Practical Christmas Gifts for Nurses and Nursing Students

by | Dec 7, 2015 | Nurse Products & Reviews | 0 comments

Gifts for Nurses

gifts for nurses

Tis the season of gift-giving!  Below is my list of practical Christmas gifts for nurses and nursing students, ranging from most cost-effective to expensive.  I’m not a big qift person or someone who enjoys novelty items.. practicality is my love language!

Gifts for Nurses pro-tip: while scrubs and shoes wonderful, they can be challenging to give because you must know exact sizes. This is why I didn’t include scrubs or shoes in this post.

I also love Amazon. (Duh.)

I frequently buy my Christmas gifts with Amazon Prime, so I tried to make all of the Amazon links ones with Prime.

All photos will link to the product depicted on Amazon!

**Please keep in mind this post was updated November 2017. Prices may differ from what’s listed below**

Compression socks

I have tried out many compression socks over the years.  I have recently found my new favorite! They’re from FIGS!  FIGS compression socks offer 20-30 mmHg compression, are long enough and sturdy enough to stay put for 12-hours, and I’ve washed them quite a few times since I got them a few months ago and they’ve withstood the washings and have no faded. They come in the pictured cranium pink, grey pills, or a slick black and grey.

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My second favorite are Cherokee True Support are my second favorite, they’re not as durable or offer as much support but are a good purchase for the price.  31FGkC2BJzML

They provide 12 mmHg compression.  The price may vary depending on where you get them, but they’re about $10.  If you get them at Lydia’s Uniforms, they’re usually $7.99.

If you’re looking for thicker socks, Nabee Socks are a great option. They’re a little shorter than the Cherokee and provide 15-20 mmHg compression.  They were bit too short for me, but are a great option.

(Bonus points: the CEO of the company is a nurse!)

Nurse pro-tip: do not purchase compression sleeves for nurses. While they do provide support and look sharp, they are not made for 12-hour shifts on your feet and do not provide appropriate venous return.  They kind of cut off at the ankle and fluid can get trapped down there and you can easily acquire the swelling you were trying to prevent. They are designed for running for a shorter period of time, not for standing and walking for hours on end.

Pen lights 

As a neuro nurse who was frequently using a pen light to look at patient’s pupils, I’ve tried quite a few pen lights. You want one that isn’t too bright and isn’t too dim. I’ve found that most labeled “nurse pen light” or “doctor’s pen light” with pupillary measurements printed on the side are frequently too dim. And I found that a lot of those heavy duty LED lights were way too bright.

My favorite is one that can clip right on to your badge reel (pictured below) so that you never lose it and can grab it in an instant. The only downside with these is that you can’t really replace the battery and just have to get a new one when yours dies. The overall convenience of not having another item in your pocket far outweighs getting a new one when the battery goes out (I had one for 2 years before it died). They’re lightweight enough to go on your badge reel and not weigh it down and very affordable.

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However, if you want more of a traditional penlight, my favorite pen light is an Energizer Pen Light in Silver. I couldn’t find it on Amazon for a decent price, but you can get them at Office Depot.

Nurse pro-tip: People steal awesome pen lights and stethoscopes all the time. Mark yours with nail polish or something that won’t wash/rub off. That way if someone walks off with your penlight (I’m looking at all of you neurologists and neurosurgeons right now!) it’s clearly yours.

Badge Reels and Accessories

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My favorite badge reels, by far, are from Badge Blooms on Etsy. The shop owner is a nurse (score!) and I’ve tried out MANY of her reels and loved ALL OF THEM!  Click here to read my full review of the reels, and click here to see my video review. They are cost-effective, durable, high-quality, and there’s quite a variety.

Another item that can be attached to the badge reel is a small Sharpie on a key chain (pictured right). Nurses frequently are in need of a Sharpie for various reasons (signing and dating a wound dressing, marking drainage on a dressing, labeling patient items) and they never stay in your pocket long.  Therefore, I highly recommend getting those tiny Sharpies on a keyring. They’re WONDERFUL!

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Buy a badge reel, Sharpie pack, and a few pen lights and you’ve got a great badge set up!


Something that’s awesome after a tough shift is a relaxing hot shower.  I absolutely love some good aromatherapy during a post-shift shower.  My personal favorite is the Eucalyptus Spearmint Stress Relief Aromatherapy line from Bath and Body Works.  I think a great gift is the Stress Relief shampoo and conditioner because normally people don’t spend that much on shampoo and conditioner, so it’s a great treat and since they typically wouldn’t normally purchase it for themselves.

But, my absolute favorite is the Stress Relief Sugar Scrub though, which is around $16 when bought alone.  Add this to the shampoo and conditioner, and you’ve got a great little gift set of items to ensure an incredibly relaxing hot shower post gross shift.

51RleFZoZULAnother way to enjoy aromatherapy is with essential oils and a diffuser.  Every night I’ll put a few drops of Lavender and Peppermint and  essential oil into my diffuser before bed. It’s lovely. (My husband has actually begun to ask for it!) Lavender lg

As far as diffusers go you can go cheaper or more expensive. I really do like the more expensive ones, but a more cost effective one will do just fine.  I personally get my oils from dōTERRA, but there are quite a few different options out there.  Wherever you buy, ensure it says 100% pure on the bottle, it doesn’t have any added ingredients, and has some sort of quality assurance.

Lavender and Peppermint are great post-shift. Lavender helps to calm and relax, while Peppermint helps with tension and headaches. They compliment one another really well. I’ll rub some diluted Peppermint on my temples (very little though – it’s quite strong!) and on my neck as well.

