Top 6 Tools for Nurses and New Graduates

A female nurse with a stethoscope and notebook

Most of what nurses do for their patients is done with knowledge, compassion and healing hands. But sometimes, nurses need help with nursing tools and equipment to make the job a bit easier. Hospitals and clinics often provide the tools nurses and nursing students need to do their work, but there are other must-haves for nurses that you might consider having as a new graduate nurse.

Here are six tools for nurses to begin to gather as you prepare for your first job as a nurse, and a few tools not to waste your first paycheck on:

In This Article:

1. Stethoscope

The stethoscope helps nurses to listen to, or auscultate, heart murmurs, bowel sounds and lung sounds.1 When selecting a stethoscope be sure it meets these criteria:

  • Properly fitted and adjustable earpieces
  • Balance quality with price — a higher price does not always mean higher quality
  • Check warranty information — some brands offer lifetime tube and head replacement

2. Comfortable Shoes

As a nurse, you’ll be on your feet a good portion of the day. Make sure your shoes are up for the task. Proper footwear must be closed toe as you’ll likely be working around heavy equipment like hospital beds and supply carts. Your choice of footwear should also be easy to clean.

3. Bandage Scissors

Bandage scissors are a helpful nursing tool especially in the emergency room if you need to cut a garment off, or when removing a bandage or cutting tape. As always, remember to properly clean and disinfect bandage scissors after each patient use.2

4. Something for Taking Notes

You might not always be close to a computer to enter notes about your patients, so having a small notepad can help you remember important details about patient vitals or what a wound looked like under the dressing.

5. Pocket Guide Quick-Reference

As a new graduate nurse, it is impossible to know everything. Having a quick reference guide may be helpful for things like labs and EKGs.3

Some quick reference guides are available as apps on your smartphone, but before you download them, ensure your phone is allowed in the clinical setting.

6. A Watch With a Second Hand

A watch can come in handy in many different nursing scenarios. You may need to manually palpate and count your patient’s heart rate or measure their breaths per minute and a second hand can make it easier to handle these tasks.4

Nurse Tools You Don’t Need as a New Graduate

As exciting as it is to gather all the must-haves for nurses when starting a new job, there are some items that just aren’t practical to buy for yourself:

  • Fancy scrubs — at least not yet. Depending on where you land your first nursing job, you may be required to adhere to a specific uniform policy, or even wear hospital-provided scrubs as is customary in the surgical area.
  • Blood pressure or monitoring equipment

Many of the nurse tools in this list make great graduation gifts but make sure you have the specific item picked out when family and friends ask what you might need.

Your Nursing Toolbox Is the Key to Success

Now that you are prepared with the nursing tools for your nursing clinicals or starting your first nursing job, you can be confident that you have the right equipment and education to provide the best care for your patients.

Contact us today to learn about our accelerated BSN program at Grand Canyon University. If you are just starting your journey to a nursing career, complete the form on this page to learn how you can earn your accelerated BSN in as few as 16 months.5

1 Auscultation. The Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved on July 31, 2023.

2 Centers for Disease Control and prevention. (2024, March 19). Environmental Cleaning Procedures. Retrieved on May 31, 2024.

3 Nurse Pocket Guide. Barnes & Noble. Retrieved on July 28, 2023.

4 How do I check my pulse? National Health Service. Retrieved on July 28, 2023.

5 Secondary applicants must transfer a minimum of 60 of the required 123 credits or have completed a baccalaureate degree which includes nine prerequisite courses/labs and 10 general education courses prior to starting the core nursing courses, which can be completed in as few as 16 months. Direct entry applicants that do not transfer 60 credits but meet the minimum requirements can complete these credits through GCU prior to starting the core nursing courses. Depending on the state where student has enrolled or intends to complete the program, student may require additional courses. This may include, but is not limited to, additional general education courses, courses in the major, clinical courses or a different course sequence. See University Policy Handbook.

Approved by the dean of the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions on Aug. 28, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.