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10 Things You Need -Or Want! For Nursing School

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.

2. Penlights
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)

3. Sharpies
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.

5. Clipboard
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, they have one for just about each medical profession-yes even nursing! and with lab values on them!

Officemate Slim Storage Clipboard -

Whitecoat Clipboard -

6. Shoes
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 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 

7. Textbooks
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. 

9. Watch
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.

This is one of those study challenges in Nursing school. Nursing is a career based off a paramilitary background that requires you to learn time management. Learning to manage your time well while going through Nursing school by being on a schedule will help you better organize all parts of your life which also includes how you study.

Study in smaller chucks such as every 30-50 minutes with a 10 minute break allows your brain time to absorb the information and enhances your recall as well for short term memory. It’s called linkage learning. Every time you learn new material, break it up into smaller parts. Cover section by section with small breaks in between and not forgetting to review the previous sections you just covered before going onto the next. I guarantee you put this study method into effect and your test performance as well as grades will go up.

Cramming in the last 30 minutes before the test will not get you very far in Nursing school like it did in traditional college classes. Always think the long term outcomes of your career as a Nurse. You are a health advocate, educator, and doing a job that often has people’s lives are hanging on the line. One of my best clinical instructors taught me recently “To be a good nurse is to know your skills. To know your skills is to understand how and why you are performing those skills to your particular patient cases. To be knowledgable of your skills is to have complete POWER!”

Something to take into consideration before you decide to cram for your next nursing test.

In one month...

I’ll be finished with my PN program.  When people think I’m going to be an RN and I tell them that I’m actually going to be an LPN they say, “Oh” in a disappointing tone. Oh hell to the no. I’ve worked my butt off to get this. I’m still going to be a nurse. I’ll always have opportunities to move up if I so please. I’m still important! hah  People need to get it together… some will never understand. Don’t make me feel less. I want to feel accomplished.

The editors at Nursing School Rankings decided to research the topic of:

The The Anatomy of a Nursing Student

Starting nursing school tends to morph the average person into a new species. What do nursing students look like?


- Bright white scrubs, all the time. 
- First time wearing colors is so exciting! 
- Proudly worn stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. 
- Heavy bag full of books for studying in the spare few minutes between patients. 
- Sensible shoes for keeping up with fast-moving nurses.


- Constantly reminds everyone about health: 
- Wash your hands. 
- Drink plenty of water. 
- Would rather give a shot than drink one at the bar. 
- More excited about blood than Edward…and considerably less sparkly.


- Picks apart every medical drama on television. 
- Yells at TV: A real doctor would never do that! 
- Attempts to diagnose every symptom at home, no matter how embarrassing. 
- Dad, I think you need more fiber. And perhaps a courtesy flush now and then. 
- Constantly checks vital signs. 
- Two fingers on the wrist is common. 
- Uses proper technique to apply SpongeBob SquarePants Band-Aids. Discusses bodily fluids over dinner. 
- Grossing out all non-nursing students at the table. 
- Thanksgiving at Grandma’s will never be the same.

Social Life (or Lack Thereof)

- Study groups with fellow nursing students. 
- Takeout food and coffee. Lots of coffee. 
- Practices vocabulary and technique on the family. 
- Bonus: Offspring and siblings learn medical jargon and use it correctly.



The disgusting side of nursing

…and i dont mean code brown. What I definitely do not speak out enough are things that i extremely hate about nursing. One of which are nurses that that are out to get you, the “sharks”. This group loves to prey on rookies. They love to pick out others (espeically newbies) mistakes with a fine comb to make their senoirity known. These nurses actually takes time out of their schedule to skim through other peoples work and documentation for mistakes then immediately run to you and rub it in your face to make you feel like shit. They act like they are the managers or auditters when in reality, they should be doing their job and worrying about their patients and not what new nurses are up to. they love to haze the new ones and make them feel like this is not the place nor right career choice for them. Beware of those bitches. If you are a new nurse….do NOT let them bring you down, ever. You worked hard to get that degree and you have the same right as they do. They are just hella insecure that their job will be taken away one day for the shitty ass nurse that they are so they try to sink the rookies. Its a tough economoy out there and nurses will try to secure their place by knocking others off. thats disgusting to me. How can one spend up to 16 hrs a shift caring for the sick and saving lives be so evil as to scheme up ways to rid of your cohorts? and is treating the new grads like shit necessary?! That is why lots of new nurses are turned off by this profession. Its not because of the patients..or the workload–its the other nurses that makes the work environment unbearable. I am lucky that i work as a charge nurse so most of the time i am by myself with other disciplinary staff. But last night i was attacked by one of these “sharks”. It was a disgusting experience and i hope that i will never allow these types of people to ever kill my spirit and love for my profession.

I need college help.

My parents didn’t go to college and don’t understand it and neither do I.
I’m thinking about becoming a registered nurse and go into neonatal nursing. I’m planning on visiting a counselor to learn about how to do this but can anyone offer any experience/advice/what to expect and how I can take any classes at a community college?