• 12 June 2019
  • 9 min read

What do I need for nursing school?

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

In this blog and vlog, Claire shares her nursing school must-haves to ensure that your time studying is as stress-free as possible.

Play video: Claire shares her essentials for nursing school.

Today I'm gonna tell you what the essentials are for nursing school, what you must have in order to have the best time at nursing school and in order to make your time easier.

Stay tuned to hear the five must-haves.

Invest in a good backpack

The first must-have is a backpack.

This one might seem really random and really strange but I think actually a backpack is such a super easy one to buy and to get and also makes nursing school or going to uni or going to college so much easier, because instead of having the handbag where you're tilted to one side and it kind of makes your waist uneven, you just have a backpack on and it means you can carry a lot more stuff in your backpack without hurting your back.

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So I think definitely a backpack I'd recommend because I know me and my friends, when we were in college, we always have that handbag at the start of the year because obviously it's more fashionable and we wanted to start the year off with something really nice, and then throughout the month we all just started converting to backpacks because it's just so much easier on your back.

And frankly, you've two hands-free then when you have it on your back and you can just carry so much more stuff so I recommend if you are starting college or thinking of doing nursing then definitely think about buying a backpack and investing in quite a good one.

I have the Kanken and I'll put a picture on the screen here.

I found this one really good because it’s just really sturdy and holds everything I need and I have it in bright pink as well, so everyone knows I’m coming!

You’ll regret not getting comfortable shoes

The must-have number two is a really good pair of shoes.

This might sound like a really boring one but it's actually essential when you're on placement for hours and hours on end and you're on your feet the majority of the time.

Invest in a good pair of shoes.

It's similar to the backpack, it might be expensive up front but the wear to usage will be really good, and there's nothing worse than sore feet.

I wear - I'll show you - I wear these NMD runners, and I know they're not the most professional and some wards won't let you wear them, but I actually had an operation on my toes so it's really really painful and I have to wear something with a really wide kind of front of the shoe, so they worked really well for me.

But most people wear a Clark’s pair that are all black, they're meant to be all black so I should really get ones that don't have a white sole and but all black runners work really well.

Most places don't comment on your shoes because they know your student, you've invested in those shoes, they might not be exactly what you want them to wear but you're not an actual employee so I don't think they really say much.

I've never had a problem wearing them, I've always just said at the start of my placement ‘I wear these because of my toe, hope that's ok’ and there's never any problem.

So if you're looking for good shoes I'd recommend all black Skechers, they are really good - they do like all black runner ones with the black sole and they're just really discreet with your trousers, uniform or even if you wear the dress.

The other ones are the Clark’s, they're the main two I can think of that people really rave about and really like, so invest in a good pair of shoes.

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Buy a fob watch

The must-have number three is a fob watch, and for anyone who doesn't know this is the watch that kind of sits upside down on your chest and it goes on your uniform.

This is essential for taking respiratory rates and also pulses, so when we're trying to take those two things you need to look at your watch and take them at the same time, so you'd be like looking down like that.

Also, they're just really handy to be able to tell the time when you're on placement because obviously you're not meant to have your phone on you so you don't want to keep whipping that out, instead you can just look down onto your chest and see the time, so I'd recommend that.

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Also, if you're wondering where to go for a cheap fob watch, they do lots on Amazon, eBay but also I found Argos is really good - my fob watch is actually from Argos and it's silver so it looks really professional.

I know you can get the coloured ones which are really cute as well and a lot of the children's nurses wear them because they're really fun and bright, but I just wanted the full plain silver one and it has lime-green numbers so it's really easy to read.

I definitely recommend investing in one of them, not much of an investment but it will definitely help you with respiratory rates and pulses. Like I said, on placements, you don't want to keep having to get your phone out because it's just not very professional and you don't want to get in trouble.

Planners are so helpful

Number four is a planner, and this is an essential one because college and university, whatever you like to call it, can get really jam-packed with assignments and personal life and lectures and exams and societies and everything.

So, if you have a planner, at least you can see everything in front of you and it will make it so much easier to be able to plan your weeks and your months and your year without feeling overwhelmed and getting stressed about it, because I definitely found in first year there was just so much to remember and so much to take in and and write down and everything.

I had various different types of calendar, I know there's the online one like the Google Calendar and Apple calendar, so if that's for you then use something like that and just plan it really far in advance or plan it every night or every week, whatever you may prefer.

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But I actually really liked the paper, just old-fashioned book planner because I find you can flick through the days and see what you're doing in a month's time, and if you use a pencil or a rub out pen then you can change things really easily.

So, whichever one you prefer, I'd recommend having some type of planner just so you're not feeling really overwhelmed when you have lots of things in the future.

Or if you think ‘I don't know if I'll be able to fit in work’ maybe if you work part-time in between your lectures, well at least if you have everything planned then you'll be able to fit things in-between and be able to do that no problem and you won’t have to worry about fitting everything in, so I definitely recommend a planner of some sort.

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Online (or paper) flashcards

Must have number 5 is one that I don't think many of you will have heard of or maybe you have, and it's an app called Brainscape.

Basically, Brainscape is an app that encourages you to use flashcards to study, so instead of making pages and pages of flashcards and wasting the trees, I use this online to make flashcards for myself.

So, for instance, I have an exam in 10 days coming up and it's on acute care needs, so I've made flashcards for that exam and basically the app uses spaced repetition meaning the more you get something right it puts it to the end of the pile, and if you get things wrong it keeps giving you the card again until you get it right.

You score how easy you find that question, so be really honest with yourself - if you didn't find it easy, say one out of ten, if you find it was super easy and didn’t have to think about the answer you say 10 out of 10.

It's hard to explain but definitely download the app, it's completely free and it will just make your life so much easier.

It also uses a technique of studying called active recall, and this is probably the best way I find to study.

It's basically repeating stuff to you in your head or speaking out loud, and it's just basically the best way to get information to stick in your brain and go to your long-term memory, so you remember it for not just the exam but going on into the future.

Obviously, in nursing this is really important because the stuff we are learning now see will help us in the future.

It's not meant to be in one ear, out the other one, you maintain the information as much as possible so I definitely recommend that app Brainscape.

There's another one called Anki but I found Brainscape a lot more user friendly so I'd recommend using Brainscape over Anki. I've tried both but you can download both the apps for free and see which one you prefer.

So guys, these are the five must-haves that I think you may need for at nursing school.

I hope you really enjoyed it and thank you so much for watching and listening again!

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

About the author

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

Claire is a student adult nurse from Ireland, but studies in the UK. She makes vlogs for her channel, Claire Quinn - Nursing Secrets, where she shares tips and advice from her own experience as a student nurse.