With the holidays fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to add some must-have items to your wish list. Here are my top ten nursing school supplies you need for 2021. This article contains affiliate links which help support this site.

Noise reduction devices

Depending on your preferences and your budget, consider adding some kind of device that minimizes noise-related distractions. Staying focused while studying or watching online lectures is crucial for optimal learning and maximizing your study time.

Option 1: Noise cancelling headphones. I personally love a good set of noise-cancelling headphones and there are a lot of options out there ranging from about $40 to almost $400. This pair (#ad) are around $88 and have enough good reviews to make me think they’re a better choice for nursing students than the more expensive options.

Option 2: White noise machine. If you don’t like wearing headphones or just want some general sound-reducing capabilities, a white noise machine is an excellent investment. I personally love this one (#ad). Not only does it produce great sound, it’s portable enough to pack and take on vacation (why are hotel rooms always right by the elevator or ice machine?)

Standing Desk

When I was writing my graduate school comprehensive exam, I sat at my desk for hours and hours each day. Eventually, sitting became so painful for my lower back that I talked my husband into fashioning me a desk riser so I could stand instead. Once I started standing at my desk, I became so much more productive and my back pain completely disappeared. I am now officially a huge fan of the standing desk and continue to use it even though graduate school is behind me.

I know a lot of nursing students are struggling with staying alert and motivated during online lectures. A standing desk is actually great for keeping you more awake and is healthier for you overall. Not only does standing burn more calories than sitting, studies show that other benefits may include improved blood sugar levels, less risk of heart disease, improved energy, less back pain, and enhanced productivity.

A fantastic option for nursing students is a sit-to-stand desk riser, which enables you to adjust the height of your workspace as needed. If my husband hadn’t built me a standing desk, I would have opted for this one right here (#ad).

Learn more test taking strategies and nursing school tips in Crucial Concepts Bootcamp. Explore it here!

Binders from Staples (my favorite)

If you’ve read my book (#ad) or taken my course Crucial Concepts Bootcamp, then you know how much I love a good binder. And trust me, I have tried them all. These binders from Staples are my absolute favorite. They come in a variety of colors and are durable enough for daily use. 

Pomodoro Timer

I’ve heard from so many students asking for tips on how to stay focused and engaged with studying, especially in this environment of distance learning. One of the best ways to commit to focusing on a specific task is to use the Pomodoro method. This method breaks up your work session into manageable focus periods, with scheduled breaks. I love the Focus Keeper app for its simplicity and eye-pleasing design. The good news is it’s available for both Apple and Android.


A good planner (and consistently using it) can make such a huge difference in nursing school. Of course, I am a huge fan of the planners I design just for nursing students, but I am also a huge fan of any planner that gets you to proactively manage your schedule so you can prioritize the things that matter most. The key is to find a planner and use it consistently. For more information about effective planning in nursing school, click here.

Echo Dot

I love love love my Echo Dot (#ad), which most people name Alexa. I have one in my kitchen, one in my bedroom and one in my office. I absolutely love that I don’t even have to stop what I’m doing to make grocery lists, buy things on Amazon, make reminders, set alarms, call friends. It’s great for time management and those instances where you need to remember something, but don’t want to interrupt whatever you’re doing to jot down a note or set a timer on your phone. 

For example, when I’m deep into a project but know I have an appointment later in the day, I just say, “Alexa, set a reminder to go to my meeting at 2:55pm.” Then, I can stop constantly checking the clock and stay In The Zone. When 2:55pm rolls around, Alexa reminds me to go to my meeting, allowing me to stay uber-focused on the task at hand without getting so caught up in it that I miss an important item on my calendar. 

I also use my Echo dot to make grocery lists. When I’m making breakfast and use the last avocado for my toast, a simple command “Alexa, add avocado to grocery” ensures it will not be forgotten on my next shopping trip. 

There are so so many ways to utilize this device to make your life more organized and efficient that I couldn’t begin to list them all here, but this article has a pretty comprehensive list for some of the cool things Alexa can do

Speakers for online lectures

Let’s face it, not all online lectures are recorded with the highest levels of sound equipment. After all, your instructors are instructors, not video producers and editors. So, there may be times when your internal computer speakers just aren’t enough to really hear your professor adequately. By simply adding a set of external speakers, you can greatly improve the sound quality (this can also come in handy when you’re learning to differentiate heart and respiratory sounds).

This sleek sound bar speaker from TaoTronics (#ad) has a low profile so it won’t take up too much space at your desk and has both AUX and Bluetooth connection capabilities.


Page tabs and flags are absolutely vital for keeping key topics at your fingertips. These durable and colorful tabs (#ad)  are my favorite!


If you really want to get nursing students (and nurses) talking, ask them about their favorite pens. But be warned, it’s likely to fuel some extraneous school supply shopping…I mean, you have to try them ALL, right? Or, you could just skip right to my personal favorite, the Sharpie Gel pen (#ad). Smooth, non-smudging, glorious writing is just a click away.


For students who want to print out notes, PPT slides, resource materials and papers, then a reliable printer is a must. And a printer that comes with FREE ink makes this one of the easiest decisions you’ll ever make. Check out the HP OfficeJet Pro from Staples that comes with 12-months of free ink. Now if they only had a printer that came with free paper ?

So there you have it, my top 10 nursing school supplies for 2021. Looking for tips on the must-have clinical supplies? I’ve got you covered right here.

Get this on audio in episode 131 on the Straight A Nursing podcast, here or wherever you get your podcasts.


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