Students in nursing school will find that they require a different set of “school supplies” compared to the rest of their peers who are pursuing non-medical degrees. The list of tools and things you need can grow and become overwhelming, but fear not! We cover all the bases in this guide.
Clothes & Accessories
A trusty pair of scrubs
As a student looking at a future in nursing, your scrubs will quickly become your second skin. This being said, finding a trusty pair of scrubs should be top priority. Look for scrubs that will keep you comfortable for long hours, but will also be easy to clean and keep tidy. Keep in mind that these are your professional uniform and so should give that impression to patients and their families immediately.
When doing rounds, you will be on your feet for extended periods of time. Needless to say, comfortable shoes are a must must must-have. Read up on tried & tested brands by nurses, and make sure that the pair of shoes you end up choosing meets the guidelines set out by your respective schools.
Many nurses swear by compression socks – they will keep your feet from becoming sore or swelling, and will protect you from conditions like varicose veins and blood clots. These are a supportive accessory that you should definitely consider.
You may be asking why undergarments are on this list. As a nurse, rushing from place to place is the norm. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether your underwear is showing through your scrubs. Feel confident doing your best work with an appropriate pair of flesh-colored undergarments – better to be safe than sorry!
We needn’t go into much detail about why a backpack is a nursing school essential. You’ll want one that is lightweight, can carry lots of things, has pockets & partitions for all your different needs, and can easily be cleaned. There are countless backpacks on the market and finding one that suits your specifications is key.
Lanyard or badge clip
Your ID needs to be prominently displayed to inform patients that you are authorized to be interacting with them. Lanyards and badge clips will also allow you to carry around key cards to access different parts of the hospital.
A quality stethoscope
New stethoscope models can run for a pretty hefty price tag nowadays, and opting for those in the cheaper range can be very tempting, especially for students on tight budgets. However, a stethoscope is one of the most important learning tools and you will want a model that will actually allow you to hear heart sounds properly, or at all. Besides, if you go for a cheaper stethoscope, you might end up spending more later on when it breaks and needs to be replaced.
The hemostat is a favorite among nursing students and healthcare professionals alike. Hailed for its infinite number of uses and purposes, the hemostat will save you and help you in many different situations. This tool is also inexpensive, so it definitely wouldn’t hurt to add it to your school shopping list.
Although hospitals and clinics will have their own sphygmomanometers that you could use, there is an advantage to having your own. You will be able to practice using it to measure blood pressure and when supplies run low, you won’t need to keep patients waiting.
Medical scissors/trauma shears
These are an extremely good tool to have handy, whether in emergency or non-emergency situations. You’ll learn that having medical scissors or trauma shears around will save you a lot of time – whether that’s to budge really hard-to-open, tamper-proof medication packaging, or to cut a hemorrhaging patient’s t-shirt.
This is essential not just for nursing students. Anyone in school will find that a good, lasting laptop or tablet will meet many of their needs for studying. Some nurses prefer tablets in smaller sizes that are easier to tote around during rounds in the hospital, but of course this boils down to preference.
Pen lights are not new or particularly unique or interesting medical tools – but they have been around for long because of their high level of usefulness. Have a pen light ready for nursing school – you’ll need it for examinations and may aid in your diagnosis.
Lunchbox & insulated bottle
You’ll always want to come to school prepared with some sort of snack to keep you going throughout long days. An insulated bottle will also be very handy, whether for water to keep hydrated, or coffee to stay alert (or you know, have one for each).
And speaking of coffee – invest in a good coffee maker. Going to Starbucks everyday might not be financially wise as you might discover, especially with how much coffee you will be needing to keep you up for rounds or library sessions.
Use this list as a starting point for what you’ll find useful for nursing school. Whatever the case, and whether you find this guide totally useful or otherwise, we wish you the best of luck on your journey ahead.