Nursing Student Must Haves


Are you soon joining nursing school? If so, you are probably excited and, not to mention, overwhelmed or even scared to death. These feelings are perfectly normal. After all, joining nursing school is the first step to a career that will help you save lives on a daily basis.

Despite how you may be feeling, it is important to prepare well for nursing school. The last thing you want is to have a difficult time because you don’t have some anatomy textbooks or essential accessories because you were unprepared.

Nursing Student Must Haves – Ultimate Guide

Fortunately, we have done all the hard work for you. Below, we have listed all the essential supplies you will need in nursing school.

So, what are the nursing student must haves?


Clothes are the first important nursing accessories you need.

The Right Scrubs

Determining the best student nurse scrubs to buy can be difficult. Your nursing school may have guidelines on the types of scrubs students are allowed to wear. Therefore, you should check with the school first.


Find out whether there are specific brands, colors or types of nursing scrubs that are not allowed in the school. On the flip side, if the school offers students some freedom, here are some things to consider:

i) Pockets

You will be carrying many small items in your pockets (guidebooks, notebooks, pieces of paper, penlights, etc.). Therefore, you should get scrub pants that have plenty of pockets. Ideally, you want pants that are cargo or painter style.

ii) Brand

One of the brands that produce the best scrubs for nursing students is Gray’s Anatomy. The nursing student scrubs from the brand are high quality and well-fitting. You can also check other brands that make the best scrubs for nurses.

Buy Gray’s Anatomy Student Scrubs on Amazon

Flesh Toned Underwear

You probably were not expecting this. However, keep in mind that most schools require nursing students to wear white scrub pants. Therefore, you may want to invest in some flesh-toned underwear. We recommend packing those that do not show the panty lines.

See Recommended Flash Toned Underwear on Amazon

Comfortable Nurse Shoes

Nurses know how important it is to wear comfortable shoes. While you will not be a qualified nurse yet, you will be on your feet most of the time in nursing school. If you don’t have the right shoes, you can end up with foot pain.

nurse mates women shoesCheck whether your school has specific guidelines on the shoes to wear. If you have some freedom, check our selection of the best shoes for nurses.

There are different brands of nursing shoes you can go for. We recommend the following brands:

Choose comfortable shoes for your feet. You do not need to specifically go for nursing shoes. Even a good pair of tennis shoes would work well.

See Recommended Nursing Shoes

A Wheeled Backpack

You definitely need a wheeled or rolling backpack for nursing school. Yes, you may love shoulder bags but carrying all those heavy textbooks on your back day in, day out can lead to some undesirable effects such as back pain.

High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Book Bag BackpackWhy risk back pains when you can get a wheeled backpack?

See Best Wheeled Backpacks for Nursing Students on Amazon

Nursing Watch

Another nursing student must have is a good watch with a second hand. Most nursing schools will require you to have a nurse watch and bring it to clinicals.

Wior Medical Lapel WatchIf your school is flexible, you can use a clock or your phone in the patient’s room. You will find clocks in most hospitals and your phone time would also work just fine.

The reason why you need a medical watch is that most medications have to be administered at a precise time. For example, you may have to administer medication within 10 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and so on. A nurse watch would help you the time precisely.

See the Best Watches for Nurses on Amazon

Badge Clips

You may think that displaying your name is only useful to enable people to know who to write their comment card to but this is not the only convenience of a badge clip. There is some pretty important information that will make your work easier, which you can keep on the clip.

For example, you can keep an EKG box measurement tool on your badge. How about those important numbers you may need to call?

When looking to buy a nurse badge clip, choose one that is solid and sturdy. Do not be afraid to spend $2 or more for a good badge clip. The last thing you want is for the plastic part that loops through the badge to break because it’s of low quality.

See Nurse Badge Clips on Amazon


If you are not a fan of badge clips, you have an alternative in lanyards. However, lanyards are notorious for suddenly holding your neck captive when you lean over the things nurses usually lean over on or when you are turning a patient.

Still, you may want a lanyard over a badge clip. You may want to purchase both of these nursing student must haves to see which one would work best for you.

See Nurse Lanyards on Amazon

Nurse Student Organization Kit

As a new nurse, time management and organization will be quite challenging for you. Here are a few accessories that will help you with these:

Nurse Student Planner

Your life will be fully occupied in nursing school. There are many things to do. To ensure you do not forget anything, get a nurse student planner. You can make notes, write your schedule, and keep important phone numbers on the planner.

