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40+ Gift Ideas for Nurses and Nursing Students

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With National Nurses Week beginning on May 6, now is the perfect time to show nurses how much you appreciate the hard work they do.

Maybe you want to give something special to a nurse who provided care for you, or maybe you’d like to offer a nice gesture to your significant other, a sibling, parent, child, or a good friend who works as a nurse. A thoughtful gift can go a long way, especially for nurses who’ve spent the past year dedicating long hours to caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our list includes practical on-the-job items and gifts better suited for off-work hours, from cookware to self-care goods. Read on to find 42 of the best gift ideas for the nurse in your life.

Price Guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10-$25
  • $$$ = $26-50
  • $$$$ = over $50

Gifts for Nurses

Nurse Care Packages

Price: $$$

These nurse care packages come with useful tools and fun little presents, such as dark chocolate and face masks (perfect for self-care), dry shampoo (a great option for busy nurses who don’t have the time for regular hair washing), hand sanitizer (vital for healthcare workers), and tea (a great beverage for winding down after a tough day).

Buy from Nurse Luxe

Fitbit or Smartwatch

Price: $$$$

Nurses are always on their feet, which can be exhausting. However, this also means that exercise is built into their job. If your nurse is interested in keeping fit, buying them a Fitbit or smartwatch can help them keep track of their step count each day. These devices can also monitor other factors, such as calorie intake, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep quality.

Buy from FitBit

Donation

Price: $-$$$$

If you want to go a more altruistic route, you may consider making a donation in your nurse’s name. This can be appropriate for nurses who entered the healthcare field to make the world a better place. You could donate to the hospital or clinic where they work, or you might consider donating to the Red Cross. If your nurse works as a COVID-19 first responder, you can find several ways to donate food or supplies to those at the pandemic’s front line.

Donate to the Red Cross

Subscription to American Nurse Journal

Price: $-$$$$

As the official journal of the American Nurses’ Association, this publication informs nurses about the latest updates and research in their industry. It also includes articles about how to manage patients and gives advice from experts in the field. This journal can be a great resource for new and experienced nurses who want to grow in their careers.

Buy an American Nurse Journal Subcription

Gifts for Nursing Students

Anatomy and Physiology Flashcards

Price: $-$$$$

Admittedly, flashcards aren’t the most glamorous gift for a nursing student. But they are incredibly useful, especially when nursing students spend long hours in the library memorizing facts so they can pass their exams. You can find several flashcard sets and even coloring books on the human anatomical system from reputable educational and test prep companies.

Buy from Amazon

NCLEX Review Book

Price: $$$

Your nursing student may not jump for joy once they unwrap this gift. But where it lacks in thrill, it excels as the perfect gift for any nursing student or recent nursing graduate preparing to take the NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN. Many companies publish different versions of this book, which typically includes test-taking advice, practice questions, and full-length practice tests.

Buy from Barnes & Noble

Novelty Shot Glass

Price: $

When nurses finally walk out of their last class, pass the NCLEX, and receive their nursing license, it’s time to celebrate. Etsy offers a variety of shot glasses with cheeky captions aimed at nurses. Or if wine is your nurse’s preferred beverage, you could buy them a novelty wine glass instead.

Buy from Etsy

Personalized Nurse Graduation Print Photo

Price: $$

For a nurse’s graduation gift, this print or illustration can serve as a poignant and pretty reminder of your nursing student’s time in school. You can find many illustrations from independent artists on Etsy. They make a lovely addition to a mantlepiece or bookshelf, especially as nursing students move into their first homes and begin full-time work.

Buy from Etsy

Self-Care Gifts for Nurses

Foot Massager

Price: $$$$

Nurses often work long shifts on their feet, and that can take a serious toll. Tending to their feet isn’t just an issue of self-care; in fact, bad foot health can lead to limb-related problems and lower work efficiency. A foot massager can help nurses avoid these pitfalls—not to mention, they feel great.

Buy from Amazon

Gift Card for Pampering

Price: $-$$$$

Everyone deserves to be pampered. Buy your nurse a gift card to a mani-pedi, massage, facial, or hair conditioning treatment to make them feel valued. You could also give them gift cards to their favorite stores offering products for pampering, such as Sephora, Ulta, or The Body Shop.

Buy from Ulta Beauty

Adult Coloring Book

Price: $

Adult coloring books provide many benefits. For one, they can help reduce stress, which plays a large part in a nurse’s career. Coloring can also improve motor skills and focus, which may help nurses during their day-to-day duties. You can even find coloring books specifically made for nurses.

