The 7 Most Important Nurse Supplies You Need! (2023)

The 7 Most Important Nurse Supplies You Need! (2023)

What Are the Most Important Nurse Tools You Need?

*This post contains affiliate links/updated from original post 6/29/2018

Are you a nurse wondering what the most important supplies are that you need on each shift?

Being prepared and having all the right supplies is essential to providing top-notch care. That’s why we have assembled some of the best products available so nurses like you can feel confident they have everything they need at their fingertips. From penlights and Apple watches to stethoscopes and more—we’ve got it all covered!

These products are designed with nurses in mind – so they feel comfortable and work efficiently during long shifts. We hope you will feel confident knowing that you have all of the tools necessary to take excellent care of your patients at any moment.

I am a registered nurse who has worked all over the hospital, taking care of E.R., Med Surg, and ICU patients. As a result, I have seen it all and then some. And I still see new things that shock me every day! That is why it is so important to be prepared with the correct nurse supplies you need to succeed.

Browse below to shop for all of your important nursing tool needs!

How We Choose This List

We’ve read through hundreds of user reviews and star ratings to develop a list that makes nursing life easier and helps provide information to help you make a good decision. Choosing the perfect nursing tools requires some extra considerations to ensure they meet the unique needs of a nurse.

Here are the seven most important nurse supplies you need:

#1. Stethoscope

Whether trying to obtain a manual blood pressure or listening to lung sounds, every nurse needs to have a stethoscope. I bought a 3M Littmann Classic in nursing school, and I have been using it ever since. They are available in many colors and have a “non-chill” rim, so you don’t shock your patients with a cold stethoscope.


Why We Love It

The 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope is the perfect choice for a wide range of medical settings and patient types. Made in the USA without natural rubber latex, the stethoscope has a 5-year warranty and features a tunable dual-sided stainless steel chest piece with an open or closed bell design, as well as a non-chill bell sleeve for greater patient comfort. Soft-sealing ear tips provide optimal comfort and excellent sound occlusion while making sure you get clear audio as you listen to your patient’s heart/lungs.

What You Should Know

For those who want to express their personality through their device color, choose from a variety of fun and vibrant options!


#2. Leatherman Raptor Shears

The Raptor Shears look like a fancy pair of scissors. But they are one of the most practical and essential nurse supplies.

Many nurses I work with in the emergency room have the Raptor Shears, and we use them frequently in emergencies. You can hook it to a belt or secure it using the pocket clip.


Why We Love It

The LEATHERMAN Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter and Glass Breaker is the ideal tool for medical professionals to have on hand in emergencies. This product comes with six essential tools, including:

  • Folding emergency shears
  • A strap cutter
  • A ring cutter
  • Ruler
  • An oxygen tank wrench, and
  • A carbide glass breaker

With Leatherman Rapture Shears, you can be sure that you’ll never be without what you need in a crisis. The specially designed sheath allows you to carry your Raptor Rescue open or closed so that you are always prepared. There is also an option for a belt-friendly utility style or MOLLE-compatible style, so you don’t need to worry about comfort when wearing it.

What You Should Know

This company offers a 25-year warranty.


#3. Kangapak Nurse Fanny Pack Multi-Compartment Waist Organizer Tool Bag

Otherwise known as the “medical gear hip pack,” the fanny pack is a staple of the nurse uniform.

When I started working as a new graduate nurse, I used a fanny pack every day to carry syringes, alcohol swabs, pens, a penlight, my notes, and extra needles and syringes. But after about six months, I got comfortable with the unit and stopped using it (mostly because I felt a little dorky).

But just this past year, I pulled it out and started using it again. And you know what? I do a lot less walking back to the supply room because I can carry the items I need in my fanny pack. And I always have my supplies on me when I need them fast. Embrace your inner nurse dork with a fanny pack!


Why We Love It

Introducing Kangapak Nurse Fanny Pack Multi-Compartment Waist Organizer Tool Bag: the perfect combination of comfort and convenience, making sure you’re never caught off guard! This fanny pack is made of soft, high-quality microfiber that stays comfortably on your waist, eliminating the need to worry about it slipping or sliding.

