Want to know what I keep in my clinical bag? Here’s my list of 10 essentials that I always bring with me to my rotations! While clinical is exciting, it’s also the most intimidating part of nursing school! So you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for anything!
All items can be found on Amazon and the links are in the post! I only recommend products that I have bought, used, and love!
1. You’ll need a good clinical bag or backpack!
First, you’ll need a good clinical bag to carry all your supplies! With so many options to choose from, it really depends on your preference and how many things you need to bring with you!
If you only have a small number of things, then consider this cute clinical bag from BAGSMART! It’s highly recommended by tons of nursing students! After reading so many great reviews, I bought this tote bag in pink. It was my first clinical bag and I do love it!
However, I needed to carry two big books and lots of extra supplies to my rotations, so this bag became impractical for me to use. It’s honestly a wonderful bag, and I still use it for the pool or as a day bag. But now I prefer a backpack for my clinical bag instead!
- Moderately roomy.
- Has a separate laptop pocket.
- Two side pockets hold a medium size thermos or water bottle.
- Comes in black or pink.
- Recommended for a small to moderate amount of items.
On the other hand, if you have lots of supplies like me, I suggest using a backpack instead! This Lovevook backpack is perfect for students who need lots of space.
- 20 different colors + 2 sizes!
- 19 pockets (including laptop pocket).
- USB charging port.
- Tons of space!
Edit: I’ve been using my Lovevook backpack for a full semester now and I highly recommend it! I bought the 17-inch black and white bag and I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it! It fits my 3-inch binder, laptop, Hydracy half-gallon water bottle, stethoscope carrying case, clipboard, jacket, and more, and even with all that I’ve never been able to completely fill this bag!
2. A clipboard to write on & hold your clinical paperwork.
Whitecoat Clipboards is a company that makes foldable clipboards that fit perfectly in your scrub pocket. The back has a cheat sheet with lab values and useful quick references. (But be sure to buy the one for nurses because they have cheat sheets for other professions as well).
I LOVE my clipboard because it’s so easy to carry with me and makes note-taking and charting a breeze!
3. A quality stethoscope is essential.
Surely, this will be the one thing you use the most throughout nursing. With so many great brands, colors, and designs to choose from, feel free to go with your personal preference here. The most popular brand is Littmann, but there are many other quality brands to choose from!
The stethoscope I use is a white and rose gold one by MDF Instruments that was given to me as a gift. I loved it so much that I based my entire supplies shopping on these colors! MDF offers great quality at excellent prices.
4. A protective case to hold your stethoscope, pen lights, and more.
Stethoscopes are a big investment and undoubtedly, one of the most important items in your clinical bag. So don’t just throw it into the bottom of your bag! A stethoscope case is inexpensive and can save you from having to buy a replacement. Additionally, it comes with enough space to carry more supplies! My stethoscope, bandage scissors, and pen lights all fit inside my carrying case.
- 3 mesh pockets.
- 4 elastic loops for holding pens and pen lights.
- Carrying handle + cute design.
- Fits a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, scissors, pen lights, and more!
5. A manual blood pressure cuff.
Although most hospitals use automatic cuffs, you still need to buy a manual cuff for school and clinical. But the good news is, you don’t have to break the bank to buy a quality cuff! I chose to go with the ADCUFF brand in teal, but you can also find cheaper cuffs like the one I found from Paramed.
- Carrying case.
- 20-year calibration warranty.
- Sizing guides.
- Lots of colors and patterns to choose from!
6. Pen lights are a must have!
These are for your head-to-toe assessments! You’ll find both LED and non-LED pen lights being sold, but only the non-LED should be used for the eyes! Because LED lights are so bright, they can be blinding if shined directly in the eyes, so be careful!
However, I still bought both types of pen lights because the LED lights can be used for the ears, nose, and mouth. And it’s also great to use as a flashlight!
7. A good pair of bandage scissors.
These come in handy so you’ll definitely want to carry these bandage scissors with you at all times! They’re perfect for cutting bandages, tape, packaging, and more.
- Dull edge to protect yourself and your patients.
- Sharp blade for cutting.
- Convenient to carry around in your scrub pocket!
8. These stylish safety glasses called Stoggles.
As a nurse, you’ll come into contact with all kinds of body fluids, so PPE is a must! When I was shopping on Amazon I was excited to come across stoggles, which are stylish safety goggles! From the front, they look just like regular glasses, but the top and sides extend to protect your eyes.
- Protect your eyes.
- Stylish + comes in different colors.
- Also has blue light lenses, which prevents eye strain if you spend time charting on the computer!
- Wears like regular glasses! No uncomfortable elastic bands.
9. A cute badge reel to hold your ID and nursing reference cards.
You’ll need something to clip your student ID and clinical badge to your scrubs, so why not make it fashionable?! There are so many options and places to buy from. But I thought these badge reels were cute because of the colors and glitter. They’re also retractable if you need to scan your ID or look at your nursing badge reference cards!
10. A watch with a second hand.
You’ll need a watch with a second hand to count heart beats and respiration. Since you’ll be in a medical setting, you’ll want to choose a watch that has a smooth, easy-to-clean band that won’t hold bacteria. My first choice was this adorable, retractable pocket watch!
However, a wrist watch may be the better choice if you prefer a bigger display.
- 15 color options.
- Easy to clean silicone band.
- Standard time and Military time. (The smaller numbers are the military time, which you’ll use in the hospital.)
Don’t forget a planner to keep up with your assignments!
Finally, you’ll need a planner to keep track of your assignments, schedules, and due dates! My advice is to find what you like and use it! Because the best planner is the one that’s easy to use and keeps you organized!
Etsy has a highly-rated planner for nursing students with hourly scheduling, assignment trackers, nursing tips, and more. Another great option is the one I found on Amazon, which is my new favorite! I love that it comes with creative journaling prompts and inspirational quotes.
These busy planners by Amy Knapp are my new favorite! They’re a great price, come with stickers and journaling prompts, and best of all, they’re pocket-sized!
Lastly, here are some bonus items that you may want to consider getting. 🙂
- Insulated water bottle or a Hydracy water bottle.
- Mini clip on sharpies. (Needed for writing on med bottles and bandages.)
- Extra pens and pencils.
- Nurses Pocket Drug Guide.
- Snacks or a healthy lunch.
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