Essentials for Nursing Students
©2009 Kathy Quan RN BSN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
As you begin your course of clinicals, you will need to be prepared with basic nursing equipment.

NOTE: Some schools require that you wear a specific uniform and shoes, and may require that you purchase your basic equipment from them or a specific vendor. Check before you purchase anything.
Uniforms
Uniforms will most likely be dictated by your school so check with them before you make any purchase. The school may have a specific uniform, or just guidelines. The most comfortable and versatile uniform is scrubs or pants and tops, but some schools may still require the women to wear dresses. You will need at least 2, preferably 3 or 4, depending on your access and time for doing laundry. Crisp clean uniforms are essential for sanitation reasons as well as professional appearance. Pockets are life savers, and the more the better. Wrinkle free and stain releasing fabrics are highly recommended.
You will need a stethoscope.
A 5-Way design should serve you well as a student. It has both the bell and diaphragm and can be interchanged for adults, children and infants. The
3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope, Black Tube, 28 inch, 2201is a great choice. Add an ID tag to keep it from wandering if you lay it down, or someone asks to borrow it.

Choose the best stethoscope you can afford. Ask for a better one as a gift for holidays, birthday, etc. And be sure it's a comfortable fit for your ears. Make sure you can hear well with it. If you have the opportunity to try out a few before you buy, by all means do so. And don't hesitate to return your purchase if it's not going to work for you. This is a very personalized item.
Comfortable nursing shoes are essential!
Again, check for any specific requirements from your school or hospitals before purchasing.

Lightweight, well-fitting and padded can't be emphasized enough. Sturdy arch support is a must. And you might want to consider an orthotic if you have any knee, back, foot or ankle discomfort. You're going to be on your feet and running for hours! If they need breaking in, be sure to do so before you start clinicals.

Be sure they fit well and are comfortable. Don't choose looks over comfort and fit! And if your feet, back, knees etc begin to cause you discomfort, consider buying a new pair of shoes. With lots of standing and walking shoes will wear down quickly. And when they do, you'll begin to feel it!
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Smart Devices
A smart phone, laptop and perhaps a tablet are highly recommended. There are many apps to assist you with nursing related topics such as EKGs, laboratory standards, pneumonic, etc. And you can use your device to search the Internet for disease specific information and nursing care recommendations for symptom management. A desktop computer in your home or dormitory is an essential tool along with peripherals such as printers. Purchase the best option you can afford.

Your smart phone will also offer access to a calendar, a calculator and translation apps.
A Watch
A watch with a second hand is absolutely essential, and of course you have to be able to read it easily. A calendar along with military time options are worth looking for, as well as a lighted dial.

It has to be waterproof because you're going to be washing your hands and wrists often. You might even like to have a watch that pins onto your lab coat or scrubs. Check out
NurseWatches.com for a huge selection of unique choices. (See blog post review.)
More Must Have's
A hard copy of a medical dictionary such as Taber's will become your best friend as will the latest edition of drug books such as the Drug Handbook or PDR for Nurses Keep them in your backpack or locker at all times. (Donʼt forget them at home.) Replace them yearly! You should also have apps for a smart phone or tablet for these items.
A few other items you may want to purchase along the way include a small retractable plastic tape measure. You will need a good pair of stainless steel bandage scissors. They should have some sort of identification attached to them so they get returned to you should someone borrow them. A pocket organizer designed for nurses will house them and keep them safe in one of your pockets.

This one comes with the
scissors, pen light, tape measure and a pen.

Put Your Name on Everything!!
Everything should have your name on it. Doctors are notorious for borrowing an item and then walking off with it. When you are rushed or called to another patient, you can easily forget your equipment and find it gone when you return.
Reading Materials
Here are a few books that might make your education process a little easier and help you ease into your first year as a new nurse: