Essentials for Nursing Students 

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Hi, I'm Tanya!

I know summer is officially about to be here and many of us who are in school are more focused on enjoying our break from school. It is always a joy knowing that you don’t have to worry about studying for an exam, reading material for the next class or even making notes for class etc. I woke up today and I was talking to my sister who recently got into Spelman (go sissy!). Like most of our conversation it became about her and her obsession and excitement to start school in the fall. We were on face-time and I said to her “all this talk about going to Spelman, are you even prepared to take on this task?” I made a joke and told her we are Girl Guides we need to always be prepared. Shortly after, I was talking to a friend of mine and we are always talking about many random things throughout the day, she is also a pursuing a degree in nursing we just happened to start talking about our experiences in nursing school. A light bulb went off in my head and it prompted me to write this post.

Keep in mind these things I am about to list are based from my experience.

  1. Stethoscope

Having a Stethoscope is essential. Having a Stethoscope is an integral part of nursing school. Now while having a good Stethoscope is essential it is VERY important to know that you DO NOT need to break the bank buying one. You are a student on a budget, they are plenty of stethoscopes out there that are under $200. The key is to make sure you can pick up the sounds loud and clear. You can also request one as a gift from your family and friends, they will be excited about your new journey and probably won’t hesitate to get you one. You can also ask other nursing students or an experience nurse and find out what is a good stethoscope to get without spending too much. I swear by amazon and they usually have cheaper and efficient ones.

2. Manual Blood Pressure Cuff

Having a manual BP cuff is another essential. As a nurse, it is important that you know how to take blood pressures manually and not to always rely on the electrical ones that are usually in the hospitals or doctor’s office. The key to being a good nurse is not to rely solely on a machine, now while it makes the work easier it is also good to know how to do the basics. You just never know what may happen. You can practice on your friends and family. As funny as it may sound, learning to take blood pressure manually actually improved my listening skills.

3.Comfortable Scrubs

Being comfortable will always be key. I recommend getting scrubs that fit comfortably, you need scrubs that gives you enough wiggle room but not overly big. When I first went to get my scrubs, I ordered small cause I figured I am a pretty slim person and small is usually my size when it comes to everything so I got me a size small. Little did I know that a size small in scrubs is basically a large for me, I ended up having to get a size XXS in tops and XS in bottoms. Before you go ordering online I suggest going to a uniform store to try your scrubs on before purchasing.  small notepad, penlight and all the other little accessories that you will need while working on the floor. While you are scrub shopping make sure it complies with your school requirements. Fitscrubs are known for their Athleisure medical apparel you can check out some of their apparels here

  1. Great Shoes

Shoes need to be as comfortable as possible. Those hours at clinical are no joke and from experience it is very rare that you sit during your shift especially as a student nurse. You want to get shoes that can support your back and won’t affect you during those long periods of being on your feet. Memory foam shoes are also a good option. While you are shoe shopping make sure it complies with your school requirements, because most school require either a black or white shoe.

5. A Good Watch

I happen to own 2 watches both of which I hardly ever wear, how ironic of me to tell you to get a watch lol. Pretty much EVERY nursing school require that we have one for clinical, it must be a watch with a second hand. Can you guess why it is a requirement to wear a watch to clinical? Well as nurses we may have to measure the time when it comes to administering certain meds, or if we have to check the vital signs of our patient. Now you don’t want to be out here rocking your Michael Kors or Fossil watches, while it looks all fancy and what not, fancy is not going to work in the hospital setting and especially as a student. So many mishaps could happen so save yourself the stress and get you a cheap second hand watch.

  1. NCLEX review book

In life, we never stop learning and that’s a fact. Getting the NCLEX review will be an asset throughout your school life. The book will have helpful tips for studying as well as prepare you to take the board exams. Someone recently recommended getting the Saunders’s RN examination book there is also a PDF version. This book breaks pretty much break things down into bullet points for almost every topic you will cover in school, it also has NCLEX style questions. In nursing school, you will learn that for every multiple-choice question there is no wrong question, it is just a matter of choosing the right answer.  Now this may seem somewhat overwhelming but do not let it be that way. I encourage you to use it as a tool to help with you throughout your school journey.

