Getting mentally prepared for your first clinical experience certainly can be one of the most daunting challenges of nursing school. Between worrying that you’ll remember everything you’ve learned up to that point and wondering what your colleagues on the floor will make of you, the whole process can be stressful, to say the least.
But what some don’t think about until they are getting ready to head out the door on the first day of clinicals is how they are going to get all the gear they need to the hospital. Between the stethoscopes and pens that you’ll use in practice every day to the books that you’ll still need to consult from time to time, the amount of stuff you need can add up quickly – and we haven’t even mentioned the lunch you’ll be packing yet!
We wanted to provide a list of what nurses who have already been through the process have found the most useful. As you may expect, there is a wide variety, and we’ve listed them starting with the most stylish and going to the most practical, though there is certainly room for overlap between these two extremes. To learn more about the facility you’ll be working in (or to check out other options in your area), check out the Nurse’s Guide to Hospitals.
Be sure to let us know your best solution to carry gear in the comments below!
A Small Messenger Bag
Messenger bags usually have enough pockets to allow you to store each piece of equipment in its own place. This not only provides much needed organization, but also makes it less likely your equipment will be broken.
A Student Kit
Sometimes you’ll find an accessories kit that acts as its own carrying case. For example, this self-contained kit from Cherokee comes with 5 pieces, including a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff. Keep in mind, however, that some workplaces today already have BP cuffs in each room, so you may not be required to bring one at all.
In the middle of the spectrum are those who cap the amount of gear they carry at whatever will fit in their scrubs pockets and clipboard. But make you sure to check out the Scrubs Style Tool before adding extra pockets with cargo pants!
One of the greatest things about mobile technology is the ability to have all of your books and notes with you at all times in one convenient (and light) package. You can even keep everything inside your clipboard!
Sure, we know there’s a bit of a stigma involved with rocking a fanny pack, but for some, it’s outweighed by all the pack’s pros. You get the advantages of a tote with different compartments, while keeping full use of both hands.
Totes are usually fairly inexpensive (this clever one is only $14!). While they don’t have pockets to help you stay organized, they’re super easy to throw your gear into as you’re rushing out the door.