Buy from Amazon

Skincare

Price: $-$$

A stressful job comes with many consequences; for some, the stress shows on their faces. High pressure jobs can result in wrinkles, tired eyes, red or blotchy skin, and acne breakouts. Buy some high-quality skincare products for your nurse to help them avoid these pitfalls. If you’re not sure what to buy, ask them about their skin type or buy them a gift card to a reputable skincare company instead.

Buy from Deciem Skincare

Candles

Price: $$

A high-quality candle with a captivating scent can be a lovely gift for nurses. After spending 12 hours on their feet in a hospital with all sorts of unpleasant odors, they might look forward to coming home and lighting a candle to relax. It not only provides an alluring fragrance, but it can give a sense of calm and relaxation after a stressful day. However, people can be picky about scents, so ask your nurse about their favorite fragrances before you pick one out.

Buy from Amazon

Hand Lotion

Price: $-$$

Nurses constantly use their hands at work, which means they’re regularly washing their hands to prevent disease spread as well. All of that washing can lead to dry, cracked hands. Buy your nurse a small bottle of hand lotion that they can carry around with them throughout the day, or a set of lotions so they always have a bottle at arm’s length.

Buy from The Body Shop

Flowers or Plants

Price: $$$

Believe it or not, houseplants can come with health benefits. Research has found that plants reduce stress levels and may even improve people’s productivity and outlook on work. Plus, many people find that working with plants can be therapeutic. Helping turn your nurse’s home into a mini-botanical garden may improve their health as well.

Buy from The Sill

Streaming Subscription

Price: $$$$

We all love to relax with our favorite TV show or a classic, feel-good romantic comedy. While many people subscribe to Netflix or Hulu, consider buying your nurse a subscription to a less common streaming service, such as HBO Max, Apple TV, Peacock, or BritBox for Anglophiles.

Subscribe to HBO Max Subscribe to Apple TV Subscribe to Peacock Subscribe to BritBox

Yoga Mat

Price: $$

Yoga is popular for good reason. It’s not only relaxing, but it has heart health benefits and can help with strength and flexibility. Plus, it doesn’t take much to start a yoga session—all you need is a yoga mat, comfortable clothing, and 15 minutes. If you give a yoga mat to your nurse, then they’ve got all the equipment they need to get started.

Buy from Amazon

Rent a Dog

Price: $$-$$$$

The science proves it: dogs are good for our health. Dogs improve our mood, heart health, stress levels, and loneliness. Of course, not everybody can adopt a dog, but you can rent one for your nurse. Dog rental or borrowing services connects people with dog owners or shelter dogs in need of a walk. The humans get to play with the pups for a couple of hours, and the dogs get to make new friends. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Learn More

Clothing and Apparel for Nurses

Compression Socks

Price: $$

Twelve-hour shifts, especially when shifts involving regular walking, can wreak havoc on a nurse’s feet. Feet swell, shoes begin to feel smaller, and varicose veins can become more visible. Compression socks counteract these symptoms. The elastic fibers counteract the blood that pools in the lower extremities, which ultimately causes the swelling. If you want to buy a present that your nurse will appreciate and use on a daily basis, consider compression socks.

Buy from Amazon

Fashionable Scrubs

Price: $$$$

Every nurse wears a uniform, and that uniform is pretty simple: scrubs. But nurses don’t necessarily need to give into the shapeless outfits that you see at so many hospitals. You can buy them some snazzier options, such as sleek outfits from FIGS or Jaanuu, more fun and funky options with Smitten Scrubs, or the flattering workwear from Fabled. You can find several other scrubs companies to jazz up your nurse’s outfit; just make sure you know your nurse’s style and size before you order.

Buy from FIGS

Headband

Price: $$

When nurses find themselves in a high-pressure situation, hair falling and covering their eyes is the last thing they need. Plus, pulling hair back may also help reduce the spread of germs and dust particles. You can find headbands everywhere, but some companies cater specifically to nurses.

Buy from JUNK Brands Headbands

Nursing Necklace

Price: $$$

A necklace isn’t necessarily part of every nurse’s uniform. Still, jewelry can make a thoughtful gift. Jewelry-makers sometimes design necklaces specifically for nurses. For instance, you can find a necklace with a subtle heartbeat pendant or a stethoscope design.