  1. Support system

Now in everything that we do having a good support system is extremely important. Align yourself with at least five of your classmates, that way you guys can have study sessions and whatever you may fall short on a particular topic your classmate/study buddy will be able to help you. Having a good support system also means that your friends and family will understand that you will not be able to hang out with them as often as you used to in the past. Your school work is your number one priority. And also, it is ok to lean on your family for financial support because having a job especially in your first year will be extremely challenging.

  1. Quick makeup look

These 6 o’clock am clinical are no joke. By the time, you are done your nightly reading for your other classes it will be time to take a quick nap before your clinical in the morning. I am not one who is big on makeup, I have only been trying to get into the makeup game recently. You don’t want to be rolling up to clinical looking like you just got out of bed or coming from the club. A little foundation or BB cream, mascara and a minimal lip gloss goes a long way. Nude lippies are also a good option but please I am begging you, do NOT show up with any drastic wing eyeliners or extremely long lashes (YOU WILL BE SENT HOME). Less is more when it comes to makeup and clinical, we are nursing students and need to look and act the part, when we become RN’s we might have a little wiggle room to do more makeup wise. Here is a quick makeup tutorial from one of my favorite YouTuber

  1. Comfy underwear

Yes, you saw right. You need to be wearing the right underwear under your scrubs. You don’t want to wearing white scrubs with red underwear under them, that is a big no, please use your discretion. Also, please wear undies that are comfortable, I can vividly remember the times when I would wear underwear that were not the most comfortable and let me tell you those six hours or twelve hour clinical shifts were not my best. I vowed from then on, I would make sure I wear comfortable ones.

  1. Planner

When you get to nursing school, your life will not be the same. I can’t tell you the many times I cried because I wanted my old life back. I am one to write Everything down, it is my way of remembering things. The key to being a successful student is to be organized, once you have everything written in your planner the chances of you forgetting things will be slim to none.

I hope at least one of these tips will be able to help you. How do you prepare yourself for school or any task? Even if you are not a nursing student some of these can apply to you. I would like to hear how you get yourself organized, let me know in the comments section below.

Flashback to my very first day of Clinical

Comments +

  1. Great post you left no stones unturned very informative x

  2. Sasha says:

    Great information! Dos and don’ts

  3. Kennia Allen says:

    Great info Tanya!

  4. asktyblog says:

    Great read. I just started PA school so I can relate to some of these things too lol.
    Check out my Blog too when you have a moment

  5. Hello! I start nursing school in the fall to obtain my MSN and this post was exactly what I needed. I recently bought a folding nursing clipboard for school. Any opinions on that?

    • I’m glad this post was able to help you. A folding nursing clipboard could also work. That will help with keeping your papers more organized especially when it comes to clinical. I wish you the best in your MSN program, I would like to hear about your journey.

  6. Junique says:

    Pretty interesting…lovely pic…actually smiled when I saw it…keep up the good work

  7. Such a great list. I have a blog post about some nursing school must haves as well. You def touched base on all the important ones. I have a Littman stethoscope from when I first went to school to be a medical assistant over 7 years ago and it still works great. Invest in a good brand and it will go a long way. Great read!

  8. […] I spoke about this in my earlier blog post essentials for nursing students . When you get to nursing school, your life will not be the same. I can’t tell you the many times I […]

  9. Kendro says:

    Good info. My mom is a registered nurse and uses most of these steps!


  10. This is all 100%! I just started my second semester of nursing school. While I am excited to continue, I’m not looking forward to the long nights and days of having my nose buried in a book, not being able to have a social life, etc etc. Oh well. We do what we need to do.

    • We do what we need to but also we must ensure we are getting adequate rest. It might seem impossible but taking care of ourselves is a part of the process. I’m wishing you well this semester.

  11. Ally says:

    I miss nursing life.
    Look great there!

  12. For real, those early morning clinicals are no joke! I have clinical at 5:30am….I don’t have time to look all fancy, I just got to try to look presentable!

  13. Gillian says:

    Good job.

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