Busy, overworked medical students are constantly juggling multiple responsibilities and may need a reminder to spend some time on themselves.
That's why we researched practical gift ideas that are top-rated for their quality, usefulness, and relaxation benefits. Some of our favorite gift ideas include a personalized white coat hanger from HandcraftedAffairs, a decorative yet meaningful Hippocratic Oath art print, and the Ivation Foot Spa to help students relax after a long day.
Here are the best gifts for medical students, whether they're close to graduating or entering a new school year.
HandcraftedAffairs White Coat Hanger
The white coat ceremony is a major moment for all medical students, and this personalized hanger celebrates the occasion. This personalized Etsy find can be customized with the recipient's name, ceremony date, school, specialty, and preferred colors (black, walnut, natural, or white). As they move throughout the career, this thoughtful gift will always remind them of their special achievement and the day it happened.
Satisfied users loved the quality and personalization of the hanger and reported that the seller was extremely responsive and helpful. Just take note that customized pieces like these will need extra time for shipping.
Price at time of publish: $37 with decal under hook + 2 arms
Folio Creations The Hippocratic Oath Art Print
A good counterpoint to that fancy framed medical degree: a modern print of the Hippocratic Oath, the mantra that doctors live and practice by. This version is done in cool high-contrast type, in one of 60 colors to go with their apartment, home, or office wall art. Besides being a cool decoration, this print can serve as a reminder of the meaningful impact their profession has on others.
Price at time of publish: $38 for 11x14 inches
Ivation Foot Spa Massager
Anyone who's on their feet all day can use the relief of a home foot bath. This option from Ivation has a deep bowl for optimal soaking, and it has useful functions like massage rollers that soothe aching feet and heels, soothing bubbles, and a heating function that keeps the water at a relaxing temperature. In our Lab, testers loved that the water heated up quickly and that you could control the temperature to the degree on the LED display. While it is pricier, this is one gift your medical student can get daily use out of.
Price at time of publish: $150
STOJO Collapsible Coffee Cup
Whether the student in your life drinks a lot of coffee on the go, wants to be more eco-friendly, or both, this adorable cup is the answer. Holding a solid 16 ounces, the cup folds up to just two inches in height. The lid is leakproof, and the cup comes with a heat-resistant sleeve so you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers when carrying a hot beverage.
Price at time of publish: $20
Etsy Healthcare Workers Affirmation Cards Set
There's no denying how labor intensive and emotional a career in the medical field is, so these affirmation cards are sure to come in handy and act as a small token of support. This set includes 20 cards that come in a convenient drawstring tote. Each card has a different phrase (example: "I will do something to fill my own wellness tank today") and can act as a journal prompt or daily inspiration.
Price at time of publish: $20
FuzzyLoonDesigns Straight Outta Night Shift Water Bottle
Besides the absolutely funny phrase, "Straight outta night shift," this mega water bottle will come in handy for helping your future doctor keep track of their water intake. The 34-ounce, BPA-free bottle can be customized with the recipient’s name on the front, and the markings on the back indicate when it’s time to take a few sips. The wide mouth makes this bottle easy to clean, and the cap is attached with a strap—so no need to worry about losing it or it falling off.
Price at time of publish: $30
3M Littman Cardiology IV 27 Inch Diagnostic Stethoscope
A major tool for many students and new doctors is a stethoscope—and they can be quite expensive! Save your medical student that cost by purchasing a solid one from a reputable brand. This option from 3M provides quality sound, whether working on an adult or pediatric patient. Make the stethoscope really stand out by adding personalization to the head or tube. Not only are you saving your student from having to buy an expensive item, but you can show them you really care by adding a few personal touches.
Price at time of publish: $187
Philips HF3650/60 Sleep and Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp Review
Long hours, early mornings, and late nights that turn into early mornings can throw anyone’s schedule off. Philips SmartSleep is a small electronic gadget that can be stashed on even the tiniest bedside table, but it sure does a lot. The light therapy lamp and alarm clock includes natural sounds and white noise to aide in a peaceful night’s rest. In the morning, the lamp simulates natural sunlight.
Price at time of publish: $180
Evrpur Men's Gray Jogger Scrub Pants
Scrubs are the go-to uniform for many and they actually come in a variety of colors and cuts. These feature a stylish tapered cut that’s wearable for work, but also pretty stylish for non-medical duties. The material is moisture wicking and has tons of easy access pockets. With an elastic waist band and close to 10 percent spandex, these are built for comfortable wear.
