Nursing school supplies

As I wrap up my final weeks of classes before I start my capstone, I wanted to reflect on nursing supplies essentials and things I didn’t need. This applies to the accelerated nursing program, it might be different for traditional nursing students.

  1. Lab values chart: I made up a sheet and lamented it. The size was great to stick in my notebook and reference. Values differ between hospitals so use your hospital’s values or find generic ones online.
  2. Watch: Although I would love a nice beautiful leather watch, this plastic one was great because afterwards it could be wiped down with alcohol wipes and I wasn’t worried about it getting wet. Once I start a job, I will probably invest in a beautiful watch.
  3. Stethoscope: I really loved the one I purchased, I’m glad I spent the extra money. It helped me when obtaining a patient’s blood pressure. I would also recommend getting it engraved, because everyone says they can be stolen.
  4. White under shirts: During the winter months, scrubs were not warm enough. I really loved the softness of the Jcrew ones and they were long enough to stay tucked into my scrubs. They are currently on sale! I’ve tried other brands but the Jcrew ones are the softest and most  comfortable. Some hospitals don’t allow you to wear long sleeves under your scrub tops, so check on that before purchasing. If they don’t allow you to wear long sleeve, short sleeves work well too.
  5. Small notebook: Everyone had a different system for writing down patient information. Some people used clipboards but I found that it was difficult to find a place to put them down in the patient’s room. This notebook fit perfectly in my pocket. I was also able to look back and reference certain information.
  6. Hand sanitizer and hand wipes: Even though the hospital supplies many hand sanitizers, it is nice to have your own brand that you like. These wipes were a gift and it’s so special to have a nice soft wipe after a long day.
  7. Danskos: I researched lots of white nursing school shoes. After much protest I finally decided to try these on and I’m so glad I chose these over sneakers. They are easy to wipe down and I’m not worries about liquids soaking through. They are so comfortable and help protect my back from standing on the hard hospital floors.
  8. Backpack/ bag: Have a bag where you can put everything you need. It was nice to have my clinical bag that I knew had everything I needed for the hospital.

 

Things I did not use:

Blood pressure cuff: Although I am still glad I purchased this for future use.

Nurse’s Drug Guide: I prefer looking up things in a book over the internet. However, with the amount of nursing school homework, I found myself always looking up drugs online.

Pen light: I was panicked before my first day of clinical because I couldn’t find one. I can safely say I have never used mine.

Clinical bag

Tomorrow will be my first day of clinical! I couldn’t be happier. It means a lot to me to finally be in the hospital as a student nurse after working so hard to get to this point. The question, “Are you nervous” has been asked countless times, and although yes I am nervous about giving a wrong medication or essentially ‘killing a patient’ because their life is in my hands, I have faith that I will be extremely careful and and thoughtful. For me, the excitement and anxiety to finally be doing what I love is over powering everything right now.

Volunteering at the hospital also helped get the nervousness of the first day out of the way.

My first day volunteering at the PICU had some bumps…

During orientation, because so many patients are on precaution, they demonstrate how to put a paper gown, gloves and a mask on. How hard can it be right? WRONG, It was the first patient I was going to check on and outside was little plastic drawers with everything in it. While standing 4 feet from the patient and her mother, I struggled to find the simple mask that I had been oriented to use. Instead, I had to chose a mask with (what I know now, to be a face shield). Anyways, let me just say that face/ eye shield was a neck shield on me because I had put it on upside down. I then proceeded to enter the room with the plastic shield poking my neck very aggressively. By this point, because I was already in the patient room I could take adjust it. The patient and her mother were very polite not to laugh as I proceeded to tell them this was my first day as a volunteer. I was so embarrassed and warm at this point I had a hard time coming up with conversation. Needless to say I have learned my lesson.

Something about knocking on a patient’s door whom you know nothing about and are completely unaware of how they will be when you open the door is terrifying. I was told one day to knock on the patient’s room and ask them if they wanted any water or ice. 10 rooms later only one mother said yes and I think she said yes out of pity because her water pitcher was still full. I think when I’m a nurse I will be happy when they say no.

What am I packing?

  • Stethoscope
  • Blood pressure cuff, with a handy bag for it to sit in
  • Niagara lanyard (just in case)- we don’t wear though because it can dangle and get gross
  • ID badge
  • Pens, pencils, sharpies and highlighters
  • Penlight
  • Notebook
  • Nursing Drug guide book
  • Calculator- just in case
  • Index cards- for when I want to write something important down
  • Clinical Binder
  • Chapstick, bobby pins, hair ties, hand lotion, hand sanitizer

Not shown:

  • Huge water bottle
  • Lunch
  • Uniform

I keep ibuprofen in a little Lush sample container. It is much smaller than a big bottle and I can keep refilling it when I need to. Tension and cluster headaches can ruin my day, so I like to have these near.

I label everything with my name and phone number. Pink tape also helps me to quickly identify what is mine.


Tucked inside my Blood Pressure Cuff bag, I keep sanitizers wipes handy to clean off the ear pieces and the bell.

L’occitane is the best hand lotion, I am almost out but the binder clip will help me get through tomorrow.


I’m using this Lululemon gift card holder to store the little accessories in.

This bag is amazing! It has a million pockets to organize everything and a top zipper to keep things from falling out. More on the bag later.

I will also try and update on how the first day went 🙂