Ever feel like getting through nursing school is an act of survival? If so, you’re not alone. It’s no secret that a nursing student’s life can feel overwhelming. We know it’s nothing you can’t handle, but we’re here to make it more comfortable.
It’s no secret that getting organized and then staying organized helps when you face a staggering workload. Part of doing so is getting the right tools for the task. In this article, we’ll share our curated list of nursing school must-haves that will ease your workload as a nursing student and, once you’ve graduated, help you transition into life as a registered nurse.
Read on for our ultimate nursing school survival kit.
Five nursing student must-haves
The list is seemingly endless as far as must-have nursing school supplies go. But here are our top picks:
Nursing school planner
Stretching the little time you have is crucial to organize your studies, work efficiently and rest as well. We recommend a handy nursing planner that meets your needs and is also enjoyable to use. Many include helpful sections that separate your professional and personal life, your budget and relaxing activities like coloring.
Show up to your first day of your ADN or BSN prepared, with the best nursing student supplies to help any student. Everyone takes notes differently, so we recommend exploring what works well for you before spending your hard-earned cash.
You can’t go wrong with an array of pens and highlighters for color-coding, sticky notes and arrows in different colors, large notebooks or binders with ruled paper, and flashcards for that NCLEX study guide.
If you’re a digital note taker, try using a tablet with a portable keyboard and mouse. Some tablets will even allow you to handwrite directly on the screen with a stylus, making for a great mix of new technology and old sensibility. Another perk of using a tablet is that it likely has a built-in voice memo app, so you can save your lectures and review them later.
A studying sanctuary
You needn’t break the bank when setting up a study space for yourself, but we recommend investing a bit of time and money in squaring off a space in your living space where you can work comfortably and without distractions. Get a chair with lumbar support to help your back through those long hours of studying, along with an inviting deck.
Dress it up with decorations, maybe with a funky lamp, cozy pillows for your breaks, and mood-boosting plants. You might not think of office furniture as nursing school necessities, but don’t underestimate the value of a space where you enjoy working. Secondhand pieces are a great option if you’re on a budget (or even if you aren’t!).
Easy food-prep tools
Whether you purchase a slow-cooker, Instant Pot, or rice cooker, you’ll be setting yourself up for success by ensuring you can make quick, healthy meals. Those takeout charges add up, and when you’re paying for your degree, it feels good to save. No judgment if you’re not a chef. Perhaps a food-prep delivery service is right up your alley.
Something to carry it all
This nursing school essential is an investment that will “carry” you through your career as a nurse. Perhaps you’re lugging around books, notecards, and pens during nursing school. Once you’re out on the job, you’ll be juggling stethoscopes, penlights, and thermometers.
Whatever you carry, keep all those essential items organized and well-distributed so that the weight doesn’t give you neck or back pain. We recommend a nursing bag or fanny pack.
Five must-have supplies for nurses and medical professionals
If you’re already working as a nurse or another type of medical professional, you know how hard it is to triage. Narrowing this list down to just five nursing essentials was anything but easy. You may wind up needing many other items when you’re on the job, like compression socks, water bottles, and other items like those on our ultimate list here.
Nevertheless, here are our top picks:
The right scrubs can make all the difference (if you’re already out working in the field, we needn’t tell you twice). When you’re moving around all day, working hard, and even maintaining uncomfortable positions like standing and bending, your baseline comfort is critical. It also helps to feel good about how you look in your scrubs. You do hard work, so never miss an opportunity for a little mood boost. And with specialized cargo scrubs, your clothing can lend you a hand in carrying all your essentials.
This one makes the cut because you’ll be applying bandages and IV lines all day, so you’ll need to make your cuts—literally. And, you’re too busy to be looking for a pair of shears when you’re in a rush.
Nurses often suffer from swollen ankles and legs, sore necks, and backs simply because they spend a lot of time on their feet. This physical pain can also negatively impact your mental health. Thankfully, you can get ahead of the problem by wearing high-quality, specialized nursing shoes that offer support, cushioning, and traction.
Dry skin is another uncomfortable problem that nurses often experience. Your working environment may have rules on which lotions you can use, but we recommend a luxurious moisturizing, lightweight, and scent-free variety.
Maybe you’re not a medical professional but are looking to give the perfect gift to a new nurse or favorite doctor in your life. If so, stocking up on lotion to combat the effects of harsh soaps and hand sanitizers is one great way to show your care and support.
After living (and working as a healthcare professional) through a pandemic, you’re most likely all too familiar with those painful red marks that many face masks leave behind after hours of extended use. Thankfully, face coverings have come a long way in the last few years. Since you’ll likely need to wear them often—if not all day—we suggest opting for comfortable, antimicrobial masks that help keep you and others safe while going easy on your cheeks.
Still hungry for more nursing must-haves? If so, good! You deserve them all. Be sure to check out our ultimate list of favorites here, and remember, we believe in you and all the work you do. We’re here to make your life easier, whether you’re currently in nursing school or already out on the job (or both!). You can always count on us for great scrubs, helpful tips, and all the support you need on your journey as a medical professional.