Price at time of publish: $54
Modern Picnic The Luncher
Instead of a shapeless or downright unattractive lunch bag, Modern Picnic has an option that combines the usefulness of an insulated interior but with the look of a chic handbag. Made of vegan leather, the inside holds a meal or several snacks and has slots for cutlery. You can even add a monogram to the pocket flap so your recipient feels extra special.
Price at time of publish: $159
Mouth Happy and Healthy Snack Kit
Send a care package to your student who probably needs a little something salty, sweet, or crunchy. This kit from Mouth has tons of yumminess in a single box, including organic peanut butter cups, turmeric ginger tea, dried fruit, and more. They’ll think of you whenever they reach for a snack during break time.
Wisdompro Genuine Leather Pocket Protector Pen Holder
Pocket protectors are useful for someone who’s writing and taking notes on the go. Made of genuine leather, the holder attaches to shirts or lab coats and can hold pens or markers. The durable material means not having to worry about ink stains leaking through. Between the leather and double stitched design, this is a product that will hold up for a while under daily use.
Price at time of publish: $10
Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer
To help recover from late nights, this Hamilton Beach coffee maker gives the option to brew an entire pot (up to 12 cups) or a single serve of 14 ounces. Features include an auto shut-off after two hours, and the maker can be programmed to brew a cup at a designated time.
Price at time of publish: $75
Core Meditation Trainer
The hours of work and studying can stress even the most zen person, so a gift subscription to the Core Meditation Trainer will be extremely appreciated. The small device is used with guided meditations via an app and can sense a user's stress levels and also emit vibrations to encourage focused breathing. Opt for a purchase that includes access to basic meditations or go for the premium, which has more than 300 meditations, as well as guided breathing and soundscapes.
Price at time of publish: $219
HoAoOo Lanyard and Retractable Badge Reel
Though this may seem like a more simple gift, it’s actually a handy item that will get used frequently. The retractable badge holder can secure any identification. Extending just over 26 inches, this allows your doctor in training to have his or her ID accessible, yet secure, at all times. The material is sturdy and it can be worn around the neck, attached to a belt or shirt, or clipped to a bag.
Price at time of publish: $8
Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook
A medical student’s learning doesn’t just happen at the desk—especially in the later years, they’re studying on site and taking notes. This user-favorite notebook comes in 15 colors and features perforated pages, a hardcover to make it easy to write on the go, a handy pocket to tuck in other papers or receipts, and an elastic to keep it open or closed. Pair it with an elegant ballpoint pen with a stylus so they can go seamlessly from working on paper to working on a touchscreen.
Price at time of publish: $23
Pottery Barn Mindfulness Incense and Sand Bundle
Help your student add a bit of relaxation to their home with this incense and sand kit. It includes one pound of white or black sand and 10 incense sticks with the notes of patchouli or white musk. Add the sand and incense to a decorative bowl or dish (not included) and create a spa-like experience from the comfort of home.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
While your medical student is taking care of everyone else, they also need to practice a bit of self care. Samsung’s Galaxy watch is sleek, has a customizable band and face, and more importantly, tracks important health functions. In addition to tracking steps and sleep patterns, the watch alerts a user if their heart rate spikes or drops. Also, if the recipient uses Samsung Pay, they can use the watch to check out at select retailers.
Price at time of publish: $179
BigMouth Inc. The Prescription Coffee Mug
Your hardworking student is no stranger to long hours and marathon study sessions that require caffeine. Provide them with a laugh courtesy of this mug that's shaped like a prescription pill bottle. It features fun text like "12 ounces of black gold" and "Drink one mug by mouth, repeat until awake and alert."
Etsy Nurse Silicone Bracelet Erasable Notes Vital Signs Nurse Accessories Gift Wristband
Know a medical student who's ever written down important reminders or even vitals on the back of their hand when they can't find a piece of paper? This silicone wrap bracelet is genius. The slap-style bracelet has 20 lines of writing space available. It's best when used with a ballpoint pen and the text can be erased with alcohol or soap and water.
TSOEPLL Wine Gift Bag
Plan on gifting wine? Maybe add their favorite bottle to this wine gift bag. But it's not just any bag, but one that's shaped like a doctor's coat. It's sold in a pack of two or four and each bag can be dressed up with a few doc-worthy necessities like a thermometer or stethoscope.