It features nine stretchy, soft mesh pockets with designated syringe holders and improved zippers, so you can have peace of mind knowing your medical supplies are always organized and within arm’s reach. And not only is this nurse medical belt stylish, but it’s also easy to clean for your convenience.

What You Should Know

The elastic strap adjusts to most waistlines for a comfortable fit that won’t leave marks or cause pain and makes it easy to wear over long shifts.

Additional recommended reading: The 6 Best Nursing Pocket Organizers and Fanny Packs


#4. Retractable 4-Color Pens (Pack of 12)

These retractable four-color pens are great if you need something to stand out in your work notes. Or use different colors for different patients when taking reports. These pens are also great for color-coding notes and flashcards when studying for certifications! I always have a few in my work bag and one on me while at work.


Why We Love It

Introducing the BIC 4-Color Ballpoint Retractable Pen, the perfect pen for your daily nurse needs! Featuring a convenient retractable design and four ink colors (black, blue, green, and red) in one pen, you’ll have everything you need to write down your thoughts quickly and easily. Each versatile pen boasts smooth writing and an easy-to-use side-click button that transitions the nib between colors. The durable tip is high-performance for extended use without skipping or smudging. Plus, the ink can be replaced, so your favorite pens can last you a lifetime!

What You Should Know

This set includes 12 pens with fine-point tips and adult-size barrels.


#5. Pen Light with Pupil Gauge

I got used to carrying a penlight when working on a neurology/stroke unit and needed them to check my patient’s neurological status at least every 2 hours during my shift. You can’t complete a neurological exam correctly without them!

(If you are looking for great gifts for nurses, a fanny pack with a penlight and retractable color pens in it would be so perfect!)


Why We Love It

This set of 2 pen lights comes in Rose Gold and White colors and is made of premium aluminum alloy and LED bulb, making it durable and long-lasting. These penlights are perfect for measuring and tracking pupil dilation, as they feature a pupil gauge and a 5cm ruler along the side. It also has an easy-to-use on/off switch and pocket clip for convenience, so you can take it on the go.

What You Should Know

These penlights are powered by 2 AAA batteries and are lightweight and compact.


#6. Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 41mm] Smart Watch

The Apple Watch was a big purchase for me, but I use it several times a day during my 12-hour shift, and it is so handy!

While working, I can use the Apple Watch as a stopwatch and a timer, and I can set the alarm to remind myself of tasks I might forget when my shift gets crazy busy. I can also receive and send text messages on it without carrying my cell phone with me.

But my favorite thing about the Apple Watch is that it records how much I stand, exercise, and move throughout my shift (it breaks them down into colorful rings) and tells me how many total steps I get in a shift.

My record so far is 22,000 steps during a single shift!



 Why We Love It

The Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 41mm] Smart Watch is a great companion for a healthy life and now it’s even more powerful. With advanced sensors, this watch can give you insights to better understand your health and safety features that can help get you assistance when needed. The bright, Always-On Retina display offers high-resolution visuals that are easy to read, even when your wrist is down. And with the breakthrough temperature sensing feature, you can gain deep insight into your body’s physiological processes.

What You Should Know

With dozens of available bands and watch faces featuring personalized complications tailored to whatever you’re into, this watch is easily customizable to fit your style.


#7. Clipglow Nurse Light Clip On Night Shift Light


Why We Love It

The Clipglow Nurse Light Clip On Nursing Night Shift Light is the perfect solution to help provide essential care while still considering the comfort of everyone in the room. With its hassle-free light-up feature and lasting illumination, this light can help you offer better attention to patients and maximize efficiency during complex night shifts. Plus, its magnetic clip-on feature makes it very easy to take with you on the rounds, so you won’t have to worry about a power failure or changing batteries during long shifts ever again!

What You Should Know

It features a USB rechargeable battery that has two light settings – clear visibility when you need it and dimmed or no light when you don’t – and lasts up to 10 hours after every charge.


