Great Gifts for New Nurses and Nursing Students

first year nurse

Got a new nursing student or nurse in your family? Here are some great gift ideas for that new RN or RN-to-be, everything from career advice books to medical thrillers, scrubs, and clever gift cards. All perfect gifts to bring to any nursing school graduation party. Show some care to the future caregivers in your life.

  • 01 of 08

    Scrubs and Socks for Hardworking Nurses

    Scrubs and stethoscope
    Nancy Louie/E+/Getty Images

    The uniform of the medical profession is, of course, those pajama-like scrubs seen on every medical show on TV. The classics are the blue and green ones, sold in campus bookstores and emblazoned with the school logo (like these from UCLA), but there are fancy-pants ones too, emblazoned with flowers and teddy bears. Many hospitals color code their scrubs, with specific colors assigned to specialties. That said, there's no reason socks need to be boring, even compression socks, which are...MORE essential to healthy feet and circulation for nurses who are on their feet all day (or night) long.

  • 02 of 08
    first year nurse

    A compilation of tips and insights from hundreds of nurses, First Year Nurse: Wisdom Warnings and What I Wish I'd Known My First Hundred Days on the Job offers valuable insight for any new nurse.

  • 03 of 08

    Gift Card for a 24-Hour Diner

    open 24 hours

    Gift certificates to restaurants and coffeehouses close to the nursing school or hospital are thoughtful, sure-to-please gift options - especially if you find one that's open 24 hours. There's no telling what shift your favorite new nurse is going to pull, and you can't go wrong with a well-loaded Starbucks or VISA gift card. (It's a perfect gift for med students too.) Late night dining and coffee guzzling is part of the life of many nurses.

  • 04 of 08
    piggy bank

    Money may not be the most creative of gifts, but it's especially welcomed by loan-stricken students. Write a check or gather up some crinkly green bills  - and put a little creativity into how you present the gift. An old-fashioned prescription bottle can hold a rolled up check, for example. So can a copy of "Cherry Ames, Student Nurse." Or go for an old school piggy bank - the cuter the better.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Cherry Ames Student Nurse

    Cash and gift cards are much-appreciated gifts, but as gifts go, they're a tad dull unless you add something whimsical, like this retro treasure: Helen Wells' series about a rosy-cheeked wartime nurse won legions of hearts 60 years ago. Now the books have been re-released and there’s plenty of retro Nancy Drew-ish charm to be had in volumes such as "Cherry Ames, Student Nurse" or "Cherry Ames, War Nurse." (You might want to skip "Cherry Ames, Department Store...MORE Nurse," though. Who knew Macy's had a medical staff?) 

  • 06 of 08
    Pandemic board game

    You could give your favorite nursing student an Operation board game - heaven knows there are enough versions, including one where you get to operate on R2D2. But this intense, cooperative, adrenaline-fueled board game is perfect for anyone headed into a medical profession. Players become CDC scientists and specialists, who must stop multiple plague breakouts before a pandemic erupts on a global scale. Don't worry, you're just saving humankind. Now go do it at work, too. 

  • 07 of 08

    'Grey's Anatomy' & More

    Courtesy Buena Vista Home Entertainment

    Nursing school is not known for its leisure time, but when your favorite RN-to-be has medical-themed entertainment on a DVD, it doesn't matter if he or she falls asleep midway through Meredith Grey's frothy antics, a dark Nurse Jackie episode or an old Scrubs scene. Your nurse in training will find the antics on these shows entertaining.

  • 08 of 08
    Florence Nightingale

    Florence Nightingale is the iconic symbol of the ultimate nurse. A framed print of this inspirational and dedicated historical figure would be a lovely addition to any nurse's home decor, or perhaps something to dress up an office or break room at work. You can order the print and then have it framed at a local frame store.