2018 Gift Guide for Nurses

2018 Gift Guide for Nurses.png

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The holidays are practically here! If you’re looking for gifts for your nurse friends (or maybe looking for some inspiration on what Santa will be bringing for YOU this year), you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve polled my nurse friends on Instagram, asking them to share all the things they love to give and receive during the holidays and here are the top 10 gifts for nurses in 2018:

1. Coffee Everything! Coffee Beans, coffee Gift Cards, Coffee Mugs, etc.

The majority of those who responded to my Instagram question had one theme in common: coffee! Gift cards are an easy go-to item for nurses. It’s typically what I give to someone as a “Thank You” when they’ve been my preceptor or have helped me on a project. You can grab a nice mug or travel mug, fill it with a gift card, maybe some biscotti or a rice crispy treat, tie a ribbon around it, and it makes a perfect coffee themed gift!

I have a secret wish list on Amazon that includes one of the Ember self-warming mugs. You know, for one day when I can buy extra-frivolous things!

In the meantime, I might go for one of these budget-friendly mug warmers to sit on my desk next to my computer.

2. Pens

The second most popular answer for nurse gifts was…PENS! Can you believe it? So far, nurses are proving that they’re pretty easy to shop for!

Why pens, you may ask? We use them every. single. day. They always get lost or stolen, so we can never have enough.

If I’m going for fancy pens, I prefer Zebra.

For something basic and disposable, any clicky-type, retractable pen will do. I tend to collect extras whenever I’m at nursing conferences.


And while it’s technically not a “pen,” I think it’s worth noting that a lot of nurses like having those mini sharpies to carry around on our badges. It makes it easy when you need to quickly label an IV dressing or some IV tubing. These make an EXCELLENT gift.

3. Totes

Bags are important to nurses. It needs to be functional and practical and big enough, but not to bulky. The perfect bag will be big enough to fit your lunch, your stethoscope, a clipboard, that ICU Fast Facts reference book you always carry with you just in case, and a water bottle.

Right now I’m using a Kavu bag to carry my stuff to and from work. It comes in so many designs too! It’s a lightweight, cross body bag that is designed in Seattle, and I love it. I played it safe and stuck with a nice spruce green, but next time, I think I’d go for something more colorful. It’s not quite big enough for all my supplies AND my lunch, so I’m also using one of those thin, reusable, grocery bags to carry my lunch in.

4. Gift card to local massage/spa place

Sometimes we need to be forced to stop and take a day to relax. That’s why a gift card to a local spa or for a massage is a perfect gift for a nurse! One year for Christmas my husband bought me a massage package that allowed me to go three times, and if he’s reading this, I’d welcome a similar gift this year, hon. ;)

5. Travel Mug

Murphy’s law says that if have a hot drink at the beginning of your shift, odds are you won’t be able to enjoy it hot before sh*t hits the fan. That makes travel mugs a perfect gift because not only can they be used while commuting to work, they can also be used to keep your drink hot (or cold) while you deal with whatever crazy things pop up at the start of your shift.

I use a S’well stainless steel travel mug for work, it fits in my bag pretty well and I haven’t had any leakage issues, the seal is really good. They have a ton of cute designs like this teakwood one, or this marble one. I also know people who swear by Hydro Flask and they make some great travel mugs as well.

6. Compression socks

There were multiple votes for compression socks, this is definitely a favorite for nurses! When it comes to brand and style, there’s so many to choose from, it’s almost overwhelming. I’m planning a new blog post soon, “The Great Compression Sock Round-Up of 2019,” to compare and contrast about 7-10 different brands, but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorites:


Comrad. Get $5 off using this link! (valid for new customers, expires Feb 22, 2019).



Vim & Vigor.

7. Letters or visits from patients


The best gift is knowing you made a difference in someone’s life. Handwritten notes from patients can mean the WORLD to a nurse! If you’re a patient looking to say thank you to a special nurse, just know that most places have rules against accepting gifts, but notes and visits are always welcome! There may also be a nurse recognition program at that facility where you could nominate a nurse for their exceptional care. And if it’s something the whole unit can enjoy, we won’t say no to food, snacks, or candy!


8. Badge Reels


The Blissful Badge and BadgeBlooms are two nurse entrepreneurs who make cute badge reels and whenever I’m looking for something new and festive, they’re my go-to shops! I have an ugly Christmas sweater badge reel that I’m wearing this month for the holidays and I get so many comments on how cute it is. These shops sell gift cards too, which can make a great gift when you aren’t entirely sure what Disney character or bling-y flower to get for the nurse in your life.

9. Lab Coat/Jacket


Giving a white coat to someone as a gift is kind of a big deal. A quality white coat is an investment! A gift like this would be perfect for a nurse who is pursuing an advanced degree and can use a white coat during clinical or as a graduation gift for someone who just finished NP school. It can be a really thoughtful gift. You can even take it to the next level to personalize it and get it embroidered with their name and credentials!

Medelita sells some beautiful scrubs, jackets, and white coats, all with the option to add embroidery. Right now, you can use the code “GIFTING30” for 30% off on their website until the end of the year!

If you’re not sure about size, style, or even the right order of letters after their name, a Medelita gift card is a great way to go.


Thanks to Medelita for allowing me to try out their Rebecca lab coat and the Kinetic women’s scrub jacket! (I’m wearing a size 4 lab coat and XS jacket). The nerd in me loves the badge clip holder on the jacket and seeing my name and credentials all listed out like that.

10. Continuing Education


In all your holiday shopping, don’t leave yourself off the list! Continuing education that provides CEUs might be the only useful and practical gift you get this year! Invest in yourself and pick out a nursing conference to attend or buy an online course! Here are my recommendations:

  • Neuro or Cardiac Crash Course from FreshRN

    Kati Kleber and her team at FreshRN have put together some amazing material for the nurse who needs to brush up on their neuro or cardiac skills.

  • AACN’s annual National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition nursing conference! If you REALLY want to treat yourself, ask Santa for registration to this life and career changing conference! It’s in Orlando, Florida in May 2019 and while costs can add up quickly when planning something like this, it’s the sort of thing that can influence your practice at the bedside and make an impact to your patients. So giving the gift of a nursing conference to yourself is sort of like giving a gift to every patient you’ll encounter in the future.

Merry Christmas, humans!