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Congratulations on passing your last test, completing your last essay, and working your last clinical shift. Whether you finished off with an exit HESI, ATI, or Kaplan (or some tortuous combination), that chapter of your life is over! You are DONE with nursing school! Congratulations again, you should be so proud!
No matter what chaos is going on in the world around you, this is a moment in your life to be proud of and reflect on how much you have learned. Yes, you still have the NCLEX and your first job interviews coming up, but take a small amount of time to relax, recuperate, and recharge. You deserve it!
You might not be able to have a large graduation party with all of your friends and family right now. I am sure they want to find a way to celebrate you and your success. I’m sure a lot of them want to get you a graduation gift!
If you are anything like me, you might have a hard time knowing what to ask for when someone wants to get you a gift. Here is a list of great nursing school graduation gifts.
These are all things that I personally have and love, or I have seen my nursing coworkers using at the hospital.
Tools of the Trade
Pens: Pens are the most used and arguably most important tool in a nurse’s scrub pocket. Whether you are the type of nurse to grab whatever random pen you can find at the nurse station or you have a specific brand and style you must have, a pack of pens as a nice, small gift is always a win. I have always been super partial to the BIC 4-color ballpoint pen. This pen helps keep my nurse report sheet organized.
Clipboard: A compact clipboard is another way that nurses stay organized. It’s the perfect companion gift to a pen, because it actually allows you to write your to do list on the go. This also means not having to put your report sheet down on patient counters or walls (who knows what might be lingering around). The two most common clipboards I have seen nurses use are this foldable and compact clipboard and this clipboard with storage space.
Stethoscope: From nursing school, it is likely that you have a basic stethoscope that you used in your fundamentals class. The stethoscope I received from my school, I’m pretty sure must have been clogged or something. For my nursing school graduation, my mom got me the 3M Littman Classic III (in carribean blue with the rainbow finish, of course). It is obvious why having a good stethoscope is a MUST for a nurse. Auscultating heart and lung sounds should be a part of your daily assessment for every patient. There are so many different choices of stethoscope that it can be so hard to figure out which one to get. This is a great nursing school graduation gift. Here are the three that I see most frequently in the places that I have worked.
Nice Scrubs: When we spend 12+ hours a shift in our scrubs. It really is worth investing in a nice, comfortable pair of scrubs. Graduating nursing school is a great time to use this time to get a pair of nice scrubs as a gift. One thing to be aware of is that certain hospitals have certain color requirements for nurse scrubs, so just be careful of that. Also, there is no such thing as “too many pockets.”
Figs Scrubs – If you have an instagram, then I am sure you have seen Figs Scrubs. I recently bought a pair for myself, and they really are extremely soft. I feel very comfortable in them all day long. They are also an ethical and philanthropic company.
WonderWink – I have worn WonderWink scrubs for years and have always been impressed with the quality, comfort, and price. I definitely recommend this brand.
Water Bottle: Nurses are running around basically all shift. Not only does this mean we are probably dehydrated, but we also don’t have time to be filling up cups in the nutrition room all the time. When The Joint Commission comes around we also have to make sure there is a secure lid on our water bottle – but let’s be honest, no nurse is actually drinking water when The Joint Commission is around. Having a good water bottle helps me remember to drink throughout my shift.
Hydro Flask – I personally like my Hydro Flask water bottle because it holds a TON of water and really does keep my water nice and cold all shift.
You can also get a cute customized nurse water bottle from etsy. This can also be used as a coffee cup as well – which is also pretty essential for nurses.
Stethoscope Carrying Case: This is just a cute little carrying case to stay organized. Keeps your stethoscope, pens, penlights, and whatever else you want nice and safe.
Stethoscope Charm: There is nothing worse than watching the new resident walk off the unit with your stethoscope. Also, trying to find a black Littman stethoscope never goes well… because basically every nurse has that one. A cute little customized stethoscope charm is a great way to differentiate yours from every other nurse.
Badge Reel: A cute and fun (and appropriate) badge reel is one of the only ways that a nurse can show a little flare in our uniform. Pro tip: I recommend finding a reel with an alligator clip, so you aren’t constantly flinging it across the room. You can also get a badge reel related to your specific specialty.
Pocket Organizer: No matter how many pockets your scrubs have, I can guarantee you could always use more. You can use one of these pocket organizers to keep everything exactly where you want it. Nurses aren’t type A *at all* (I really hope you noticed the sarcasm).
Fanny Pack: You may laugh, but my old unit had a little club of people who wore fanny packs. Nurses have a lot of stuff to carry!
The Gift of Self-Care
Massage: I can guarantee there will come a time when you realize how physically exhausting being a nurse is. Getting a massage gift certificate as a gift is truly a BLESSING. You will thank me if you ask someone for this as a graduation gift.
Athletic Clothes: Exercise is such an important way to stay healthy. It is also a great way for nurses to release some of the emotional stresses of the job. Starting a physical activity regimen early into your nursing career will definitely help you stay happy and healthy.
Flexliving is a new athletic wear company that I really like. I use their shorts when I am running and can vouche for how comfortable and stylish they are.
You can also use coupon code ROLLINGHILLNURSING for 15% off your purchase. You can read about the importance of exercise for staying happy and healthy in one of my other blog posts!
Subscription to a Meditation App: Meditation is another great way to start incorporating self-care into your daily routine. If you have never meditated before, using an app like Headspace or Calm can be a great way to start this practice. Help declutter your brain! You can read about the benefits of meditation and the importance of good sleep in this other blog post.
Blackout Eye Mask: As a new grad nurse, chances are high that you will be working at least some night shifts. Sleeping during the day can be incredibly difficult. Ask for a really good quality blackout eye mask to make your daytime snooze a little easier.
Self-Care Basket: If you have someone that wants to get you a really great and thoughtful gift with a little bit of creativity, they could make a self-care package for you. Tell them to compile a few nice gifts together that you can use to really take care of yourself after your shifts of taking care of everyone else. Some ideas for items they can include are:
Lotion -Ok, I know this isn’t the most fancy lotion, but I swear it is the most moisturizing one that I have found for my dry, abused, and cracking hands (don’t worry, yours will get that way too).
Bottle of Wine – because, duh.
Face Mask – No, not the surgical or N95 kind. The nice kind you use to make your face feel baby smooth – like this deep sea mud mask.
Chocolate – also, duh.
Inspirational Book: When was the last time you read a book that wasn’t a nursing textbook? It’s probably been awhile. These two books are BY FAR the most beloved books for new nurses. These two books are a great way to start off your lost love of reading and help give you some words of wisdom from some great nurses!
I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse edited by Lee Gutkind
Burnout is a real thing, and it can happen to any nurse. It can happen at any point in your career – even for new nurses!
Read one of my other posts with a new tool from renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Heim, to prevent burnout.
Now is the time to take a breath and CELEBRATE!
In nursing, there will always be more hills to climb. Next you have NCLEX and your first nurse job interviews. There will be more ups and downs to come, but dont forget to celebrate and be proud of yourself for each achievement!
Share this list with someone who wants to reward you with a nursing school graduation gift!
As always, I would love to connect with you on social!
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