7 Essentials for Nursing Students
By LuLu Mecham
Nursing school is notoriously grueling, but there are some tools that can make it slightly easier.
With Autumn upon us, many are headed back to school. Amongst those students are prospective nurses starting or coming back for a semester full of notes, classes, and clinicals. Nursing school is notoriously grueling, but there are some tools that can make it slightly easier. We’ve gathered a list of nursing school essentials that will help you or a budding nurse in your life get through the long days of learning the ins and outs of patient care.
It goes without saying, but nursing students are completely booked and busy. A planner helps to organize and schedule out days and weeks ahead so nothing is forgotten or neglected. There are many great planners out there, and choosing one completely depends on your preferences. Some prefer paper planners, and some prefer digital calendars or planning apps so they can sync across devices. Before nursing school starts, try out some different planners and see which one you prefer and would stick with.
A nurse receiving or buying their first stethoscope is a milestone in and of itself. Serving as a symbol for those working in healthcare, a stethoscope is also a useful and necessary tool when evaluating patients. Although they can be expensive, a nice stethoscope will be used for a long time to come. Stethoscopes can also be meaningful gifts if you know someone heading into nursing school.
Nurses and nursing students are always on their feet. Foot health is incredibly important in general, but also for the longevity of a nursing career. Running and walking shoes like Hokas or Brooks are a popular choice for workers on their feet most of the day. There are also shoes like Danskin Clogs, Balas, or Cloves that provide enough support and comfort and are popular in the healthcare field. It is important to make sure you get the right fit, so we would suggest trying on the above-mentioned shoes in store before purchasing.
When in nursing school, it is virtually impossible to remember everything early on. This is when reference books, sheets, cards, and other material comes in handy. Consider having pocket charts, laminated reference guides, flash cards, and other material to reference whatever you are studying at that time or to even get started studying for the NCLEX. A convenient product is the Badge Guru 2.0—a product developed by nurses for nurses. This is a set of comprehensive clinical reference cards that can be conveniently clipped onto your badge and available at any time.
Like a good pair of shoes, compression socks are an excellent companion to any nurse’s uniform. Compression socks help by applying pressure to lower legs. That pressure boosts circulation and decreases swelling and blood pooling in veins. That often results in less leg and ankle pain, lower probability of developing or worsening varicose veins, and other health benefits. There are different levels of pressure available depending on the compression socks, so it is helpful to talk to your doctor about what would work best for you. In some cases, doctors can even prescribe compression socks, and they could be covered by your insurance.
Anytime school starts, students will need pens, highlighters, notebooks, and other supplies. This applies to nursing school as well. Be sure to have a good stock of note-taking supplies like those mentioned above as well as a pen light for writing and patient care, sticky notes for textbooks, mini notebooks for notes on-the-go, a voice recorder for lectures, and anything else you might prefer to take your notes to the next level.
A watch is a must in nursing. Often, medication that is administered will need to be timed, a heart rate or other vital will need to be calculated, times will need to be charted, or other tasks will come up that require a watch. While nursing watches are available, many nurses use a smart watch, or another watch they happen to have. Decide what works best for you.
Nursing school is different for every student, and many will find their own favorite items as they get closer to graduation. Until then, the above list should be about enough to get a student by if counting in textbooks and scrubs—which are usually picked by the nursing program. Although the years will be difficult, soon enough, new nurses will emerge into healthcare facilities and perform the important work of caring for patients. Good luck to all of those starting or returning to school, and we thank you for the work you are doing!