Nursing School Supplies List: 10 Needed Essentials for 1st Year RN Students

I have compiled a checklist of 10 needed nursing school supplies that are essential to your success as a student. As a student, I know cheap equipment is best, which it is best to shop around online or at discount stores to find discounted supplies needed for nursing school students like yourselves.

First things first: Your school will have recommended books. If your college or university has a deal with the publisher, then you will save some money. If not, consider trying to find a used version of that textbook on sites like Amazon. This can save you a few extra bucks.

Also, you will need scrubs, but those may need to be purchased from your bookstore because they may have a patch on them that identifies you as a student. Check with your school.

Rolling backpacks for nursing students

Books are heavy, and theres no reason to cart around 50 pounds worth of books on your back. Get a rolling backpack with wheels. The investment is worth it.

This JanSport Driver 8, available on Amazon, has pretty good reviews on there. No, its not very cute, but its functional. It can hold textbooks and a netbook. Theres also a water bottle holder.

After getting a good backpack with wheels, youll need to fill it with basic school supplies:

  • Pens, pencils, and highlighters
  • Clipboard
  • 3 binders for as many classes as you are taking
  • Paper and index cards
  • Hole punch

Day planner

As a student, you will be juggling a lot of different homework assignments, reading assignments, and clinical assignments. Part of this training teaches you to manage multiple tasks on a daily and weekly and monthly basis.

Youll want to get good at managing your time, and the best solution is a day planner. I like one thats 811 so it stacks nicely. The Action Day Weekly Planner fits the bill nicely.


Stethoscopes are a personal preference. But those cheapy $20 ones are going to be of good enough quality to hear any auscultations to take blood pressure.

Most RNs on think the best stethoscope for a nursing student is the the Littman Classic II SE. The tubing lasts and the sound quality will give you an edge over other nursing students $20 cheapies.

Also, theres a lot of crappy review sites related to the best stethoscopes on the web. Avoid them. If you have the time for serious reading, check these objective reviews done by a medical doctor at

Nursing student watch

Who said you cant be fashionable? A watch is important for balancing your time and taking pulses.

Although every hospital room has a clock, you may find that you are at the wrong angle to see it when you are taking a pulse. A good watch solves that problem.

Comfortable walking shoes

Nurses are on their feet for 8-10 hours per day. It is essential to get a good pair of walking shoes or your dogs will be barking.

Pen light

A pen light is required to check for pupil dilation.

Find the best prices on back to school stuff on Amazon.

Stuff you cant buy

Nursing school is difficult. You will be learning a lot of material in a short amount of time some of which will put you off balance.

It is important that you are open and receptive to what you are learning and be able to handle difficult situations when you do your clinical rotations at hospitals and clinics.

You have to keep a good attitude during these two years despite the challenges.

Sleep: Proper rest is important to keep your brain functioning. Remember, you need to know your medications for your test but you will also need to remember that information when you are working as an RN on the floor.

Healthy eating: Making sure you eat properly is important, too.

Exercise: Youll spend a lot of time studying and the exercise will do you good.

I know I mentioned 10 nursing school supplies but some of the basic necessities i.e., paper and pens just didnt deserve their own slot.

Good luck with your studies and consider sharing this post with your fellow students if you found it useful.

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