Top 30+ Nursing School Supplies & Essentials (2020)
January 5, 2020
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So you want to be a nurse and are thinking about the nursing school supplies you will need.  First of all, congratulations!  You are embarking into an incredible profession, filled with an enormous amount of career opportunities.   As a nurse, you will give back to your communities, help patients during some of the most challenging times of their lives, help the sick regain their health, relieve patient’s pain, and even save lives.  You will learn to be a healer in your community.

But to learn as a student nurse, there are several nursing school supplies and tools that you will need to have.  Most of the nurse essentials on this list, you will be able to continue to use after you graduate and throughout your career as a nurse.  So it is crucial to think of this list as an investment towards your entire career in nursing – not just as items you will use short-term.

Try to stay as organized as you can and remember to take good care of yourself (just as you will be instructing your patients to do!).  Without further ado, here is the essential list of the top 30+ nursing school supplies you will need for your nursing education.

(This list includes affiliate links.  See our disclosure page here.)


The Top 30+ Nursing School Supplies: The Ultimate List

#1.  STETHOSCOPE

 

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One of the most important supplies for nursing students is the stethoscope. You will be required to have one with you for all clinical rotations and skills labs.

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

#2.  STETHOSCOPE IDENTIFICATION BADGE

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It is a good idea to label all of your nursing supplies, especially ones that are more expensive.

With so many nursing students carrying stethoscopes into skills labs and clinical rotations at the hospital, it is effortless to get yours mixed up with another nurse.  Having a stethoscope identification badge is the best way to prevent this.

#3.  STETHOSCOPE CASE

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Keep your stethoscope in a designated place where it will stay clean and in good condition.  A stethoscope case helps to keep your scope clean and in good working condition throughout an entire nursing career.

#4.  SCRUBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scrubs are the universal uniform for nurses for a good reason.  They are very comfortable, designed for long hours of work, allow for easy assess to tools (with pockets), and they are durable to withstand frequent washing,

Most schools require that students all wear the same color of scrubs.  Fortunately, every brand of scrubs has a variety of different scrubs to choose from.

#5.  NURSE CLIPBOARD

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The key to being a successful nursing student is staying organized and being prepared to learn.  The nurse clipboard is an essential nursing student supply to keep your confidential documents and medical notes with you.  Nursing clipboards also give you something to write on while getting a shift report or while in a patient’s room.  They also help you store needed writing tools, such as your retractable pen or highlighter.

#6.  FANNY PACK

 

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Students in the clinical setting need a way to get to their nursing supplies fast.  The fanny pack is a great solution for this.  You can keep it with you each clinical rotation to carry several nurse supplies, including trauma shears, alcohol swabs, pens, a penlight, notes, and extra needles and syringes.   Also, having a “nurse hip pack” can help prevent nurses from having to make additional trips back to the supply room for things they might have forgotten.

#7.  POCKET ORGANIZER (to organize your nursing school supplies)

 

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For some nursing students, the fanny pack may feel too bulky.  If that is the case for you may want to consider getting a pocket organizer to store needed nursing school supplies and tools.  Knowing you have the essentials you need within your reach at all times will not only keep you calmer in stressful situations, but you will appear more professional to boot.

#8. RETRACTABLE PENS

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Color-coding your notes can be a helpful way for nursing students to memorize terminology, medications, anatomy, or NCLEX test preparation.

Retractable 4 color pens are also great for color-coding your work notes or written patient information. Also, having retractable pens are lovely to have for when you are studying for certifications!  You can keep a few in your workbag, pocket organizer, or fanny pack.

#9.  PEN LIGHT

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The penlight is a staple nursing student tool for assessments.  You will need a nurse penlight for assessing extraocular movements.  And these are especially great because they have pupil sizes right on the pen for a more accurate assessment.  You can’t complete a neurological exam correctly without them.