One thing you should commit to is finding an organization method that works for you and sticking to it. Whenever you change your organization method, you waste a lot of time re-learning the new system. Therefore, finding a method that you are comfortable with and get committed to it.

Listen to this Podcast by to find out everything you need to know as a nursing student.

See the Best Nurse Student Planners on Amazon

Quizlet or Notecards

Note-taking is a staple of nursing school. It is important to have a way of condensing the notes you will be taking to make them more useable. If you like doing things the old-fashioned way, you can buy a large traditional notebook (like this one) to write your notes.

Another great tool we’ve used is known as Quizlet, a digital, crowdsourced flashcard site. When you connect your phone to the app, you can view your flashcards anywhere.

However, keep in mind that anyone can create a flashcard on the site. Therefore, you cannot be 100 percent certain that the information on the public flashcard decks is correct.

See the Best Nurse Notecards on Amazon

A Voice Recorder

voice recorderSome days, you will not understand the whole lecture. Perhaps you had a bad day and was scribbling notes in a hurry only to find it impossible to decipher what was lectured about when you get home. An easy solution to this problem is to get a tape recorder.

You can use a good tape recorder to record lectures that you can listen to later.

See the Best Voice Recorder for Nursing Lectures on Amazon

Study Guides

Nursing books can have thousands of pages of information. As a result, determining the information that you actually need to know or that is necessary can be difficult.

To make your work easier, as developed a few free online nursing study guides.

Our favorite ones are:

The pages have links that you can save on your Pinterest board. If you love the social network, we recommend starting a “Nursing Pinterest Board” where you can save the awesome nursing resources you come across.


sharpiesWhen you are taking your own notes or reading materials, you can use highlighters to improve your comprehension. Here are some guidelines on using highlighters:

  • Highlight any explanations or examples in green
  • Highlight important definitions in pink
  • Highlight important values in blue

We have a great guide on how to color code your notes.

See the Best Highlighters for Nursing School

Sticky Arrows

sticky arrowsYou can mark specific things you need on pages using matching stick arrows. You can use the arrows to mark pages that have orange or yellow highlighter sections.

Marking the pages will make your test reviews productive and efficient. Moreover, it will be easy for you to access everything you want to discuss in a meeting with your professor.

Once your issues have been cleared, you can remove the sticky arrows and rest assured that the issues were addressed.

Buy Arrow Markers on Amazon

Post-It Notes

post it notesThere are many ways in which you can use post-it notes. For example, you can use them to write your notes on or mark specific pages. You can also pull out your sticky notes and arrange them by color, stick them on a wall or daily review before the exam, and so on.

You can also use post-it notes to take notes of things that are not in the textbook to save time.

Buy Post-it Notes on Amazon

Clinical Tools

Below are the nursing student must have clinical tools.

Clicky Pens

You may think it’s trivial but a good clicky pen is a must-have in nursing school. Try to spend a day with a pen with a cap in nursing school and you will see what we mean. The cap will get lost, and so is the pen. Moreover, your scrubs are likely to end in ink stains because the pen does not have a cap.

Get clicky pens are they are easier to use and you can connect them to your scrub and not worry about losing them.

Buy Clicky Pens on Amazon


Get some basic Sharpie markers. These markets are useful during clinical for writing.

Generally, you should have two Sharpies; the large one and a fine point one. The large ones are great for writing medication stickers that will go on IV fluids while the fine point ones can be used for taking notes.

Buy Sharpies on Amazon

Scrubcheats (Pocket Nursing Guide)

scrubcheatsScrubcheats will ensure you have the most critical information right at your fingertips anytime. Medical Spanish, medication math, uses of IV fluid, EKG interpretation, you name it.

Get scrubcheats with the most essential clinical information to use as a quick reference guide during your shifts.

Buy Scrubcheats on Amazon

Nursing Cheat Sheets

nursing cheat guidesNursing cheap sheets provide condensed clinical information that will be helpful to you during nursing school. We highly recommend the cheat sheets for fresh nursing students

Even if you have already started nursing, it wouldn’t hurt to have a handy reference sheet with you.

See Best Cheat Sheets for Nurses

Nursing Brain Sheets

Another challenge you will face in nursing is giving and taking reports. But don’t take it hard on yourself; even experienced nurses have a difficult time provided good reports.

