You did it! After years of study, hard work, and lots and lots of reading, you’ve finally graduated from nursing school and are getting ready to step into your first official position, as an RN or LVN. Welcome to the first day of what promises to be a long, fulfilling, and exciting career. And if you’re still a nursing student, don’t worry. School goes by fast. Enjoy it while it lasts.

You’ve already got the know-how (or you’re about to!) but what about your must-have equipment? From clothing, to tools, to carrying cases, to every-day medical supplies, there’s a plethora of essentials no nurse should leave home without. We’ve compiled a list below, so you can get your shopping started off on the right foot.

Nursing Accessories: Critical Clothing

  1. A good pair of shoes. No, really. It may seem obvious, but we can’t stress this point enough. A new nurse (or an experienced one, for that matter) won’t get very far without a comfortable pair of shoes. You will be on your feet for hours at a time, and having the right pair of shoes that provide support and stability can reduce incidences of foot pain and related problems such as back and knee injury. [Read More: Best Nursing Shoes
  2. Compression socks. Speaking of foot pain! The argument for compression socks is the same as the one for good shoes: you’re gonna be standing, walking, running through the halls of your place of work. You need to make sure you’re taking care of your feet. To find out more about how compression socks will serve you, check out our article: Best Compression Socks for Nurses.
  3. The right scrubs. Again, obvious. But critical! Uncomfortable, low-quality scrubs may rip, restrict movement, trap bodily odors, or even cause skin irritation. Do yourself a huge favor right up front and buy scrubs which let your body breathe, move well, and or course come equipped with plenty of (big) pockets so you can keep the rest of your accessories close at hand. [Read More: Cute Nurse Scrubs]

Nursing Accessories: Tools of the Trade

  1. A watch with a second hand. An analog watch is a crucial device for any nurse who wants to time manage successfully. But a watch is not just for making sure you show up on time after your lunch break. Many of the routine actions and treatments you’ll do as a nurse require precise timing and monitoring. This all-important accessory is useful for taking a pulse, timing an IV drug push, premedicating a blood transfusion, and so much more.
  2. Your very own stethoscope. This device is literally a must-have. Every nurse has to have a stethoscope in order to do their job. A seemingly simple tool, they make all the difference in determining the health status of your patient. And depending on the demands specific to your position, you can find a wide range of stethoscopes which are designed for specialized use. For a comprehensive list of stethoscopes available on the market, visit our other article: Best Stethoscopes for Nurses.
  3. Dressing scissors. You can expect to loan these out to all the nurses in your ward who aren’t as prepared as you. It’s easy to forget how much easier these innocuous tools will make your job, but you’ll be glad to reach into your scrub pocket and find them waiting for you. Nurses will use their dressing scissors to open tricky med packages, cut bandages, medical tape, gauze, tubing — even knotted gown strings.
  4. A pen light. Another tiny tool which is oh-so useful in making critical health assessments in your patients. Pen lights are most commonly used for determining neuro status by stimulating pupillary reactions, but their usefulness doesn’t end there. They can also be used to assess mucous membranes, as well as the female urethra when inserting a foley catheter.

Nursing Accessories: Essential Extras

  1. A clicky-pen. Ask any nurse what their favorite pen is, and this will most likely be their answer. Clicky-pens outdo alternatives (read: ball-point pens) because they don’t leak, thy don’t have a cap for you to lose, and you can tuck them securely into just about any pocket or pouch, so you know they’ll be there when you reach for them.
  2. Lotion. We’re throwing a little self-care into the mix. As a nurse, you’ll be washing, sanitizing, re-sanitizing, and re-washing your hands over and over throughout the day. With so much scrubbing, you’ll inevitably deal with dry skin. So having a favorite rescue lotion that makes your hand-working hands feel soft as a new-born baby can make a world of difference.
  3. A drug reference guide for nurses. You will be a medications expert in no time. But even seasoned nurses can use a little memory-aide every once in a while. To keep up with the ever-updating world of medicine, keep a pocket guide to drugs and diagnoses for quick-reference. If you’re tech-savvy, there are a number of quick guides you can download onto your smartphone.

Keep prepped for any situation by always maintaining a well-stocked tool kit, full of items from our list of essential nursing accessories.

[Read More: Gifts for Male Nurses

Medely is a nurse staffing platform that makes scheduling as easy as taking a pulse. To find out how Medely can work for you, contact us here.

Is your NCLEX coming up? Visit our other article, Anatomy Study Guides for Nurses, for a list of flash cards, coloring books, and even games which make studying fun.