Hello and welcome, or welcome back! Today I’m sharing what’s in my clinical bag. This is what I bring to my nursing school clinicals. After one quarter of going to clinicals, I’ve learned what I really use and what I don’t need to bring. It’s not much because I can’t access my bag while I’m at the hospital unless I’m on a break or really need something. Otherwise, it’s locked up. I thought it would be helpful to share for other nursing students who are starting clinicals and are not sure what to bring.
For some background, if you’re new here, I am in an ADN (2-year) nursing program at a community college. Prior to nursing school, I didn’t have any healthcare experience. I just completed my first year and am set to graduate in June 2022. After that, I plan on attending the RN to BSN program at a university while working. Due to COVID, I didn’t get to go to clinical until this last spring quarter, up until then it was virtual simulations for clinical. Every quarter so far I’ve posted a recap of how it went, which you can check out below:
- First Quarter of Nursing School Recap
- First Quarter of Nursing School Recap
- Second Quarter Nursing School Recap
- Third Quarter Nursing School Recap
Other nursing school posts that you might find helpful:
- How I Study in Nursing School
- How to Manage Anxiety in Nursing School
- My Evening Routine in Nursing School
Alright, let’s get into this post, what’s in my clinical bag and what I bring to nursing school clinicals!
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What’s in my Clinical Bag: What I Bring to Nursing School Clinicals
This is mostly specific for med-surg clinicals. For specialty rotations like psych, it varies! For psych, for example, I don’t need to bring anything except for a pen and a notepad.
So first up, the bag that I use is the BAGSMART tote and I have the color black. They also have a light pink color which I *love* but I knew I might be putting my bag on the ground and I was pretty sure it would get dirty and wasn’t sure how easy it would be to clean. I love this bag! It’s really well made, there is a spot for my laptop, and there are lots of pockets. It also looks really nice and professional. I ended up liking this brand a lot, so I purchased their camera backpack too.
Overall, I highly recommend this bag if you’re looking for a tote style to bring to clinical. If you want to buy one for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.
This was one thing that I didn’t have during my first quarter at clinical that is probably the most helpful thing you can buy. I ended up buying it for this upcoming quarter, even though $16 for a clipboard makes me cringe. But hear me out:
- You’re going to be walking in and out of a lot of rooms with a lot of papers.
- You need to wash/sanitize your hands after going in and out of each room (meaning you’re shoving your papers under your arm).
- There isn’t always something for you to write on in a patient’s room, especially if the nurse is using the computer.
This clipboard is so convenient because it folds in half without creasing your papers and you can fit it in your scrub pockets. You can also keep your papers neat and organized, and always have a hard surface to write on if you need to in a patient’s room. You can get in a lot of trouble if you leave patient information out because you set your folder down to do something and forgot to pick it back up. Buy this clipboard and thank me later!
If you want to buy one for yourself, you can find it on Amazon, here.
Of course, you need a stethoscope while you’re at clinical. Mine is pretty basic, I have the Littman Classic iii in black because I bought it from my school and they didn’t have very many colors to choose from. On Amazon, you can find the stethoscope that I have here.
My parents got me a stethoscope case for Christmas and it’s been really helpful! Before that, I just threw my stethoscope on the top of my bag and I don’t know how I lived like that! I am glad I keep it in a case now because the last thing I want to do is shell out $100 if my stethoscope breaks. Mine has my name on it, I think it’s from Etsy, but I will link a similar one without the name on it from Amazon, here.
Badge Reel Reference Cards + ScrubCheats
Reference cards that hang off your badge reel are great for checking normal ranges for lab values that you might not know. The ScrubCheats cards are also great to reference that have pretty much all the information you would need to know during clinical. They are not necessary, but if you want these reference cards you can find them on Amazon here.
You can’t take your water out with you on every floor, but I still bring my Hydroflask with me. I drink barely any water during clinicals, but I try and chug it before and after every shift. The Hydroflask I have is the 32 oz and you can find it here on Amazon.
I probably won’t be bringing my laptop next quarter because I don’t think we will need it, but this quarter we did. I have this Lenovo Yoga laptop here (I love it even though it’s getting old and I will probably need a new laptop after school). You can flip the screen back to turn it into a tablet and it’s super easy to use. There aren’t always lockers to put things in so generally I avoid taking my laptop to clinicals with me unless the instructor says to bring it.
FitBit + Watch
This sounds totally ridiculous but I bring 2 kinds of watches with me to clinical. First, because I am the type of person that religiously wears my Fitbit (because did I really walk 10,000 steps if I don’t have a mini-firework show on the watch face?). Also because I like to see the trends in my heart rate, sleep, steps, etc.
However, I noticed that the watch face goes black (it falls asleep) while I’m trying to look at it if I am feeling for pulses or counting respirations. Then I have to flick my wrist until it turns back on and it’s just a struggle. For this reason, I just keep my regular watch in my pocket to use for vitals if there isn’t a clock in view. I have since learned how to fix this, but some clinical instructors want you to have a watch with the second hand so, I carry it in my bagjust in case.
The Fitbit I use is the Versa 2, which I love! You can find it here, and it sort of looks like the Apple Watch. The watch I use is the brand Spiedel. it’s made for healthcare workers, is waterproof, has military time, and has seconds marked. It’s a great option for clinical, especially if your school doesn’t allow smartwatches. You can find that watch on Amazon here.
Goggles are a part of the PPE that we need at the hospital. The goggles that are provided to us are bulky and instantly fog up the second I put them on (the pair on the left in the picture). I still keep them on me in case I were to drop and break my other goggles. I bought this pair on Amazon and they have been a lifesaver! They don’t fog up, even if I don’t use anti-fog wipes. They are also clear and don’t distort my vision a ton like some other goggles that I have tried. I think they are a cheap dupe for Stoggles, which look nice but I don’t want to spend $40 on.
All the pens because I honestly have no idea where they go. I keep a ton in my bag and 2-3 on me because chances are I am going to leave it somewhere or loan it to someone. My favorite pens are these ones here. I also make sure to keep hair ties and bobby pins on me in case one breaks or someone else needs one and deodorant. I also have scissors that I don’t typically carry on me (but should because the few times I do need them, I don’t have them). My penlight is usually in my bag, but it goes through batteries so fast that I will just use my phone light if it’s not working. Snacks will also make their way into my bag before clinical!
That is Everything that I bring with me to Clinical!
I hope this was helpful if you’re trying to decide what to bring, especially if you are going to your first clinicals. If you already go to clinical I would love to hear what you bring, so let me know in the comments below! As always, you can find me on Instagram @maddie_deer here, or can follow me on my Facebook page to be alerted of any new posts here.