Nursing School Survival Supply Guide: Tips From the Experts

Here is our list of must-have nursing school supplies for "clinicals"

and beyond!


Get a good one. Don’t spend a million dollars (the digital ones that are labeled cardiac are a bit over-the-top for what you will need so put that on your graduation wish list), but you will thank yourself when assessing lung sounds to aim for solid. Expect to spend at least $50 for anything worthy– All Littmanns are superb!

Bandage Scissors, Or Even Better–Trauma Shears

Not only do they look cool, they are super handy. Nowadays, with all the superbugs around, it’s definitely better to use a dedicated facility instrument including scissors for dressing removal, but you will find a use for your own scissors for everything you can’t even yet opening the IV bag packaging or removing an ID band before discharge at the patient’s request. Don’t forget to label them with your initials or add decorative tape so they don’t 'walk away'. Be sure to get a pair that has blunt tips. Check out all the color choices!

Pens, Pens, And More Pens...And Highlighters

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You will learn very quickly that any paper documentation should be in permanent black ink– and don’t spend a lot of dinero– they are frequently lost or contaminated in clinical areas. Get yourself a black Sharpie style marker, as well, for placing your initials and dates on dressings or labeling meds you have drawn up. As for highlighters– one of the best ways for visual learners is highlighting text to focus on critical concepts. You will want at least 2 colors for the absolute abundance of information you will cover each week.


The most comfortable ones you can afford. There is a reason why nurses seem to have this dress code complete with clunky clogs. Most facilities are built with floors of concrete with very little bounce. Although as a student you will not be initiated to the 12-hour shift just yet, or you may become involved in governance and rally for a return to 8-hour shifts, even 4-6 hours of standing, lifting, and rolling will make you cry out for granny shoes.


AKA “mosquitos”. You guessed it– they resemble the nasty pest.

These instruments are resourceful little items that have these great clamps when you squeeze them together– they are great for attaching rolls of tape to your scrubs, opening packages, or even holding curtains closed! Most medical supply stores or places that sell scrubs have these. You are better off labeling these also– everyone knows how valuable these little trinkets are!

Get A Google Account

We like Google (who doesn't?) And here's why:

Google docs and spreadsheets that are available from anywhere, and don't use up your PC storage. This is a great time-management resource because it allows students to take advantage of any downtime to work on study notes and papers. It also allows easy sharing.


With everything digital these days, this one is self–explanatory.

A Clipboard With Storage Compartment

It’s impossible to make it through clinicals without so-called “brain” sheets, reference notes, and other essential papers. The storage compartment keeps confidential information out of sight. Having this type of clipboard to keep everything at your fingertips so you can finish those care plans before you go home is MINT.


A what? This inexpensive contraption is a best-kept secret– and yes, it simply holds a book open to a page on a desk so you can type notes. Sweet!

Watch With A Second Hand

This is one place where digital won't help you–can’t get through your first day without this! Make sure the band is secure on your wrist so it doesn’t come off when you remove your gloves (true story).

Image Credits:

Stethoscope image Wikimedia Commons, By Darnyi Zsóka (Own work) [Public domain]