4 Must-Have Things Nurses Need To Be Effective in Their Jobs

Updated on September 16, 2021

If you are a new nursing student or starting residency in a new institution you may be wondering if there’s anything missing from your checklist of supplies, or maybe you’re still figuring out what should be at the top of that list! Being a full time nurse is a ton of work, demanding you to be alert, caring and insightful at any time of the day, on the drop of a dime. Because of just how demanding and rewarding it can be, you’ll want to be best prepared to help every patient you possibly can in the best and most efficient way possible. In our short little checklist you’ll get a clear understanding of what exactly you’ll be needing to keep handy during your shifts, and definitely notice how much of a life saver it can be to be diligent and prepared in advance. 

Good Pair of Scrubs and Shoes

First up is more about what you have on your body as opposed to the tools in your possession. A pair of quality scrubs make for a professional and practical appearance, and a necessity at any institution. Scrubs are also typically not cheap, so you’ll need to put in some effort to research which may be best for you. It is also completely up to you what sizing might be appropriate, and normally it’s best to meet in the middle – not too tight, not too loose. While tight is good as it doesn’t get in the way of activity, it may feel constricting or look a bit unprofessional if taken to the extreme. Loose is also not good at all, as it gets in the way of your ability to act, for example having your pants get caught under your shoes, or your sleeves caught on a doorway. 

Another type of shoes that nurses must have to wear during their working hours is a pediatrics nurse sneakers. This type of sneaker is very much comfortable on your feet to wear and at the same time so fashionable. It has a lot of new colors and designs that you can choose from. Light, stretchable and flexible! 

Meeting in the middle allows for a refined professional look without getting in the way of practicality. You’ll also need a pair of white nursing shoes for your shifts, and there is actually a great deal of choice when it comes to quality nursing shoes. Any shoe you pick will have to have ample comfort, cushioning and arch support, since you’ll be on your feet often throughout the day. Having the comfort and support from a dedicated nursing shoe will make the shifts go by a lot less painfully, if you have ever worn a pair of ill fitting shoes on a shift before, you’ll know what we mean. With that said, also make sure to keep in mind the style of your shoes, as you’ll want to still remain professional and not ‘stick out’ a whole lot. These shoes are meant to be practical and supportive, not to be a fashion statement. 


You might be confused as to why this one is on the list, because if you’ve gone through nursing school you already own a stethoscope. After completing nursing school, and depending on how long you’ve been using it, you might find that the one you have is actually past its prime. Consider a few things: does it seem worn down? Is it just a cheap one you used for school? If the answer is yes, upgrading your stethoscope will make a world of difference on the job, cheap ones just won’t cut it in real scenarios. They are typically harder to hear from and rougher on the ears. You should also make a note of adding an identifying mark or tag to your stethoscope in case someone needs to borrow it from you at some point. If you aren’t careful, that stethoscope may just find its way into the ‘void’, like pens often do, and you’ll have to shell out more money for a replacement. With a tag or identifier, it’ll be easier to track down or be given back to you in a timely manner, since it stands out compared to the sea of other stethoscopes in the ward.

Medical Tape and Scissors

Next are a pair of scissors and medical tape. Bandage scissors are great for cutting gauze, dressings, bandages etc. which you may be needing to do on the fly. Even if it isn’t a ‘big deal’, like a small blood sample, having some on you makes a big difference for the patients overall experience and neatness as well as your professionalism. Medical grade tape is also incredibly useful for securing dressing and the like, which again, is something you may be faced with frequently. Having these two things on you is very handy, and you won’t regret keeping some around. When you need it, you need it, and it’s better than scouring your surroundings for some and instead being ready to care immediately. 

Hand Sanitizer and Lotion 

Lastly, lotions and hand sanitizers are highly important tools to have at your disposal on a whim. As a nurse you’ll be washing your hands frequently to remain as close to sterile as possible, which takes a toll on your skin, drying it out. Lotion will remedy this if you face this problem, and keeping it in your bag is a good precaution. In the case of hand sanitizers, sometimes you don’t have time to go and wash your hands, and need immediate germ eradication in that moment, so keeping it tied to a belt is definitely wise too. 

With all that said, we hope these tips are of use to you, and at the front of your mind when deciding what to bring with you on your next shift, as each one of these tools are indispensable to you as a nurse, no matter what. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.