For 20 years in a row, nursing has been named the most trusted profession out there, according to annual Gallup polls. During the height of the pandemic, we watched nurses rise to the challenge in unprecedented ways, at times burning themselves out to save lives. However rewarding, being a nurse is not for the faint of heart. Nurses regularly work up to 12-hour shifts, on their feet almost constantly while simultaneously juggling the needs of countless patients while sacrificing their own. It’s safe to say nurses are the ultimate givers. Now’s a perfect time to give back. Not only is the holiday season right around the corner, but we happen to know exactly which are the best gifts for nurses — because we asked actual nurses! From stylish stethoscope cases to the smartest-looking scrubs we’ve ever seen, here are 12 genius gifts to grab — stat!
In case you haven't noticed, hospital wear has come a long way. FIGS is one of the most popular brands on the market, and their scrubs make an ideal gift for nurses.
"I own a pair of FIGS scrubs, and they're super stylish while also being extremely comfortable," says fourth-year nursing student and ER tech Layla Solomon.
"Since we wear scrubs, our badge reels give us the opportunity to show our individualism," says Alyssa Intindola, ICU/ED RN.
Wondering what badge reels are? They're those clips that hold a nurse's ID and keep it attached to her clothing — and now they come in so many design options, some with snarky sayings and others with pretty patterns.
Nurses run on caffeine just like a lot of us do, but they're also too distracted to be sitting there sipping a whole cup before it cools off.
"Our shifts can be unreliable and hectic and this thermos takes me through my day and keeps my coffee hot for hours!" says Erin Mahoney, ICU/ED RN.
This one's vital for any nurse: a stylish stethoscope case. Vanessa Cascio Broughton, RN swears by hers.
"I've actually had my bells tear before from just tossing them into my backpack without protection," Cascio says of the delicate pieces of a stethoscope's anatomy. The stethoscope case also has little pockets in it [where] I could keep pens, pen lights, small notebooks and things like that."
Remember all that standing and walking that nurses do for hours on end? Yep, it takes a toll.
"This gives quick relief after hours on our feet," says Victoria Mosiello, ICU RN. "Nurses take thousands of steps a day!"
"After some tough shifts, a good glass of wine can ease the tension," says Joanna Couvertier, ICU RN. "For that special nurse, a wine subscription would put a smile on his/her face!"
Say no more.
"An insulated lunch bag is a great convenience as we mostly work 12-hour shifts; those long shifts cover more than one mealtime," says Annette Pepe, RN. "Even if we order a meal or go to the cafeteria while on shift, we would still need to bring one to two other meals/snacks from home, so having a nice cooler bag is helpful!"
"With those long shifts, nurses can sometimes find it tricky to get dinner on the table. Meal delivery services are a thoughtful and useful gift for nurses," says Howard Sandau, ICU RN.
Enter Freshly, a popular service that delivers freshly cooked meals to exhausted nurses and their families. Gift cards start at $75 for three meals a week for two people, and increase from there.
"I'm a Postpartum Mother/Baby nurse. A gift I would have liked to receive would be a stethoscope that is adjustable to use for adult patients as well as pediatric patients," says Kate O'Brien, RN.
"The different pieces come apart and can be reassembled for the type of patient you are using it on. The pieces can be kept on your badge for easy swapping. Since I take care of both moms and babies, this is useful to me, rather than needing an adult stethoscope as well as a pediatric one."
When nurses are overextended, their families feel the effects, too.
"A gift card for a nice dinner, a movie with our kids, a fun event with our families...I would appreciate gifts inclusive and focused toward family because they also sacrifice for our demanding work schedule, holiday absences and exhaustion," recommends Jessica O’Brien RN, NP.