To make your work easier, you can use nursing brain sheets (or reports). We have created dozens of sheets that nurses swear help them to be more productive and provide better reports.

BuyNursing Brain Sheets on Amazon

A Good Nursing Stethoscope

3m littmannA good stethoscope for nursing students is an essential gear to have when going to school. Look for a stethoscope that will serve you well.

Yes, you are a nursing student and your budget may be tight. But do yourself a favor and buy a high-quality stethoscope that will last long. There’s no need to spend $50 on a crappy instrument that will make it difficult for you to listen to lung sounds.

See the Best Stethoscope for Nursing Students Here.


hemostatA good pair of nursing hemostats will prevent you from getting into sticky hams. While the accessories are meant to help in surgeries, they come in handy for so many things:

  • Clamping chest tubing
  • Unscrewing or clamping IV tubing
  • Clamping a bleeding artery
  • Holding a needle for suturing
  • Clamping Foley’s when changing tubing

You can get creative with this nursing gear and use it for many more things.

Buy on Amazon

Trauma Shears

trauma shearsYou definitely need a good pair of nurse shears for both emergent and non-emergent situations. When you need the accessories, whether or not you have them will determine your time management.

Nurse shears can be used to open the child adult-proof medications or cutting off gauze on patients. These important accessories can mean life or death in the ER.

Buy on Amazon

Foam Hand Sanitizer

purcellYou’ll be washing your hands a lot and thus, having a good hand sanitizer is a must. Just go for a small bottle that will fit easily into your pocket.

We’ve used Purell and many nurses swear by it.

Buy on Amazon


Rayovac Lumen PenlightA medical penlight is a must have nurse accessories as it helps in oral and neuro assessments. Finding a good medical penlight can be quite a challenge. You may wish to use your smartphone light but it may not work very well.

You can find the nurse penlight we recommend on Amazon.

Buy on Amazon

Good Nursing Clipboard

nursing clipboardNursing clinicals involve taking a ton of notes and carrying a lot of paperwork. Therefore, it’s important to have a nice clipboard where you can organize all your important notes.

See the Best Nurse Clipboards on Amazon

Study Aids/Tools

Here is an overview of the best courses, podcasts, and books of nurses you should check.

Test Success

test successThis is one of the best books for nursing students. This undervalued nursing book will change your student nurse career.

The book goes in-depth into NCLEX-style questions and educates you on how you need to look, read, and interpret the questions. You can buy the book before nursing school just to glance over it. When in nursing school, you can use the book as a reference.

Buy on Amazon


Sometimes, you will struggle with what is being taught in nursing school. Some professors may just be reading PowerPoint and not explaining the material. This is why you need to enroll into Nursing Academy.

Nursing Academy covers the most complex parts of nursing in an easy-to-understand manner. The online academy has case studies, quizzes, and cheatsheet that will help to grasp what is taught. There are also powerful study tools like audio databases, image database, flashcards, and NCLEX test questions for your benefits.

Try Nursing Academy for $1

Nurse Drug Reference Guide

drug reference guideWhether you are a nurse, pharmacist, physician, or other medical professionals, you will never know everything about drugs. There is a lot to know and a lot of changes. However, you will need to access drug information quickly for reference. And this is why it’s important to have a nurse drug reference guide.

Check Recommended Nurse Drug Reference Guides on Amazon

Good Health

Finally, you will need to keep yourself in good health. When studying, a good cup of coffee would do. Here is our list of accessories we recommend you carry to nursing school.

A Good Coffee Maker

coffee makerYou can’t stay awake all night reading without a cup of coffee. It’s essential, trust me.

Invest in a good coffee maker to ensure you get your daily dose of caffeine. Moreover, making coffee at home is cheaper than buying a cup every morning. The Keurig coffee maker is our top recommended coffee maker.

Buy on Amazon

Meal Prep Container

  So Young in Red Lunch BagYou may not really need these in nursing school. However, given how little time you have in school, it makes sense to have a good lunch container where you can carry a healthy meal.

You can spend a few minutes every week to prep all your meals ahead of time. You will significantly reduce the stress of cooking after a long day at school.

Buy the Best Lunch Box for Nurses on Amazon

What Are Your Nursing Student MUST HAVEs?

Your turn. What are your nursing school must haves? Let us know in the comment section below.

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