FAQs Best Tools For Nurses

What kind of tools do nurses use?

It is important for nurses to be prepared with the right tools in order to provide the best and safest care to their patients. Some o the most important tools include:

  • Pen Light: A penlight is a small, handheld device used by nurses to examine eyes, ears, and throat for signs of infection or injury.
  • Stethoscope: A stethoscope is a medical device used to listen to the inner workings of the body, such as heartbeats or sounds from the lungs.
  • Apple Watch: An Apple Watch is a smartwatch that can be used by nurses to track their health and fitness metrics while on duty.
  • Clipboard: A clipboard is an essential tool for nurses that allows them to take notes while they’re on the job.

What should every nurse carry?

Every nurse should carry a number of essential items with them at all times, including a penlight, stethoscope, and clipboard. Additionally, nurses should also have basic medical supplies such as bandages and gauze, as well as medications and other necessary equipment.

What do patients need from nurses?

Patients need nurses who are compassionate, reliable, and knowledgeable. Nurses should continually update their knowledge of medical protocols and treatments to best care for their patients. Additionally, nurses must be good listeners and communicators so they can understand the patient’s needs and provide the best possible care.

What do nurses take to work?

Nurses shoulder a lot of responsibility and must be prepared for any situation that may arise. To ensure they have access to everything they need, nurses should bring several items with them to work, including:

  • A water bottle
  • Stethoscope
  • Apple Watch
  • Clipboard
  • Bandages and gauze
  • Other medical supplies as necessary

Nurses should also have a supportive pair of shoes and wear compression socks because they will be on their feet all shift!

Best Tools for Nurses Advice

So what are the best tools for nurses? The answer may vary from person to person, but we’ve tried to provide a variety of the best options for you to choose from based on reading thousands of reviews.

All you have to do is just tap the button to check the prices. Thanks for stopping by!

Additional Recommended Reading:

9 Thoughtful Yet Practical Gifts For Nurses

9 Thoughtful Yet Practical Gifts For Nurses

*This post contains affiliate links.

Looking for a thoughtful yet practical gift for the nurse in your life?

Nurses do so much for patients without getting much (if any) appreciation for their incredibly hard and selfless work.  Giving a nurse a thoughtful and practical gift that they can use on the job lets them know that you appreciate how hard they work to help others during some of the worst times in their lives.  These gifts are perfect for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, nursing school graduation, or any other special occasion.

How We Chose This List of Practical Gifts For Nurses

Our team read through a ton of user reviews and star ratings to develop a list that makes your life easier and provides information to help you make a good decision on buying a practical nurse gift. Choosing the perfect RN gift requires some extra considerations to ensure it meets the unique needs of a nurse.

Practical Gifts For Nurses:

1.  Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle


Many nurses don’t drink nearly enough water during their 12-hour shifts and then go home wholly dehydrated.  Therefore, nurses need a good water bottle to bring to work with them every single day!   Water is essential for life and good health, which is why a quality Hydro Flask Water Bottle makes such a great gift for nurses of all experiences and specialties.

Why We Love This

The Hydro Flask Water Bottle is a high-quality water bottle that can be used for many years and still look brand new.  It is made out of food-grade stainless steel and is BPA-free.  Also, it has excellent insulation, which prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the bottle.

But the best part about the Hydro Flask Water Bottle is the TempShield Insulation, which keeps beverages at the same temperature for many hours (hot drinks for 6 hours & cold drinks for up to 24 hours!). 

2.  Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Coffee Mug


Regular coffee mugs just won’t work for busy nurses working with patients. For one, nurses are seldom in the same place for more than a few minutes.  And it would be great if their coffee could be the same temperature when they finally got back to take a sip of it!

Why We Love This

The Contigo Coffee Mug is a popular choice among many nurses (myself included – I have had one for the last four years).  It has a leak-proof lid (when closed) for on-the-go activities.  In addition, drinks stay hot for up to 7 hours and cold for up to 18 hours with vacuum insulation.  This brand even comes with a lifetime warranty.

