Nurse Essentials You Need for a Great Shift!

Stethoscope, lotion, deodorant, water bottle, Apple Watch
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These nurse essentials should help you with some of that pre-shift anxiety that we all experience!

The nurse shift – 4, 8, 12 and sometimes 16 hours long! Have you ever been on that never-ending shift, the one where each hour feels like five, and the bells and alarm never stop? Your feet hurt, your head is spinning with all the tasks you have to complete, your stomach keeps reminding you that you only ate half of the bagel in the break room, and your bladder is about to explode.

Want to know how to survive those long hours? Let’s talk about the nurse essentials that will make your shift amazing!

True Nurse Essentials

Every shift you will be presented with challenges and have to use your expert knowledge to care for your patients. You are going to need some essentials to prepare you for work and I want to let you in on what I have found works!

Nurse essentials are items that you can bring with you to get the most out of your shift! They are the things that you need to bring with you to perform at work.

If you’re a minimalist and only want to bring the bare necessities with you to work, then there are a few things that you absolutely need to bring with you.

Get these essentials before you start Nurse Orientation and you’ll be off to a great start in your career!!


I love my Littman! A good stethoscope makes a difference when you need to hear all those lovely body sounds. I honestly did not know the different between a good stethoscope and a bad one until I got my Littman!

TIP: Find some way to label it…I have misplaced mine or just left it at work and had to buy a new one a few times (and they’re not cheap).


I keep a mini flashlight clipped to my badge. But I’ve seen nurses and doctors use their iPhone flashlight in an emergency – whatever works right?


I use an Apple Watch – but any watch will do.

I love that it tracks my movement throughout the day, it definitely justifies my sleep in and nap the next day haha

There is an app called medtimer that I have loved using on my watch to count respirations! Download it and use it to track your patient’s respiratory pattern.

Good Shoes

You will be standing on your feet for most of your shift so having comfortable shoes is absolutely essential!

I have worn Nikes, Adidas and New Balance. I prefer New Balances – but everyone has different feet. Trial and error is the best for this.

These new balances are the ones that I have bought in like very color!

I have tried crocs and really didn’t like them but I know a lot of nurses that do. I have high arches and found that they did not support my feet enough. If you have more of a flat foot you might like them.

essentials like AirPods, hair ties, glasses, lip balm, water bottle, aspirin

Report Sheet

When I first started nursing I tried so many report “cheat” sheets from all over the place and I have perfected what I most need on my report sheet over the years.

You will need to have some way to organize your patients, their info, and all the tasks that need to get done for each one throughout your shift.

Having a great sheet will also help you when you have to give report during or at the end of your shift.

Once I became a float nurse going all over the hospital I reworked the sheet and now I can go to any unit and use this report sheet to guide my shift and keep my brain organized.

You can get my report sheet by clicking the side bar or the top menu! I really hope it helps you organize your shift!!

The Extra Nurse Essentials

Alright so now that we’ve got all the absolute essentials – let’s go over the extra essentials that you can bring with you so that you have the best shift!

Insulated Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is one of the most important thing you can do for yourself during your shift! And having an insulated one means that it stays cold all day!

Hair Ties

Most of the time I wash my hair for my first shift and then just use dry shampoo (I use batiste dry shampoo) for the next few shifts.

I love plastic hair ties because I can clean them, instead of the fabric ones collecting bacteria.

Lip Balm

Hospitals are so dry and a good lip balm helps so much! The Fresh Sugar Advanced Treatment Lip Balm & Laniege glowy balm are my favourite!

essentials like AirPods, hair ties, glasses, lip balm, water bottle, aspirin


Always. I actually keep deodorant in all my bags. I don’t like to smell.

Many institutions and hospitals are actually scent free facilities, so no perfume. Deodorant goes a long way, reapplying halfway through the day helps as well.

Apple AirPods

When you do get your lunch break it’s time to tune out the rest of the world, listen to some music, watch a show or YouTube, or listen to your favourite podcast.

Honestly one of the best things I started doing in my nursing career was making sure I took my break and putting in my AirPods and tuning out to YouTube, Netflix or music. Please try it!

Blue Light Glasses

Staring at a computer screen all day is not good for the eyes. One of the way you can protect your eyes is wearing blue light glasses. I love my blue light glasses! I truly believe that they helped with my headaches during and after work.

It’s also a great way to accessorize at work – we are allowed to look cute at work too!


Break rooms are notoriously cold and it’s hard to relax when you’re freezing. I normally buy athletics jackets – amazon, old navy, and fabletics all sell really good ones.

The one I’m using currently in this one from Champion.


Just in case you don’t get an actual lunch break. Honestly though – please make sure you take your full break.

I like to bring almonds when cheese, a piece of fruit, or a packet of oatmeal. Bring something that will give you good energy and get through the shift!

I’ve also been loving these bento style boxes for taking my lunch with me.


For every ache and pain you experience – I always have these one me. It’s also good to have when a fellow nurse/doctor/tech needs some pain relief as well.

The Perfect Shift

So there you have it, all my nurse essentials that I believe will make your shift great! You now have a list of the essentials that you need to pack your nursing bag, jump into your shift and save some lives!

 If you liked this post don’t forget to pin it!

Pinterest graphic - essentials like AirPods, hair ties, glasses, lip balm, water bottle, aspirin


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