen saturation level ( SpO2 levels) to identify early hypoxia in patients and analyze the effectiveness of oxygen therapy. It’s a small clamp that can be attached to the finger or toe. An SpO2 level lower than 90% is a clinical emergency.
So, to get better acquainted with nursing practice, it’s recommended for nursing school students to keep a pulse oximeter at hand.
Blood Pressure Monitor
This device helps measure blood pressure with ease and speed. A blood pressure monitor enables nursing school students and nurses to get important data about the patient’s cardiovascular status. This further helps in defining the approach to treatment.
A Voice Recorder
Anyone who’s ever spent time in school knows how hard it is to capture every detail of every lecturer. Do yourself a favor and get a voice recorder onto the list of nursing school supplies you need before starting school. It will make preparing for exams a whole lot easier.
You can also take your recorder with you when practically assessing patients. It will make remembering patient histories and preferences a whole lot easier.
If you want to incorporate an extra layer of preparedness to your nursing school experience, get a penlight before starting the semester. Penlights are used by medical professionals and nurses as a diagnostic tool. It is an easy-to-carry tool that fits into small places, and most importantly illuminates the areas nurses need to examine.
Popularly used for examining pupil response, wounds, mouth, or throat area, these convenient and portable devices are a good way to showcase that you’re taking initiative in your practice.
Plus, it’s a great resource to have when looking for dropped items in dark corners.
Nursing Organization Tools and Stationery
Color Coding/ Highlighters
Brightly colored highlighters can help nursing students keep all notes well-organized. This will save you a lot of time if you’re trying to look for a particular print out or datasheet during work. You get highlighters in different colors. The most common ones used by nurses include:
A Student Planner
A planner is an essential item for any nursing student. You can list down all your important dates, information related to your patients, create a calendar, to-do lists and so much more. Try getting a nice hardbound book or download a planner app on your phone.
These are a great way to keep your data and learnings collated. Or to leave messages for others – whether it’s your senior, your colleagues, or a patient.
Pencils and other stationery items can be useful for a student nurse. You may find them outdated, but they are easy to find and easy to erase. They allow you to quickly make notes, mark important paragraphs in your books, and so much more. Adding small things like pencils to your nursing school supplies list would just make your life easy!
An adhesive tape has so many uses. Whether it’s helping bandage a wound, making notes on the prescription bottles, or just sticking things back together – it’s one of the most underrated yet useful nursing school supplies.
Lots and Lots of Pens
Simple, cheap, and easy to carry, pens are absolutely essential for getting through nursing school. Without these handy little instruments, aspiring nurses would be unable to take notes, record patient preferences, work schedules, and more.
According to those in the field, the “clicky” pen remains an industry favorite. It’s best to use blue or black ink to appear professional.
Sharpies can be super useful, too, especially if you want to write patient information quickly on their cards. Keep a few on hand.
These multi-colored page markers can prove to be useful in many situations. They’re a quick and clean way to bookmark your study books, make notes, and label things.
Hospitals are places of healing, but sometimes they can be home to some strong odors, too. Want to mask a bad smell? Then look no further. S’nough sticks are neat looking, compact sticks that you can sniff to get even the most unpleasant odors out.
Sometimes, you might want to grab a quick nap, especially if you’re on the night shift. You’ll find earplugs super handy for you in such scenarios. Block out the noise and chaos in the ER for a few minutes of alone time to recharge your batteries!
These are a favorite among professional nurses and nursing students alike. They’re so easy to use and good for making notes, leaving messages, and labeling things. You can even stick them on your nursing clipboard if you have an important thing to remember.
A Sturdy Clipboard
If you’re new to the medical sphere, then you probably still have a lot to learn about what you need to survive nursing school. A clipboard will inevitably find its way onto that list. They can help nurses keep track of paperwork, organize reference material, patient charts, and more. Of course, not all clipboards are created equal.
Try looking for a clipboard with a storage compartment. This option is typically more durable than others out there.
These are a series of test-taking techniques for a beginner nursing student. Definitely, a nursing student must-have. It will help you handle your nursing education with ease.
There are many nursing podcasts that would prove to be great resources for you. It’s always good to gain perspective and stay updated with the industry norms with podcasts – and you can listen to them anytime and anywhere! Try some out on Spotify, Soundcloud, and other such platforms.
Drug Reference Guide
This book is essential to your nursing career as it will help you ensure you have all the important data about the medicines you are administering. From their compositions – to what other medications they react with – it’ll have you covered.
Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary
This is a quick way to look up terms and jargon that you hear for the first time. Sometimes, phrases or words may slip your mind, so it’s useful to keep this dictionary at arm’s reach.
A medical dictionary is a great way to update your nursing vocabulary too, isn’t it?
Nursing Cheat Sheets
These help you master nursing concepts faster and more methodically. It’s a good learning aid for a nursing school student.
Nurse’s Pocket Guide Diagnoses
This is a clearly written, comprehensive nursing diagnosis to help you understand and explain tricky medical situations. A book like this can be a good addition to any nursing student’s supplies bag.
Study guides are probably the most important of all the nursing school supplies essentials. Keep these in your backpack and get a little reading done whenever you can.
For the Snacks and Timely Munches
A compact pressure cooker is a great idea for making quick snacks and lunches. You can make pot roast, rice, beans, flan, ramen, mashed potatoes, and a lot more.
Insulated Coffee Cup or Tea Tumbler
Staying awake is just as important as staying hydrated! Nursing school programs are demanding, and many may find themselves in need of some caffeine to get through it. If you don’t have time to finish your cup of coffee or tea before leaving the house, find a way to bring it with you! Get yourself a portable mug and refill when needed.
Hydro Flask Water Bottle
You wouldn’t want to start a nursing school rotation without this next item. Stay hydrated with a stainless-steel water bottle. Remember, a nurse in training can expect to be on the clock and onto their feet for hours at a time.
These individuals will need more opportunities to rehydrate than their break schedule provides.
There are a lot of options out there. Stainless steel products remain particularly popular, as many of them are insulated to keep your water cold all day long.
Invest in a nice lunch bag. You deserve it. Make sure it’s insulated and large enough for a proper meal as well as easy to clean. And write your name on it – you definitely don’t want to lose out on your lunch bags!
Social Media Accounts
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a good way to keep in touch with friends and family despite your busy schedule. Nowadays, social media accounts also help make your professional presence visible – further helping you network. On top of that, it’s good for some light-hearted fun and relaxation.
A Good Coffee Maker
Caffeine is the key to long nights for many students, especially nursing students. Get a good coffee maker; it will help you reach out for some energizing drink whenever you need it.
With this checklist, you should have a good idea of what you need to be a nurse. With this equipment, you’re now ready to embark on your dream career as a nursing professional. Just choose the right nursing school and get ready to learn how to make the world a better place by being a professional nurse.
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