 #10.  VEIN FINDER

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Learning how to start IV’s as a nursing student is one of the most challenging skills to learn.  It takes a lot of practice, but over time your skills will improve.  A vein finder is a helpful tool for nursing students to visualize a vein, so you know exactly where your target is.  The vein finder is also a helpful learning tool in the classroom where you can take turns observing, feeling for vessels, and using the vein finder to help visualize where you are going to insert your needle.

#11.  NURSING BRAIN SHEETS

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Nursing students must learn how to organize their patient’s information cohesively during clinical rotations.  The nurse report sheet notebook helps you keep your patient’s information organized and in one place.   These brain sheets include areas for: vital signs, medication times, assessment notes, labs, patient history, and space for free text and notes.  Nurse report sheet notebooks also make a great gift for new graduate nursing students.  

#12.  LAPTOP COMPUTER

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The laptop computer is an essential nursing supply for obvious reasons.  But your education in the nursing profession will go far beyond the classroom and continue throughout your whole career.

Nurses are lifelong learners.  Not long after nursing school, you will be achieving advanced certifications within your specialty, and possibly get an MSN or doctoral degree in nursing.   To do that, you need a dependable laptop computer to do your work.

 

#13.  APPLE WATCH 

 

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The Apple Watch is a stopwatch, a timer, and allows you to set the alarm to remind yourself of tasks as a nursing student in the hospital setting.  It also makes it possible to receive and send text messages without having to use your cell phone on the unit.

But what many nurses love most about the Apple Watch is that it records how much you stand, exercise, and move throughout your shift (it breaks them down into colorful rings).  You will also know how many total steps you walked during your clinical rotations.

The Apple Watch is a great nursing school tool that will serve you well into your nursing career, both professionally and from a personal health standpoint.

#14.  WATCH WITH A SECOND HAND

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If the Apple Watch is too expensive, consider getting a less expensive watch with a second hand.  Having a second-hand makes it possible for nursing students to track important patient vital signs such as respiratory and heart rate.

#15.  TRAUMA SHEARS

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As most ER nurses will attest, the Raptor Shears are one of the greatest nursing student supplies to have.  And that you will use them throughout your entire career (these have a 25-year limited warranty).

Raptor Shears are very functional, and handy shears are six tools wrapped into one, including medical shears, strap cutter, ring cutter, ruler, oxygen tank wrench, and carbide glass breaker.

You can hook raptor shears to a belt or secure it to your scrubs using the pocket clip.

#16.  HAND SANITIZER

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Hand sanitizer is the number one nursing student supply for preventing the spread of infection.  As a nursing student, you will wash your hand’s dozens of times a day and often use hand sanitizer in-between.  Travel hand sanitizers are always great to have in your nursing bag at all times.

#17.  HAND LOTION

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With nurses washing their hands so frequently every shift, it is no wonder that so many suffer from dry skin.  Whenever possible, use hand lotion to prevent dry, chapped hands and protect the barrier of your skin.  Many nurses keep extra in their nursing bags and car to use whenever they remember.

#18.  HIGHLIGHTER

 

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Highlighters are a useful nursing school supply for organizing and memorizing medical terminology and studying for exams.  You can even hook these on your badge reel to have handy and make sure you don’t lose them.

#19.  DRUG REFERENCE GUIDE

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Keep a portable nursing drug handbook to make it easy to find the most vital information on the drugs that you administer as a nurse most frequently.  This is an excellent tool for helping you learn more about medications while you are on the go and help keep your patients safe.

You can also lookup generic and trade names for drugs, find black box warnings, understand safety information for medications, and help you teach patients about potential side effects of medications.

#20.  HYDRO FLASK WATER BOTTLE

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Many nursing students don’t drink nearly enough water and end up going home after class or clinical rotations wholly dehydrated.  Therefore,  a great sealable water bottle is an essential nursing student essential to always keep with you.

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!). 

#21.  COFFEE MUG (with sealable lid)

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Regular coffee mugs can spill in the classroom or clinical setting. It is important to have a mug with a sealable lid.

