Any nursing student knows just how expensive it is when you first get into the program. There's scrubs, stethoscopes, clinical bags, fingerprinting and background check fees, and a horrendous amount of lab fees. It's hard to maintain a budget when everything is so expensive. There are cheaper options, however, how do you know if you are going to get a quality item that isn't going to break on you?
Every person that you talk to is going to tell you something different about what is actually important. To some, you need to spend more money on scrubs than a stethoscope. To others, a nice pair of hemostats rather than a penlight. Allow me to give you some insight.
I personally use a Littmann Cardiologist IV. It's a bit on the expensive side and I received mine as a gift. However, when it came to listening to my patients, I was able to hear a lot more than my friends who went with cheaper options. This gave me an edge when it came to health assessment. Spend the money!
Now if you're like me, your program requires very specific scrubs. Mine feel like scratchy bedsheets and I hate them. However, now that I am beginning work as a PCNA, my options for scrubs are limitless. Looking for scrubs that have a higher amount of spandex in them allows for them to breathe better as well as move with you. Paying a little more means that your scrubs will keep their color longer as well.
Getting a badge reel that is a little more on the expensive side ensure that you are getting something that will stand up to everyday use. I am pulling my badge at least 10 times an hour at bare minimum. Nothing is worse than when you pull and the cord snaps or gets jammed. Spend a little more. Also, always try to get plastic materials so that they can be easily wiped and cleaned after work.
Comfortable shoes with support
There are hundreds of options for nursing shoes. You want your shoes to be comfortable and supportive. Walk in them before purchasing. They need to be all leather (for easy wiping when you come into a contact precaution room), usually white (depending on your program), closed top, closed back, and nonslip. You don't want to be slipping into a puddle of body fluids.
We put our legs through hell during our shifts. Compression socks prevent dependent edema, DVT, and muscular complications. Spend the extra money to get the ones that actually work. Your feet will thank you.
You need to stay hydrated as a nurse and nursing student. Your health needs to be intact in order to provide proper care to your patients. I personally use a steel water bottle from Walmart that I got on clearance for $3. It keeps my water cold for over 15 hours. Nothing is better for thirst than a swig of ice cold water.
My WhiteCoat nursing clipboard is a life saver! It has common conversions and information on the back and folds in half to fit perfectly in scrub pockets. I keep all of my clinical documentation on the board and carry it with me. I have references right at my hands and also storage for handouts and loose paper.