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Essential Nursing Equipment for 2021

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Having the right nursing equipment can make a difficult shift a bit better. With the new year, it is important to make sure you have the right nursing gear to help you in your shift.

Hospitals should provide you with everything you need for your shift, but that doesn’t mean that there is some nursing equipment that you don’t want to pass on!

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It can be difficult to hear some heart and lung sounds, so having a great stethoscope is essential.

A nurse’s stethoscope needs to be well-made but does not necessarily need to be the same caliber as one that a cardiologist would need.

One excellent stethoscope for nurses is the Littmann Classic III which is great nursing equipment for the bedside nurse.

If you’re looking for something more top-of-the-line, you can try:

Littmann has traditionally been the go-to stethoscope for medical professionals, and they do provide solid equipment. But they are not the only option.

I recently bought an MDF stethoscope and love the quality, and it comes at a much cheaper price.

For a lightweight but still good quality stethoscope, try the MDF Acoustica Deluxe. For something higher quality but still cheaper than Littmann, try the MDF Classic Cardiology.


COVID Nursing Equipment

While the vaccine is out and starting to be implemented, the pandemic is still not ending anytime soon.

Hopefully, hospitals supply enough PPE for their nurses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy better gear to deal with COVID.

Reusable N95s are affordable and provide more comfort than a traditional N95. The Envomask is one popular reusable N95 which many nurses seem to like.

You can also get a respirator, but just make sure the filters are approved for airborne diseases since these respirators are generally used for occupational exposures. This is an approved filter here.

Goggles or face shields are also good options to have, as COVID can infect someone when they come into contact with any mucous membrane – including your eyes!

Related Article: These 8 COVID Nursing Tips could save your life


Nursing Equipment Pocket Essentials

Scrubs have a lot of pockets for a reason – nurses need to carry around a bunch of stuff!

While tape, gauze, and alcohol pads should be supplied by the hospital, there are some pocket essentials that every nurse should have.

Shears are an essential tool for every nurse. You never know when you’ll need to cut off a dressing, cut a new dressing, or cut off someone’s clothes in an emergency.

The raptors are a great pair of scissors for the ER nurse, but a cheaper alternative that still works great is basic nursing shears.

Penlights are another great piece of nursing equipment to have in your pockets! They are great for looking in your patient’s mouth or for assessing the pupillary light reflex as part of a good neuro assessment!

They can also be great to check on your patients in the middle of the night for hourly rounds.

I personally use the CAVN Pen lights which are great because they have a pupil gauge printed on the side. They’re also affordable, durable, and stylish (I recommend rose-gold!).

A good pen is also essential for nurses. We use our pens to write up on our patients, label lab specimens, sign forms and consents, witness blood products, and so much more!

I really underestimated how much having a good pen can impact my happiness while working (and don’t you DARE steal one of my pens…)

I love the Sharpie pens because they write well, dry quickly, and tend not to smudge!

Another great thing to have is a retractable badge holder – or what I like to call “a badge pulley”.

We are constantly having to swipe into and out of certain areas within the hospital, and being able to retract your badge without disconnecting it comes in handy!

 A Good Nursing Bag

Having a bag to transport all your nursing equipment can be very convenient. This way you can keep all your “nursing stuff” in one place, and helps you stay organized. Otherwise, you might end up with your stuff scattered all across your car floor (guilty…).

Nursing bags are also great for those who work home health!

If you don’t need something quite as large as a bag, you can try getting a smaller Travel carrying case.


Every nurse needs a good pair of scrubs.

There is no universal “best scrubs” because not every nurse has the same needs.

Some scrubs offer plenty of pockets, are more comfortable, or just fit better. There are also more expensive ones that have a nice fit and are stylish (Like Figs).

I personally prefer Figs because I like the fit. Watch out though because they run small. Also there was recently some negative PR because of an ad that didn’t paint female physicians or DOs in a good light… NOT a good look.

I also have Grey’s anatomy and Jannuu which all work great.

Hospitals can get COLD, especially at night, so having a good nursing jacket to wear is great (I have 3 or 4). It can also be cool to get your name and title printed on!

 Nursing Shoes

Working as a bedside nurse usually involves long hours and constantly on your feet. This makes a comfortable pair of shoes essential!

Plenty of nurses go with the Dankso clogs, sacrificing style for comfort and durability.

I myself get myself a good pair of Nikes for something a little more stylish.

No matter which shoe you get, understand that your risk of getting body fluids on them is probably high, so be careful about selecting the material as well as the color!

Compression Socks

And speaking of being on your feet for long hours – compression stockings are super important for nurses to be wearing!

This helps improve blood return and minimize pressure on the veins leading to varicose veins and even edema.

I had to get a varicose vein ablation by the age of 27 (thanks nursing). Wearing compression socks can help prevent this!

And that pretty much sums up the essential nursing equipment you will need for 2021! Make sure to always be prepared with these nursing essentials!

Do you have any other nursing equipment essentials that you find necessary as a nurse? Let us know in the comments below!

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