Nursing School Survival Kit

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    You finally got the letter that you have been dreaming of; you've been accepted into nursing school! Don't let your excitement turn into panic. We are here to help with our nursing school survival kit!

    Now that you have been accepted into nursing school, you need to set yourself up for success by arming yourself with the following tools. While they do not guarantee straight A's, they will help you to meet the challenges in a more organized manner, and see you through to graduation.


    Time management is the key to surviving nursing school. Make sure you are equipped with a top of the line planner! Carry your planner with you at all times and make sure you update it. It might seem like a hassle at first, but in the end it will be a huge lifesaver!


    Nursing school will require you to take a lot of notes. To help keep your notes organized, get a binder with multiple pockets. This will allow you to organize your notes by class.

    Note Cards

    Taking notes in your notebook is a given, but transferring those notes into flash cards is a must! Stock up on note cards ahead of time so you are not searching for them days before your big exam.


    When it comes to studying for your big nursing exams, your highlighter is going to be your best friend. We recommend you get highlighters in a variety of colors so you can color code your notes.


    While this is an obvious, it is vital to have an excess amount of pens. Once you run out of pens, you will understand why we are stressing their importance!


    For those late night study sessions and early morning classes, coffee will be your miracle drink! If you are not a coffee drinker, any caffeinated beverage will work. But remember, don't overdo it. You don't want to turn a quick "wake me up" into a habit.

    Rolling Backpack

    Nursing books are notorious for being very cumbersome. Even if you are only carrying two nursing books around all day, you will get a backache. Rolling backpacks aren't fashionable, but neither is sporting an enormous backpack, while wobbling to class from class. At least with a rolling backpack, you won't be sacrificing your back!

    Tablet or Smartphone

    If you can afford one of these smart devices, you will find that they will come in handy for all aspects of nursing school. Be sure to check what your professor's policy is. You do not want to have your device confiscated!

    Moisturizer/Bubble Bath/Hot Shower

    Whether your body is aching because you decided against a rolling backpack or you have just had a stressful day, using moisturizers or treating yourself to a bubble bath or extended hot shower are great ways to de-stress. Remember, it is important to de-stress, even if you don't think you have the time.

    Dedication and Passion

    This is the most important part of your "nursing school survival kit". Nursing school is a lot of work. But if you are dedicated and have a passion for nursing, your nursing school experience will be a good one!

    Did we miss anything? Let us know by commenting below!
    Last edit by Joe V on Feb 21
    Nkiru14, RoSy_G_, zibi, and 16 others like this.

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    brian has '18+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele'. From 'Minnesota'; Joined Mar '98; Posts: 15,239; Likes: 15,833. You can follow brian on My Website

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    29 Comments so far...

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    Excellent list! I agree with most of the points / items, with the exception of the smartphone. I had an old-fashioned flip phone during my two experiences in nursing school (LVN program 2005, LPN-to-RN transition program 2009) and it was used sparingly.

    I now have a smartphone, but I don't consider them a must-have item for nursing students.
    1feistymama and lwnet like this.
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    @TheCommuer, I humbly disagree, I would highly suggest a smartphone for any student or professional.

    I feel without a smartphone or tablet, the nursing student is at a disadvantage. The wealth of information that can be obtained within seconds is priceless. You can get libraries full of resources available in seconds. Drug information, anatomy, digital versions of books, nursing apps and medical apps for nurses etc...

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    Everyone, please share your tips for nursing students. What do you agree or disagree with? Share your comments below.
    BusyBee91, Pb&j711773, HappyWife77, and 4 others like this.
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    I have to agree with the smartphone, I used an old iPhone 3gs, (ok I still use it ) for all my drug books, nursing care plans, Tabers where at a fingers touch.
    I began nursing school using a PDA because smartphones were banned at the time from my program, but I feel for the same price you can buy a hand me down iPod touch from eBay and still not break the bank.
    brian likes this.
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    Great list! I also agree with the smartphone/tablet. I have an iPhone and iPad and have discovered so many resources that I would not want to do without! ( app being one of those ) I definitely have to invest in a rolling backpack as well.
    Last edit by PaintedWings♥ on Feb 21
    brian and raisincookie like this.
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    I would say to add laptop. I don't know how I'd survive without it. I take my notes on it, I take it with me to study everywhere, our assignments are submitted online, out ATI books are online... It's truly vital.
    I agree about the smartphone. I can't tell you how many times I've whipped it out in clinicals to use Epocrates or other apps (NEVER for personal use!).
    lorirn2b and brian like this.
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    thanks for this great article! I just got accepted to nursing school a couple weeks ago and my excitement is through the roof BUT I will admit, the past few days it has really hit me that this is happening and I am starting to get pretty nervous. I haven't started nursing school yet so I can't really say for sure but just imo from other allied health classes I've taken- I agree that a tablet/smartphone would be HELPFUL, but not a necessity. You are in a classroom- if you have questions about something, ask your professor or other students. Start a group discussion about it. Maybe others are curious about the same thing you are. People are so quick to google something (which is fine, don't get me wrong, i'm all for technology- but at the right time!) but sometimes its best to unplug and try to learn AT SCHOOL. You are in the classroom for limited time, you have any other time to look up information on your tablet or smartphone. Just my 2 cents! Thanks again for this post! Very helpful.
    1feistymama and brian like this.
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    I have to agree with everything on the list but the most important is dedication and passion.
    beckyboo1 and brian like this.
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    I cannot warm up to the idea of a rolling backpack!

    Sent via my iPhone using ❤️
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    We would be kicked out of clinical for using a smartphone or tablet. I don't even own a smartphone and use my tablet sparingly as it is, and that's usually at home or before classes.
    1feistymama likes this.

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