The Hydro Flask coffee mug is a popular nursing school essential for those who are pulling all-nighters to finish papers or cramming for exams.    It has a leak-proof lid (when closed) for on-the-go activities.  Also, drinks stay hot up to 7 hours and cold up to 18 hours with vacuum insulation.  

#22.  NURSING BAG (to keep your nursing school supplies organized in one place)

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There are a lot of supplies that nursing students need to keep with them:  ID, wallet, pens, highlighters, a computer, notebooks, planners, or other personal items that you might need.   A great nursing bag will help you keep all of your nursing school supplies in one place, so you don’t forget anything at home.

#23.  BADGE HOLDER

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Having a badge holder makes it easy for you to display your ID to patients and other staff members in the hospital.  Badge holders allow you to let others know who you are, and they don’t get in the way of your work the way lanyards do.  There are also several personalized options to choose from.

#24.  COMPRESSION SOCKS

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If you are a nursing student, then you should get used to wearing compression on your legs now. Compression socks are so beneficial for nurses and students because they prevent or reduce varicose veins, they improve blood flow, and they decrease the risk of blood clots.  Many nurses even say that wearing compressions socks make their legs feel lighter, even after a shift.

#25.  LUNCH BAG

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Many nursing students learn very quickly that they need to prepare and pack their food for two reasons – hospital food usually isn’t delicious, and packing a healthy lunch in advance ensures that the nurse will eat healthier throughout their shift.  Otherwise, when lunch comes, and they are stressed and tired from studying, there is a chance they might reach for more unhealthy choices.

You can keep your ‘lunch bag” habit well into your career as a nurse as well.  Use a lunch bag that is waterproof, leak-proof, super easy to clean, and lightweight.   

#26.  NURSING SHOES

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Nursing students must have great shoes because not having them can be an occupational hazard.  Hospital floors are regularly being cleaned in between patients, and there are occasional spills that can sometimes result in unintended nurse falls.

Nursing shoes also need to give great support, protect your back, reduce stress on joints, and be comfortable to wear for long periods.

#27.  SPHYGMOMANOMETER

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A sphygmomanometer is a tool that nursing students can use to take manual blood pressure measurements and to have an accurate, reliable instrument to diagnose hypertension accurately.  This is a great nursing school supply because it is so important to know how to take a manual blood pressure if you need to.  Many experienced nurses forget because they haven’t done one in so many years.

#28.  NURSE CLOGS

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Clogs are a staple of the nursing student uniform.  They can provide better support to help them minimize foot, ankle, knee, and back pain, which is very important as nurses can spend long hours on their feet with little downtime.

Many nursing students (as well as experienced nurses) will switch off between clogs and other sturdy nurse shoes.

#29.  INFRARED THERMOMETER

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Your hospital will have a specific type of thermometer that you must use on patients.  But as students and nurses, it is great to have a way to monitor a patient’s vital signs if we ever find ourselves in an emergency away from the hospital.  Having an infrared thermometer is a great non-invasive way to monitor a temperature away from the hospital.

#30.  PULSE OXIMETER

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The pulse oximeter is a non-invasive method for monitoring a person’s oxygen saturation.  If you work in a hospital or other healthcare facility, you will use your facility’s pulse oximeters.  However, many nurses have a supply kit in case they need to check a patient’s vital signs in an emergency away from the healthcare setting, in which case, a mobile pulse oximeter is a great tool to have.

Additional recommended readingHow To Prepare For Nursing School:  9 Tips

In conclusion

Going to nursing school is a challenge (many say its the hardest thing they have ever done!), but if you work hard and have the right nursing school supplies you need to succeed, you will excel in your studies and make a great nurse.  Stay organized, keep learning, and take care of yourself in the process – the same way you will be taking care of your patients.

Most of all, know that you are a valuable contributor to what has been considered the most trusted profession for decades – nursing.  Best of luck to you, student nurse!

Additional recommended reading:

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