Nursing School Week by Week

10 Essential Nursing Supplies

August 08, 2020 Melanie Season 1 Episode 3
Nursing School Week by Week
10 Essential Nursing Supplies
Chapters
Nursing School Week by Week
10 Essential Nursing Supplies
Aug 08, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
Melanie

Today we’ll be talking about the 10 essential supplies you need for nursing school. Then I’ll run through about 15 more things that are nice to have. This list may be a little different for each school, so if your school gives you a supplies list, definitely go by that first.

Now, I’m going to assume if you’ve made it through your prereqs, that you already have a backpack and pens and paper. If you don’t I highly recommend a rolling backpack. It may look dorky, but it will save your back because these nursing textbooks are huge and heavy, and there are many of them.

So, the top 10 nursing school supplies are:

1. Planner
2. Textbooks
3. Anki App
4. Stethoscope
5. NCLEX Review Guide
6. Scrubs
7. Shoes
8. Laptop
9. Analog watch
10. Badge clip

Show Notes Transcript

Today we’ll be talking about the 10 essential supplies you need for nursing school. Then I’ll run through about 15 more things that are nice to have. This list may be a little different for each school, so if your school gives you a supplies list, definitely go by that first.

Now, I’m going to assume if you’ve made it through your prereqs, that you already have a backpack and pens and paper. If you don’t I highly recommend a rolling backpack. It may look dorky, but it will save your back because these nursing textbooks are huge and heavy, and there are many of them.

So, the top 10 nursing school supplies are:

1. Planner
2. Textbooks
3. Anki App
4. Stethoscope
5. NCLEX Review Guide
6. Scrubs
7. Shoes
8. Laptop
9. Analog watch
10. Badge clip

Today we’ll be talking about the 10 essential supplies you need for nursing school. Then I’ll run through about 15 more things that are nice to have. This list may be a little different for each school, so if your school gives you a supplies list, definitely go by that first.

Now, I’m going to assume if you’ve made it through your prereqs, that you already have a backpack and pens and paper. If you don’t I highly recommend a rolling backpack. It may look dorky, but it will save your back because these nursing textbooks are huge and heavy, and there are many of them.

So, the top 10 nursing school supplies are:


#1 This one was maybe the most fun to pick out: a planner. I love planners y’all. I love the pretty cover designs, I love the idea of getting organized and just “planning” my whole life. My last planner was a Happy Planner, and it was great, but it had a weekly layout where it lists Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday on one page, and then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on the next page. To me, that’s not enough space to write down everything I’m going to be doing in nursing school. So, this year I chose the Erin Condren Daily Lifeplanner Duo. This one has a whole page dedicated to each day, and it has hour by hour time slots along with a “to-do” list section. The paper is really thick, so I can use colorful pens and markers without the color bleeding through the page. It also is actually two separate planners with 6 months in each one. Otherwise, it would be way too big. But I like the idea of getting a new planner halfway through the year. The Erin Condren planners are a little pricey. Mine was $68, but you can pick up perfectly good planners for 15 bucks on Amazon. I do also use Google Calendar on my phone, but just to set up reminders for when I need to be somewhere. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer actual paper planners.


#2 Our #2 essential supply for nursing school is: textbooks. Your nursing school will give you a detailed list of exactly which books you’ll need. I spent about $900 on books for my 1st semester, but you reuse some of those books for other semesters as well, so your 1st semester will be the most expensive. In fact, for an 18 month program, you will probably spend 50% of the total cost of nursing school on your first semester. Because you have to buy most of the books, and all the supplies up front. Usually you have the option of purchasing either ebooks or actual paper books, and the ebook option is cheaper, but I prefer to feel the book in my hand and write in the margins, so I went with paper books.


#3 The #3 supply, which in my mind is essential, is a flash card app called Anki. This app uses a study method that I swear by called “spaced repetition.” You create your own flash cards on it, and review them each day. Just when you are about to forget the information, it shows you that flashcard again, and you rate whether that card was easy or hard to answer. This takes the guess work out of which flashcards to work through for the day, and keeps the information fresh.

#4 The #4 essential supply for nursing school is: a stethoscope. My awesome brother, who is an ICU nurse, bought be a really really nice Littmann stethoscope, that supposedly you can hear a heartbeat a mile away with, but that’s probably not necessary. You may want to get your name engraved on it because doctors are notorious for mistakenly, maybe not so mistakenly taking off with them.


#5 It’s smart to always start with the end in mind. The end goal of nursing school is not just to graduate, right? But to pass the NCLEX. That’s why the number 5 essential supply of nursing school is an NCLEX exam review app, and/or an exam review guide book. The ones I recommend are: The NCLEX RN Mastery app, which has over 2,000 review questions and it gives you in-depth explanation as to why the correct answer is the “most correct” answer, because as you know, there is often more than one correct answer when we’re talking about NCLEX style questions. I like using the app because it’s so portable, but I also have the Saunders Comprehensive Review book for the NCLEX, and plan to use this alongside when I’m reading the textbook. It also has a full practice test with explanations at the end of the book.

