Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into nursing school! Now what? Let’s start with the essentials.
1. Stethoscope (of course!)
This is the most fun part. You get to choose from numerous brands, colors and styles. This is where you might decide to splurge (remember- this will last you years if you pick a good one!). My personal preference is Littmann. The Classic II S.E. is a decent contender. You don’t need a cardiology or electronic stethoscope for nursing school - save that for your graduation present to yourself.
Yes, multiple. And don’t bother spending more than 5 or 6 dollars. They are like pens and will get lost or forever “borrowed”. You can’t get by without these. Well you can if you want to perform an incomplete assessment of your patient, but let’s not start off with that kind of mentality.
2 ½. Scissors (bandage scissors)
As if this needed an explaination.You will indeed be thankful to have one of these in your handy dandy cargo scrub pants when you’re standing in the nurses station with a specimen no one bothered to label or even pick up.
4. Scrubs (If your institution does not provide them)
Okay so maybe I lied. This could easily be tied for most fun, especially if you’re a girl. There are a ton of brands, colors and styles much like there is when picking a stethoscope. I try not to sacrifice utility for style or material but sometimes you just cave. I try to always have at least one pair of cargo scrub pants for each brand I buy. There are expensive brands such as grey’s anatomy and med couture but there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying cheaper scrubs. Scrubs and Beyond has their own brand of scrubs that are both stylish and comfortable. And for plus size- WonderWink has a very stylish plus sized line. There is no right or wrong, it’s up to you to get out there to your nearest uniform shop and try on prospective brands. If you end up ordering online I recommend either scrubsandbeyond or allheart. Scrubs and Beyond frequently offers free shipping on any sized orders and discounts on many brands. Allheart seems to have a wider selection of scrubs, you can find a lot more styles within a certain brand than you can elsewhere.
Okay so this isn’t a “need” but more of a want. Preferably one with storage to keep your papers in just incase you need to set it down somewhere on the medsurg floor. I bought one that has paper storage and storage for my pen and penlight. They also have awesome clipboards that fold over at mdpocket.com, they have one for just about each medical profession-yes even nursing! and with lab values on them!
Officemate Slim Storage Clipboard - Amazon.com
Whitecoat Clipboard - Mdpocket.com
Whether you prefer athletic shoes or nursing shoes, it’s completely up to you! There are plenty of good choices in each category. I love the Koi by Sanita, simple but cute, I don’t go a day without a complement on them! Being 4'11" I love the added height on them (less asking for male assistance to the top shelf in the supply room). You can get them at scrubsandbeyond.com. I also love my Nike running shoes. I’ll admit that sometimes when it comes to shoes we don’t always adhere to the dress code. I’ve seen many nurses with bright pink/green/yellow shoes that no one has said anything to but if you’d rather lay low go with a solid pair of black or white.
Koi by Sanita
This might be a no brainer, but I’ve noticed some nursing school textbooks to be much costlier than non-nursing or even pre-nursing textbooks. Start adding them to your amazon wishlist and let family members know! Amazon gift cards are like gold to a nursing student.
8. NCLEX Practice Book
You can get a book or the NCLEX Mastery app from the app store. Also, if your school uses ATI there’s an app for that too. Both are around $20 each but are great investments. I am unsure if they are supported by android, sorry! When it comes to the books, there is no right choice, only what is right for you. I suggest you take yourself to barnes and nobles and cuddle up in the nursing section with the NCLEX books. Some that have been recommended to me: Lippincott, Saunders and Kaplan.
Preferable a water resistant or waterproof one. You’ll need a second hand, or if you use digital make sure it has a setting to view the seconds. You’ll need this to take radial/apical pulses (some hospitals don’t have clocks in all rooms) and to push IV medications. Don’t take expensive or sedimental watches, they are at increased risk for theft, getting covered in BMs or just plain broken.
Don’t try to take your smart watch into a psych unit. Just don’t do it.
10. Amazon Student Prime Account
By far the thing I use the most. Free 2 day shipping for 6 months when you sign up with your .edu school email address. If you already signed up and your trial expired they offer a discounted rate (50% off!). Don’t forget to go into your settings to turn off the automatic charge at the end of the 6 months.