Travel Nursing Updated October 4, 2023

By Kimberly Dixon

10 Nursing Tools Every New Grad Nurse Should Have

After graduating from nursing school, there are several important things a new nurse should do to help ensure a smooth start to their career.

Aside from writing the perfect resume and applying for entry-level nursing jobs, prepare for work by acquiring the right nursing tools for your toolkit.

Having the right tools early on in your career lets you hone your skills while attentively caring for patients, showing an employer your value.

10 Nursing Tools Every New Grads Should Have

1. A Good Stethoscope

One of the more obvious, and useful, tools for any nurse is a stethoscope. Most hospitals and clinics will require you to have your own.

There are plenty of stethoscopes out there to choose from; however, not all are created equal.

Low-quality stethoscopes provide poor audio, and they can be uncomfortable to wear around the neck or place in the ears.

Also, low-quality stethoscopes need frequent replacing, while high-quality ones may last throughout your nursing career.

A high-quality, name-brand stethoscope may be a significant investment, but it's one of the most important things you can add to your toolkit.

According to NurseBuff, a popular nursing-lifestyle blog, there are several important things to look for when selecting a stethoscope:

  • The earpiece should be comfortable and fit perfectly inside the ear canal.
  • The chest and headpieces should be made of stainless steel so that they transmit sound as clearly as possible.
  • Tubing should be thick and crack resistant.

The diaphragm should be air-sealed and made from a high-quality, flexible material.
Littman is an excellent brand of stethoscopes that's proven popular with medical professionals year after year.

2. Comfortable Shoes

Nurses tend to spend a lot of time on their feet. Many nurses work long shifts of 10 to 12 hours; comfortable shoes are a must-have item to get you through the day.

Some great brands that make comfortable, quality shoes include:

3. A Watch with a SecondHand

A reliable watch that indicates seconds is incredibly important to a nurse's day-to-day activities.

Patient care often relies heavily on timing medications and monitoring vitals, both of which require counting seconds.

For a great selection of nursing watches, check out Scrubs and Beyond.

4. Retractable Pens

Nurses are notoriously picky about their pens. Many nurses think retractable pens are one of the most essential tools you can have.

Retractable pens are preferred because they conveniently clip onto your scrubs and there's no cap to worry about.

Stick to higher quality pens, they write more smoothly and reliably. Paper Mate InkJoy pens are a popular choice among nurses.

5. Cheat Sheets

As a new grad nurse, it can be difficult to remember every bit of information learned in school.

ScrubCheats are pocket-sized cheat sheets that give you the ability to carry around easy to read, color-coded information such as:

  • Heart rhythms
  • Anatomy
  • Lab draw orders
  • Injection sites and more

6. A Hemostat

Hemostats, or arterial forceps, are handy tools that aid nurses by clamping IV lines, arteries, and tubing.

They can even hold a needle while you suture a wound. Amazon carries a great selection of hemostats at a variety of price points.

7. A Nursing Clipboard

Even though most hospitals and clinics have clipboards available for you to use, they're usually basic, and they don't allow nurses to recall and access information quickly.

Using a better nursing clipboard allows you to carry patient files while easily accessing tools and other information you might need.

The Prestige Nurse Assist clipboard is packed with features including assessment charts, a timer, a calculator, and an alarm clock.

8. Hand Sanitizer and Hand Cream

Nurses need to keep their hands clean at all times to protect themselves and their patients from germs and bacteria.

As a nurse, having an easily accessible bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket is a smart idea. Bath and Body Works has a great selection of fragrant, pocket-sized hand sanitizers.

After all that hand washing and sanitizing, the skin tends to dry quickly. You should replenish and rehydrate your skin often to avoid peeling. Look for a rich, high-quality hand cream that doesn't leave a residue or oily feeling.

L'Occitane en Provence's shea butter hand cream is very popular with nurses and other medical professionals.

9. A Small Notebook

Nurses working in busy clinics and hospitals can relate to fast-talking doctors giving instructions quickly before disappearing.

This doesn't leave a lot of time for questions or clarification. Having a small notebook that's easily accessible allows you to quickly take notes when receiving instructions from supervisors or gathering information from patients.

Check out this selection of custom nurse notebooks on Etsy.

10. A Reflex Hammer

Nurses often need to perform neurological tests as part of patient examinations.

To perform these tests correctly, you should have a reflex hammer available. Although hospitals and clinics often provide reflex hammers to doctors and nurses, they are small tools that can easily be misplaced.

Most nurses prefer adding their own reflex hammer to their kit to ensure they have one whenever they need it.

The Taylor percussion hammer is a high-quality reflex hammer that many medical professionals carry with them.

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