The 10 Best Gifts to Buy for Medical Students in 2018

Big and small presents for the future doctor in your life

Professionals discussing in doctor's office
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Whether your favorite medical student is about to complete years of study or just starting a path toward becoming an MD, one thing’s for sure: They’ve got loads of work and long hours are ahead! Most medical school students fill their hours with studying and tests, with turns learning at the hospital in between. And once they’ve graduated and become residents or certified MDs, the early years are much the same, with the bonus of finally earning an income to start putting toward all that student debt!

Here you’ll find a range of gifts big and small to help your med student focus on their work, get through each day, and have a chance to truly relax and unwind in their limited off-hours. We reached out to current and former medical students to see what treats they could really use or wish they had around the house to bring you this list.


  • 01 of 10

    Best Coffee Gift: Hamilton Beach Single Serve Coffee Brewer and Full Pot Maker

    The number-one survival tool for most medical students: Lots and lots of coffee. While a nice coffee machine may not be on a medical student’s budget, they’ll certainly appreciate a small appliance that can brew their favorite coffee at the touch of the button. This machine offers the best of both worlds: It can brew a full pot for sipping cup after cup during study sessions or brew a single cup (up to 14 ounces) straight into a to-go mug to grab on the way to the hospital for a late-night or early-morning shift. Unlike some other machines, this coffee machine doesn’t require special pods or other coffee equipment. This Amazon bestseller has more than 3,000 positive reviews from buyers.

    Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best coffee makers

  • 02 of 10

    Best to Keep Hydrated: Asobu E Flask Water Bottle

    Another complaint: When you’re on the go all the time (and chugging coffee to stay awake) it’s hard to stay hydrated! This cool water bottle has a slim design that easily nests into a bag next to books or a laptop, or can sit next to files on a countertop and blend right in. Made of high-clarity, leak-proof food-safe plastic and about the size of a notebook. Plus the cool design (it comes in clear and three other colors) is a good conversation-starter with patients and other students alike.

  • 03 of 10

    Best for Heavy Sleepers: GoLIFEUp Wake-up Light Alarm Clock

    Late nights, early mornings and constantly-changing shifts are a recipe for terrible sleep. Gift your med student an alarm clock that will make it easier for them to wake up in the morning — or In the middle of the night, whenever that shift starts. While they may be used to treating their smartphone as an alarm, there are lots of benefits to detaching from technology and using an old-school alarm clock instead. This one makes getting to bed and waking up easy with different mood-setting light tones, includes ones that simulate sunrise and sunset. It also has soothing sound options in addition to the standard radio wakeup. 

    Check out our other reviews of the best alarm clocks​ available on the market today.

  • 04 of 10

    Best for On-the-Go: Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug

    Medical students keep odd hours so to help keep them caffeinated on the job and when they are leaving the house in the wee hours a solid travel mug is key. This best seller from Contigo keeps hot brews warm for up to five hours and cold drinks cool for 12. It comes in 16 colors and is available in both a 16 oz. and 20 oz size depending on their caffeine needs.

    What people really love about this travel mg is it doesn't leak and it easy to clean. It also fits in most car cup holders so transportation in the car is really easy. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Best Watch: Swatch Twice Again Unisex Watch

    While on call or doing their rotations, a doctor needs to be aware of the time  — but can’t really whip out their smartphone to check the time. A nice watch comes in handy — choose one with a second hand so they can use it to check blood pressure the old-fashioned way. This not-so-basic black watch has a high-contrast face with easy-to-read numbers, and a low, close-to-the-wrist profile so it won’t get caught on a sleeve or medical equipment while they’re wearing it. Plus, it’s water-resistant, making it a smarter choice than leather or metal for someone who does as much hand-washing as a doctor does. 

  • 06 of 10

    Most Practical Gift: Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Portable Bottle Set

    It may not be sexy, but it’s probably the second-most-necessary tool in the medical student’s arsenal: Hand sanitizer. While on rotation, medical students use sanitizer before walking into a room, before interacting with the patient, after interacting with the patient, and before they head to the next room. Though individual bottles aren’t particularly expensive, this exhausting commitment to not spreading germs can add up over time. So make sure they’re stocked forever with a set of eight bottles — these ones come with a handy hook for a belt or bag. Pair it with your favorite ultra-thick lotion to keep their hands moisturized.

  • 07 of 10

    Best for Note-Takers: Leuchttrum 1912 Medium Size 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 as a senior MD is interacting with a patient. Generally, medical students prefer paper notebooks to keep all their learnings in one place, and one that’s small enough to fit in a pocket or small bag is the handiest of all. This fan-favorite notebook (it has more than 1,000 positive reviews!) comes in 15 colors and features a hardcover to make it easy to write on the go, perforated pages, 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.

  • 08 of 10

    Great for a New Home or Office: The Hippocratic Oath Art Print

    Courtesy of Etsy

    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. Besides being a cool decoration, on long and frustrating nights, this print can serve as a reminder of why they chose such a grueling (and sometimes thankless) profession after such a hard-won path.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Best to Keep Them Company: A Nice Cure for The Blues: Umbra FishHotel

    A common complaint from medical students and new doctors alike: They work like crazy, don’t have consistent schedules, and are so busy they hardly have time for a relationship, let alone a pet. So gift them a cool fish tank and a low-maintenance fish to keep as a companion. While the fish won’t mind an inconsistent schedule, it’ll keep your med student company while they’re studying and be someone to talk to when they come home in the wee hours from a long shift. Plus, this one’s great-looking, so it’s as much a decoration for their home as it is a pet, so they’ll be happy to look at it anytime.

  • 10 of 10

    Best for a Chill Night: Marble Wine Cooler

    Courtesy of Pottery Barn

    After all that hard work, it can be hard for your medical student to relax and unwind — or remember to celebrate milestones and accomplishments. A chic wine cooler — stocked with a bottle or two of fine wine — is an invitation to sit back, take it slow, and chill out after a long day. Pair it with a gift card to an amazing local restaurant (or at least, their favorite splurge sushi delivery spot) to encourage them to treat themselves nicely every once in a while.