#6 The #6 essential supply is 2 sets of scrubs for clinicals. Your school will tell you exactly which type to get and in which color. I suggest getting 2 sets in case you have clinicals on two consecutive days and don’t have time to do laundry. 

#7 The #7 essential supply for nursing school would be comfortable shoes that are easy to clean. You’ll be wearing these shoes to clinicals in the hospital and getting God knows what on them, so make sure you can easily wipe them clean. Also, check with your school’s dress code, because you’re usually limited in your color options. My school only allows black, white, brown, or blue shoes for clinicals.

#8 #8 on the essential list is: a laptop that isn’t too old. It needs to be a Windows or Mac laptop. Usually Chromebooks, iPads, and tablets won’t be enough. It definitely needs to have a webcam, with all the Zoom classes you’ll be doing this coming semester, in the age of the Coronavirus, and you need to have a reliable internet connection.

#9 For #9, you’re gonna need a watch with an analog display. This will allow you to easily take pulses at the bedside. I recommend the Speidel Women’s Scrub watch. It’s made for medical professionals. It glows in the dark for when you need to take vitals on night shift, and the band is made of silicone, so it’s super easy to clean. Some people use an Apple watch, but I’ve heard it’s a pain when it times out and goes dark. By the way, I will have links to all the things, I’m recommending on the web site, at nursingschoolweekbyweek.com.

#10 And the last one on my list, the #10 essential supply for nursing school, is a badge clip. It’s certainly not the most exciting thing you will buy for nursing school, but it is needed. You will most likely order this at the school bookstore. It will have your name, and the name of your program, and say “student nurse” on it. Some schools will give you the option of using a lanyard to attach your badge to instead of a clip, but anytime you have something long dangling from your neck, you run the risk of it getting stuck under the patient when you’re turning them in bed, or an upset patient trying to grab it. Either way, you may just want to go with the badge clip instead of the lanyard.

Alright, so those are the things you have to have for nursing school. But, there are some more things that are “nice to haves.” Things that if you have the money, would be very helpful. Things like a clipboard to carry during clinicals. I got a cute little pink foldable one that has nursing cheat sheets on it, like normal lab values, and a pupil size measurement chart. You might want to buy some compression socks. My clinicals will only last for 6 hours, but many are full 12-hour shifts, and the socks help promote blood flow from your legs to your heart. You don’t want your ankles and legs to swell up after a long day on your feet.

You may want to buy a special bag for clinicals. This bag should be made of waterproof material, and have lots of pockets. You can keep your stethoscope case in it, along with a pair of trauma sheers, and a blood pressure cuff, and a hemostat. Oh, and some snacks. You do not want to be the student nurse who passed out because you let your blood sugar get too low.

You could buy a penlight, which is a miniature flashlight that’s shaped like a pen. This is used to assess a pupil response, and is so small you can just tuck it inside your scrub pocket. I’ll put a link to the penlight I went with on the website, nursingschoolweekbyweek.com.

There are two study resources that you might consider subscribing to if you can afford it. The first is called Picmonic. It’s an online resource and an app that uses pictures to help you remember hard to learn nursing concepts. For example, to remember what penicillin does, you would watch a video of the pencil-villian and hear his story to remember the details. You can also print out pictures of these picmonics and add them to your notes. This costs $12 a month, but to me, it’s well worth it, since using pictures has proven to increase exam scores by 50%. 

They also have many of the textbooks used in nursing schools catalogued to coordinate with their picmonics. So, for example, if I need to read page 175 in my foundations book, I can find the exact picmonic that would be relevant for that page and go straight to it. That’s a huge time saver!

Another online study resource, that’s also an app, is nursing.com. They have summary videos that have an expert nurse teaching the material that you’re reading in your textbook. They also link to picmonic videos, so the two resources are perfect to use together. Watch a nursing.com video, then watch the picmonic, then read your textbook if you still need to. Nursing.com is $39 a month, so it’s definitely in the “nice to have” category, not an essential.

Another thing you might want, and can get for free is a voice recording app on your phone. You can use this to record your online lectures and then listen to them while you’re doing other things, just like I hope you’re doing with this podcast. I want you up and moving while you’re listening to this. That’s the beauty of a podcast! You can listen while you fold laundry, or do dishes. You can listen while you go for a walk and get some vitamin D at the same time. It’s a pleasant way to multi-task.

The last two things I would recommend having are: A nursing care plan book that will make it so much easier to write out care plans for clinicals, and finally, a strong support group. Whether this is your family, or other nursing classmates, or right now, it may just be a Facebook group, but get plugged into a group of people who are gonna to support you and truly cheer for your success. 

Alright, thanks again for joining me. If you are starting nursing school this month, like I am, I know you are getting so excited, and maybe a little nervous. Hopefully this gives you some ideas for last minute things you still want to get before the semester starts. Alright, take care. Have a great week.