Whenever you set out on a journey, no matter how long or short, you always make sure to pack the right equipment. Even a weekend camping trip requires all the outdoor gear to make your time in the great outdoors safe and comfortable. Nursing school is a couple of years, but you’ll still need all the essentials.
Before you head into your first day of classes, it’s important to make sure that you have all that you need—from study supplies to the tools of your new medical trade. While the journey may seem daunting and you may feel anxious, it’ll all be worthwhile when you have everything in order. We’re certain that you’ll cherish your med school memories.
We’ve prepared a list of all the nursing school must-haves that’ll help you stay comfortable and learn more efficiently. So, let’s begin by building a nursing school starter kit.
“Dress for success” is more than just an adage when it comes to nursing school. The right workwear will keep you safe while interacting with patients, dry when running around the hospital and comfortable standing and walking for extended periods (even while studying or learning to administer IV drips). Here are a few items you should have in your nursing school wardrobe:
- Masks: A good antimicrobial face mask helps keep you safe from pathogens.
- Scrubs: Take it from us: Performance scrubs are a must for feeling and looking your best at work.
- Compression socks: Compression gear helps you avoid painful conditions like swollen feet.
- Comfortable nursing shoes: You’ll walk a lot—or run if you specialize in emergency care—while tending to patients. This could end up in severe back pain. Choose comfortable sneakers or shoes, like clogs, exclusively made for nursing.
Tools of the trade
During your studies, you’ll learn how to provide direct patient care. So, add the following instruments to your nursing equipment list. Bonus: You can carry these items straight into your healthcare career as a nurse.
- Stethoscope: A stethoscope helps healthcare workers understand what’s going on in a patient’s body. Invest in a high-quality one now, and you can continue to use it to listen to hundreds of hearts over the course of your nursing career.
- Hand sanitizer: When providing direct care to sick individuals, you must protect yourself and them from any germ cross-contamination. This means you’ll have to wash your hands constantly, so stock up on pocket-size hand sanitizers you can stick in your nursing bag or belt. It’s also worth stocking up on lotion to combat dry skin you from all that handwashing.
- A good pair of scissors: Shears come in handy when you need to quickly cut a tube or bandage, so make sure you have a pair before you start learning to provide clinical care.
- Nursing bag: The tools above are just a few of the many you’ll accumulate in your work as a nurse. At some point, you’ll have a penlight, lanyard, Sharpie, reference guide, some medications, bandages, Post-its… you get the idea, right? Consider purchasing a nursing bag to carry all your essentials. You can even get a convenient, belt-style bag or a waist pouch with compartments. This ensures you have your tools right where you need them.
Everyone learns a bit differently, but when you study with the right tools, you’ll make the most of your long hours of studying. Here are some nursing school supplies that can help:
- Highlighters in different colors: As you read for class, mark up important passages in texts. And, when you make your flashcards and study guides, make those hard-to-remember facts stand out or color-code groups of information.
- Student planner: Get the best planner for nursing school you can find, and schedule your studies, classes and clinical hours. Remember that you’ll have to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse (RN), so a planner can help you balance your studies and test prep time.
- Pencils/pens: You can never have enough writing instruments as a nurse. Make sure you always have a pen on hand for taking notes during class or working on patients’ charts.
- Notebooks: Be sure to start school with a notebook—physical or virtual—where you can write down everything you’re learning. Boost your notetaking skills by getting a voice recorder, on which you can store your lectures (and later, supplement your notes with any information you may have missed).
What should I keep in my nursing school bag?
Ready to pack for your first day of nursing school? Here’s a little checklist of items to include in your backpack or tote:
- Study tools: Carry a little pouch in which you can add a pen, a pencil, colored markers, tape, sticky notes and more––just like you did in school.
- Medical tools: Consider carrying medical scissors, a stethoscope, a hemostat and any other tools. Although there’s a less-to-no chance that you’ll use them on day one, keeping them on hand is a great idea.
- Extra pair of scrubs: It’s always a good idea to have an extra pair of clothing (in your case, it’s scrubs!). You may not expect it but it could be a bad day!
- Water bottle
- Personal pharmacy: Consider packing a pouch with health and wellness products like a pain reliever, lip balm, lotion, hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene (if you’re a woman) and a toothbrush.
Start nursing school prepared
Once you have your pantry stocked with nutritious study snacks, your wardrobe stacked with comfortable scrubs and your bag packed with all the tools you need to succeed, you’re almost ready to go. But, there are a few things to study before nursing school to prepare your mind for that first day. Here are some topics to review before you head in:
- Different body systems (pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, etc.)
- Basic math
- Medical terminology
- Basic pharmacology (common medications)
- The metric system (if you traditionally used the imperial system)
- Study techniques
- Grammar and style conventions (for your written work)
You’re about to head off on an exciting journey as a nursing student, and we can’t wait to go on it with you. Don’t forget to avail your student discount when buying your first pair of scrubs from us. Whether you need a jacket to keep the air-conditioning at bay or are looking for a specific color of scrubs, we’ve got it all.