3.  Chicken Soup For The Soul: Inspiration For Nurses


It is no secret that becoming a nurse is a personal calling and requires a lot of grit and compassion from those who enter the profession.  Nurses deal with patients in some of the worst times of their lives and deal with both life and death situations.  It never hurts to share some inspiration with one another!

Why We Love This

Chicken Soup For The Soul:  Inspiration For Nurses consists of 101 heartwarming stories that encourage, inspire, and reassure nurses that their patients and families appreciate the nurse’s compassionate service. Nurses can use all the help and encouragement they can get, and this book of personal stories helps remind nurses why they became a nurse in the first place.

4.  Raptor Shears


Many nurses I work with in the emergency room have the Raptor Shears, and we use them frequently in emergency situations.  You can hook it to a belt or secure it using the pocket clip.    Also, the Raptor Shears have a 25-year limited warranty, which could last through a nurse’s entire medical career or longer.  This tool is an amazing and practical gift for a nurse.

Why We Love This

The Rapture Shears are six tools wrapped into one:

  • Medical shears
  • Strap cutter
  • Ring cutter
  • Ruler
  • Oxygen tank wrench
  • Carbide glass breaker

 5.  Safety First, Drink With A Nurse Wine Tumbler



If you have a wine-loving nurse in your life, then the Safety First, Drink With A Nurse Wine Tumbler just might be the perfect gift.  And there are over 14 colors to choose from.

Why We Love This

It is vacuum insulated and designed for both cold and hot beverages – so you can drink the perfect temperature liquid all day long.  Also, the cup prevents any sweating on the outside of the cup.

6.  Vein Finder


Starting IVs is one of the most challenging and stressful clinical tasks that nurses will learn during the first few years in the profession.  A vein finder is a great gift for nursing students, new nurse graduates, and even seasoned nurses who need a little extra help with starting an IV.

Why We Love This

For patients who are a difficult “stick” (as we call it in nursing), it is so helpful to have a vein finder in the back pocket.  This is a very practical gift for nurses because many patients need an IV to receive fluids and other medications.

7.  Cute Compression Socks


Compression socks must be a part of every nurse’s uniform because they help keep nurse’s legs healthy!  Years of working on one’s feet for 12-hour shifts can be hard on the body and contribute to various venous issues.  Luckily, wearing quality compression socks can help nurses prevent varicose veins, leg swelling, and decrease muscle soreness.

They work by squeezing the blood in the legs like a garden hose back up the leg, thereby increasing blood circulation.  Many nurses even say that compression socks help keep their legs noticeably energized after a long shift.

Why We Love This

By giving a nurse a set of compression socks, you are letting them know that you care about their health and well-being.  What a great message to send!

8.  A Funny Nurse Coloring Book (to help nurses manage their work stress!)


Why We Love This

If you are looking for a funny gift to make a nurse laugh, here it is!  Any nurse receiving a Nurse Coloring Book: Sweary Midnight Edition will find a little truth and humor within the pages.  After all, being a nurse can be very stressful, and a laugh-out-loud book that can be shared with others for hours can provide a lot of well-needed stress relief.  It would make a great gift for recent nurse graduates, new nurses in the field, or an experienced nurse as well!

9.  Nurse Lunch Bag


Most nurses learn very quickly that they need to prepare and pack their own food for two reasons:  1) hospital food gets old quick and usually isn’t very tasty, and 2) packing a healthy lunch in advance ensures that the nurse will eat healthier throughout their shift.  Otherwise, when lunch comes and they are so exhausted, there is a chance they might reach for some not-so-healthy options.

Why We Love This

The Baloray Lunch Bag is waterproof & leak proof.  This brand claims to keep food cold or warm for more than 6 hours.  It is also super easy to clean and is very lightweight.   

Practical Gifts Nurses Will Love!