Price at time of publish: $15
Lavley Medical Themed Socks
Gifting socks doesn't have to feel boring when they're this cute and perfect for a med student. The socks come in a few styles and colors, but they're all medical themed. There's a dark blue pair with a medical chart, stethoscope, and cup of coffee. Or try the heart socks with "Nurses are heroes" on the side.
Price at time of publish: $11
Etsy Stethoscope ID Tag
Jazz up your student's first stethoscope with a tag that can be customized. The metal ID tag, which comes in gold, copper, or silver, easily wraps around the tubing of the stethoscope. In addition to choosing the font of their name, you can also add designs like a heart, flowers, or even sports-related themes.
Price at time of publish: $9
BloomsyBox Flower Subscription
Flowers are forever classic, but gifting a flower delivery subscription is even better. Choose the frequency (weekly or monthly) and the recipient can enjoy beautiful bouquets. And if your student is eager to become a plant parent, try the plant subscription that comes with easy to follow care instructions.
Price at time of publish: $39
Uncommon Goods Hugging Heart Pin
For a thoughtful, but wallet-friendly gift, try this hugging heart pin. Measuring just two inches wide, the ceramic pin comes in red, pink, or white, and would look great on a lab coat or their everyday gear. The handmade item also features light accents of 24k gold.
Price at time of publish: $20
Knack Finding Your Zen Tea Set
Share a gift with your student that's designed to help them just take a breath and slow down a bit. Here's a tea set that doesn't just include a beautiful porcelain pot (holds up to 17 ounces) but equally gorgeous cups, saucers, and organic green tea. There's even a book that includes mindfulness practices.
Price at time of publish: $140
What to Look For in a Gift for Medical Students
When shopping for busy medical students, opt for something useful that will help make their daily life easier. Practical gifts include supplies for school, bags for keeping their medical gear organized, or a new alarm clock that keeps them well rested and energized. Choosing something useful and practical ensures that the student will reach for your gift on a daily basis and make them feel truly appreciated and loved.
Opt for a gift that helps stressed students unwind at the end of busy days. This may include a set of sheet masks, a gift certificate for a spa day, or a fuzzy blanket for snuggling on the couch. These presents show that you acknowledge just how hardworking and deserving of a break medical students are. It allows the medical student in your life to step away from their responsibilities for a moment and focus on themselves, which is a welcome reminder for any busy student.
Another way to shop for medical students involves keeping the occasion in mind. After passing an important test or reaching an education milestone, opt for something celebratory, like a gift basket or bouquet of flowers. For a white coat ceremony or graduation, gift them something to memorialize the achievement or prepare them for the next phase of their career.
It is also important to remember that medical students are more than just their studies. On birthdays and holidays, keep their hobbies and interests in mind for the perfect gift that honors who they are, rather than just their career.
What gift can you give someone starting medical school?
Getting into medical school is a huge achievement that deserves to be celebrated. There are many ways to show your love to someone embarking on this journey. You can opt for something small and budget-friendly, like a new daily planner or personalized mug. If you have the means, consider helping pay for needed supplies, books, or equipment. When in doubt, consider a congratulatory gift like flowers or a food-themed gift basket.
What do you give someone who is studying for the MCAT?
Someone who is studying for a huge test deserves a fitting gift that will aid in their studying, like study snacks, a circadian rhythm clock for late-night sessions, a new notebook, or even contributing to a MCAT prep class or tutor. Or, you can opt for an item that provides a much-needed break, like a gift card for a manicure or a new back massager. Consider what the student needs most in this time of cramming and studying and find a fitting and useful present that they will be thankful to receive.
What do students need for medical school?
There are many essentials that set a student up for success in medical school. In addition to the classic school supplies needed for college classes, medical students often need a stethoscope, multiple sets of scrubs, a tablet or computer for taking notes, medical textbooks, comfy study clothes, noise-cancelling headphones, medical journals, and more. Just be sure to check in with your student to see what they already have and what they need for a new school, new year, or new semester.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams. She has contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020. This guide for medical students is based on useful, top-rated products and even input from her former roommate, who's a nurse. In addition to her work for The Spruce, she writes commerce articles, including product suggestions and reviews, for other outlets as well as appearing on air for The Today Show, WEtv, and she was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City.
Additional reporting was done by Julia Fields a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays since October 2021. Before that, she covered similar topics including toy reviews, product round-ups, gift guides, and more.