If just starting out, I recommend Lavender, Peppermint, and Lemon + a diffuser (reminder, check out Amazon for diffusers as well)!

Nurse pro-tip: Bring lemon to work and keep it in your bag. Whenever you smell something awful (#allthetime) take a sniff to remove the odor from your mind, body, and soul.  I used it throughout my pregnancy when my sense of smell was heightened and had awful nausea. It worked wonderfully. I continued to use it afterwards and keep it in my bag for PRN nasal needs!


My favorite scopes are from MDF. They’re more affordable than Littmann and have really great sound quality.  For around $50 you can get a really high quality scope (pictured).  They are a tad heavy, but I think their sound quality is outstanding… especially at that price point.31dWwrAskrL.SL160

They also have a nice rose gold one that looks really sharp, but is at slightly a higher price point ($80).

Littmann is also a good option, but can become quite expensive. If you’re in school, I would get a $50 MDF scope.  I say this because maybe when you graduate, you want to work in pediatrics or the neonatal intensive care unit… and you’d need a different scope for that. Or, maybe you are going to work in a pulmonary critical care unit and you need a really high quality digital one.  When you’re in school, you’re not sure what you’ll do – therefore, get a quality scope that works for most patients to get through school, then reevaluate.

Nurse pro-tip: The $20 scopes are not worth the money.  They don’t last as long and just aren’t as good. You really need to spend the extra money to get something worth having.  The $50 MDF is the best value with highest quality that I have found.

I’ve tried the Littmann Classic III (about $125) and the Littmann Master Cardiology (about $200) and enjoy them both.  I like the Master Cardiology version better because I never use the small size of the diaphragm so I liked the grip on the back of the Master Cardiology better than another listening piece.  However, this is a personal preference and what scope you’d need to get depends on what kind they need, as some nurses find this very useful.


31o0goKiYLMost nurses come to work with a water bottle/cup. It’s nice to have a good water bottle/cup that can keep either your water cold for hours, or your coffee hot for hours.

A Yeti cup is a wonderful but about $40, they’re expensive for a water bottle/cup. The RTIC cup (pictured right) is the cheaper option at about $20.  I have this one and simply love it. I can put ice in at the beginning of the day, and the ice is still there and my drink is still cold at the end of the day.

Nurse pro-tip: get a plain Yeti or RTIC cup and purchase a personalized nurse decal from Etsy! Here’s one I got for a nurse bud that she loved!

If you’re not a water cup kinda person, my other favorite water bottle is this one. I’ve left it on a plane TWICE before though… and always buy a new one (they’re very affordable and great quality!)  Click here to get yours!


I hate having things in my pockets that don’t truly need to be there.  Seriously. My nurse pockets only con taint my phone, brain sheet, 1 pen, and alcohol swabs. That’s it.

My trick is to keep the non essential but still necessary items in a zipper pouch out at the nurse’s station. This contains my lip balm, a quick snack, back up pens and Sharpies, some essential oils to sniff if I’m dealing with a particularly stinky situation, phone charger, and so forth.

This is one I recommend. It’s high-quality, roomy, and has lots of pattern options (masculine, feminine, gender-neutral). And it’s a little expensive for someone to buy for themselves, so it really makes a great gift!

Click here to check it out on Amazon!51mbdWlzvjL

Whenever I would go to work, I’d put my big work bag in my locker and then bring my zippered pouch (like the onto the nurse’s station. I like to have a larger one so I can put my stethoscope in it once I’m done with my assessments for the day. These are also helpful when you have to float to another unit away from your break room and locker.


I would only get scrubs for someone else only if you knew exact sizes and any uniform color requirements. My current favorite brand is FIGS (here’s a review blog post I did). They don’t have a ton of color options though, so if the nurse you’re buying for has a a specific uniform requirement, make sure you know before buying.

They’re antimicrobial, fluid/odor/wrinkle resistant, have a yoga waist-band, and are a light yet durable fabric.

FIGS are more expensive than others, which is why it would make a great gift.  They also have other non-scrub accessories that are amazing.

There are more brands like Greys AnatomyInfinity by Cherokee, and more… however, if you’re gifting scrubs, I recommend getting these or a FIGS digital gift card.

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If your loved one is a nursing student, you could purchase the Nursing Student Academy (pictured below) for them!  It includes a plethora of resources, NCLEX prep material, resources they can utilize mobile, various review courses (pharmacology, cardiology, EKG, med-surg, and even nursing school test-taking tips!).

All of these resources were made by nurses, for nursing students!

There is also the option of purchasing just the NCLEX Practice Questions database or the MedMaster (pharmacology) course.

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They also have something called Scrubcheats (pictured below), which are lamented nursing reference cards made specifically for nursing school clinicals.


Also check out the Nurse Student Tool Gift Box (pictured below), which is essentially a gift box of nursing school clinical references. It’s wonderful!


Here is another option of a clinical reference tool, written by a nurse for nursing students.

Also, check out this awesome nursing school t-shirt!  It’s made by fellow nurse blogger and current DNP student Nurse Nacole! She’s known for her amazingly helpful content for nursing students. Go check her blog out at


Check out some of the below books (a few written by yours truly!) written specifically for nurses, nursing students, and/or healthcare providers.



Need more nurse gift ideas?

Check out these nurse gift blog posts, written by nurses!




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Picture of Kati Kleber, founder of FRESHRN

Hi, I’m Kati.

Kati Kleber, MSN RN is a nurse educator, author, national speaker, host of the FreshRN® Podcast, and owner of FreshRN® – an online platform created to educate, encourage, and motivate newly licensed nurses in innovative ways.

Connect with her on YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign-up for her free email newsletter for new nurses.


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