Tips To Consider When Picking a Practical Nurse Gift

When choosing a practical gift for a nurse, consider their daily work routine and the challenges they face. Here are some factors to consider and ideas for practical gifts:


Select items that serve a useful purpose in their work or personal life. Think about items that can make their tasks easier or enhance their comfort.

Comfort and Ergonomics:

Nurses spend long hours on their feet, so gifts that prioritize comfort can be appreciated. Consider items like supportive footwear, compression socks, or ergonomic accessories like back cushions or footrests.

Organization and Efficiency:

Nurses need to stay organized and manage their time effectively. Look for gifts that help with organization, such as a nursing-specific planner, a smartwatch with scheduling capabilities, or a high-quality clipboard or pocket organizer.

Tools of the Trade:

Nurses often rely on specific tools and equipment for their work. Find out if there are any tools or gadgets they need or would like to upgrade. Examples include high-quality stethoscopes, penlights, or portable pulse oximeters.

Professional Development:

Supporting ongoing education and professional growth is valuable. Consider gifting subscriptions to medical journals or nursing publications, online courses, or certifications relevant to their area of expertise.

Personalized Accessories:

Customized gifts can add a personal touch. Consider personalized name tags, engraved badge holders, or custom-made nursing-themed jewelry.

Remember, everyone’s preferences and needs may vary, so it’s a good idea to consider the individual nurse’s interests, style, and specific job requirements when selecting a practical gift.

Practical Gifts For Nurses Frequently Asked Questions:

What gift to give nursing staff? When considering gifts for nursing staff, it’s important to think about their needs and preferences. Here are some ideas:

  • Personalized items like custom-made name badges or engraved stethoscope charms.
  • Practical items such as comfortable shoes, compression socks, or ergonomic equipment.
  • Relaxation gifts like spa vouchers, aromatherapy diffusers, or massage tools.
  • Gift cards for their favorite restaurants, coffee shops, or online stores.
  • Books, journals, or subscriptions related to healthcare or personal interests.
  • Care packages with snacks, healthy treats, and self-care items.

What are simple gifts for nurses?

Simple gifts for nurses can still be meaningful and appreciated. Consider the following options:

  • Handwritten thank-you cards expressing gratitude and recognition for their hard work.
  • Small treats like chocolates, cookies, or homemade snacks.
  • Inspirational or motivational quotes in the form of wall art, keychains, or desk accessories.
  • Stationery or office supplies that can be used at work.
  • Pocket-sized notebooks or planners to help them stay organized.
  • Gift certificates for a coffee or tea break at a local café.

What do you get a healthcare worker for Christmas?

When choosing a Christmas gift for a healthcare worker, consider options that show appreciation and provide relaxation or enjoyment during the holiday season. Some ideas include:

  • Cozy blankets, socks, or slippers for warmth and comfort.
  • A subscription to a streaming service or audiobook platform for entertainment.
  • A gift certificate for a spa day, massage, or wellness retreat.
  • A personalized ornament or holiday-themed decoration.
  • A gourmet food basket or a selection of their favorite snacks.
  • A quality water bottle or travel mug to keep them hydrated on the go.
  • A book or journal for leisure reading or personal reflection.

What do you get a nursing staff for Christmas?

When selecting a Christmas gift for a nursing staff or team, it’s thoughtful to choose items that can be shared and enjoyed collectively. Here are a few ideas:

  • A catered holiday lunch or dinner for the entire nursing staff.
  • A festive gift basket filled with treats, snacks, and beverages.
  • Group activities or experiences such as a team-building outing or holiday party.
  • Customized mugs or tumblers with the nursing staff’s names or a special message.
  • Donations to a charity in the name of the nursing staff, supporting a cause important to them.
  • A heartfelt thank-you note or card expressing appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

Is it appropriate to give nurses a gift?

Yes, it is generally appropriate to give nurses a gift as a way to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication. However, it’s important to consider workplace policies and guidelines regarding gift-giving. Some healthcare organizations may have specific rules regarding the value or type of gifts that can be received. It’s advisable to check with the nursing staff’s supervisor or human resources department to ensure compliance with any regulations in place.

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