Top 10 Items Every Nursing Student Needs for Clinical

I can’t even begin to explain how important it is to be prepared for clinical. Not only will you feel less frazzled when asked for something but you’ll also look more competent when you have all the tools you need. Below are my top 10 must have items for clinical.

1. Stethoscope… Buy the best one you can afford. If you get quality, it’ll last longer and you’ll be able to hear better. You can find them on eBay even! Just remember to swap out the earpieces! Hellooooo bargain!

Brand of choice: Littman

2. Pulse oximeter… Most units have their own but keep in mind that the nurses, techs and CNAs are all using them at the same time you’ll need them. Just keep it in your pocket with all of your other essentials. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to spot check a patient and was glad I had one handy. Plus they are way less bulky than the ones the hospital usually supplies. You can get ones for about $10 from Walgreens or CVS or Amazon!

3. A pen light. I prefer the ones that have the millimeter size on the side so I have a more accurate way to measure instead of just guessing! Super essential for those neuro assessments.

4. Black pens! Black pens! Black pens! The funkier the better! That way when someone “borrows” it, you’ll know exactly which one is yours.

5. Trauma shears… So handy for cutting tubing, gauze, packaging, etc, etc.

6. A note pad. Preferably one where the outside can be wiped down. Getrms are no joke. Write down vitals, when meds are due, times, intake, output, etc and don’t forget to chart it!

7. Super comfy shoes! Protect your back and your feet. Nurses use their bodies as well as their brains as tools. Protect those assets.

Brand of choice: Dansko pros or Allegria… Both are super comfy and durable. Consider it an investment in yourself!

8. A couple of pairs of cheap scrubs. Let’s be serious… You can buy your adorable, soft, comfy scrubs when you have a job in the colors you want rather than waste money on scrubs you’ll on wear for clinicals… And then burn them when you graduate. Or better yet, pass them on to younger students who may not be able to afford them.

Cheap brand of choice: butter soft by UA, Cherokee, barco, wonder wink
Pricier Brand of choice: Grey’s anatomy, healing hands purple label, med couture, blue sky

9. Compression socks. Protect those sexy legs. No body wants spider veins or DVTs and bonus: your legs will hurt way less at the end of each clinical

10. Watch. Go for cute, cheap and durable. I like to sterilize mine often and prefer one with a strap rather than links so it’s easier to clean.


11. A sharpie… You can outline drainage on bandages, bruising and redness on skin as well as date your dressings and IV tubing and bags and dry erase marker

12. A dry erase marker for updating those whiteboards

13. Snacks you can fit in your pocket and water to wash it down

Don’t forget your badge! Or you will be sent home especially if you have that one clinical instructor who is extra hard on her students. (If she asks for you to have your scrubs ironed and hair pulled back, do it. Resistance is futile)

Stay tuned for a post on my top 10 supplies you need to survive nursing school.

Nursing love and mine,
Scrubs and Pearls


13 thoughts on “Top 10 Items Every Nursing Student Needs for Clinical

  1. Also some tyoe of a pocket clinical companion is great. I have a Mosby one that I got from the book store at my school but you can get them on Amazon for pretty cheap. I use mine quite a bit in clinical as it goes in depth about different things from lab values to all sorts of assessments like your head to toe and neurological and mental health. It’s great to whip out when you are doing an assessment and get stumped or if you forget where to listen for lung sounds etc.

  2. Is there any way you could post pics or names for the pulse oximeter and pen light with the measurements? I haven’t come across these yet.

    • Men wear Dansko professional clogs, too! All the doctors at my office wear them. Sanita is another company that makes the same professional clog as Dansko, but doesn’t outsource the manufacturing to Asia 🙂

      • Personally, I have a pair of white non-slip sketchers shoes for clinical. They’re sort of higher than a normal sneaker, but not quite a high-top sneaker. They are incredibly comfortable.

  3. Nothing worse than having a nursing student asking the nurse on the floor for a pen!! Are you serious you came unprepared even worse asking someone else to borrow their stethoscope, Eww! Please do yourselves a favor when in doubt bring everything!!

  4. We used to also bring our own BP cuff, and a mini PDR is great, if not the nurses drug book.and have your stethoscope engraved with your name, they will walk!

  5. I carry a pocket sized Med book. I prefer “Scud Monkey” that way when passing meds and you are not sure what it is, bam you got it in your pocket!

  6. Have your care plan and paperwork done, no point in being sent home. Pocket drug book has saved me when your patient has been or is being discharged and you pick up a new one.

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