Buy from Etsy

Nurse Sweatshirt

Price: $$$

You can buy all types of novelty clothing for nurses to wear on their days off. But a sweatshirt or a hoodie may just top other clothing options. After all, many nurses want to be as cozy as possible so they can relax in style and comfort off the clock. You can find plenty of sweatshirts with slogans nurses will love: “Eat. Sleep. Nurse.” is a popular one; “Coffee, scrubs, and stethoscopes” is just as relatable.

Buy from Cafe Press

Accessories for Nurses

Cell Phone Sanitizer

Price: $$$

Although you can find a cleaning spray for cell phones, you can also go high-tech. A UV cell phone sanitizer kills 99% of bacteria and germs, and some of these tools even double as chargers. For nurses who work in environments with ill patients where germs spread constantly, this gift can be especially useful.

Buy from Amazon

ID Badge Holder

Price: $

Hospitals and healthcare clinics can be chaotic places to work. It’s easy to misplace or drop things. There’s one item that nurses can’t lose though, and that’s their ID. Nurses need to keep their IDs with them constantly. That’s where an ID badge holder comes in to keep their ID secure. You can find these holders in all sorts of colors and designs so that it matches your nurse’s personality.

Buy from Etsy

Penlight

Price: $

Pens can make a good gift for anyone. But for nurses, you can really level up with a penlight. These essentially work as flashlights, emitting a bright light with LED or halogen bulbs. Penlights can help healthcare professionals with tasks, such as assessing patients’ pupils, examining their mouth or throat, or just helping nurses see during overnight shifts.

Buy from Amazon

Nursing Bag

Price: $$-$$$

A nursing bag is another way to stay organized. You can find nursing bags with several pockets, so that nurses can keep all of their supplies in a designated place. You can also find nursing bags in many different designs. Choosing one almost feels like choosing a backpack for the new school year.

Buy from AllHeart

Clipboard

Price: $

Nurses always need to write down notes as part of their professional work, so it’s useful to have a clipboard on hand at all times. Many clipboards open up like folders, allowing nurses to fit documents or educational resources for patients in the middle. You can find clipboards of different colors or with unique designs online.

Buy from Amazon

Gifts for Night Shift Nurses

Coffee Tumbler (and Coffee)

Price: $$

This could be an appropriate gift for any nurse. After all, nursing shifts are no joke, no matter when they work. But it’s an especially useful gift for night nurses who need an extra boost to stay awake in the waning hours of the morning. If you want to buy an extra thoughtful brew, don’t just pick up some generic coffee from the grocery store. Find some premium coffee beans from your local coffee shop and maybe a coffee bean grinder as an added accessory.

Buy from Yeti

White Noise Machine

Price: $$$$

White noise helps many people fall asleep, no matter the time of day. Ambient noises like forest critters or crashing waves can produce a relaxing environment in the bedroom, forcing eyelids to become heavy for even the most jittery sleepers. If your night nurse is having trouble getting proper rest during the daytime, a white noise machine may do the trick.

Buy from Amazon

Do Not Disturb Sign

Price: $-$$

Getting enough sleep during the day isn’t easy, particularly when you live with other people. A sign on the door can help remind nurses’ roommates or families to keep it down. Even better, you can find plenty of do not disturb signs made especially for nurses: “Unless you need CPR, do not disturb. Sleeping nurse inside,” says one slogan.

Buy from Etsy

Blackout Curtains

Price: $$$

Many curtains just don’t make the cut. During the day, light still seeps inside and makes it difficult for nurses to get proper sleep. Blackout curtains keep the room as dark as possible, so that the napper is tricked into thinking that night time has come early.

Buy from Amazon

Gifts for Travel Nurses

Gift Cards to Local Restaurants

Price: $-$$$$

What better way to help your nurse settle into their new home than by providing food? Research the best local restaurants in the area through area magazines, Yelp, or TripAdvisor. Then treat your nurse to a meal. If your nurse’s town is known for a certain type of food—say, barbecue in Kansas City or tacos in Austin—look for the highest-rated food joint in town.

Buy from OpenTable

Tickets to Local Attractions

Price: $-$$$$

In the same vein, you can help your nurse get to know their new location by helping them visit key attractions. Maybe that’s a museum or theme park, or maybe it’s an experience, such as a walking tour or cooking class. Traveling from place to place can make your nurse feel like they’re constantly uprooted. This is one way to help them connect with their new—albeit temporary—home.

Buy from Ticketmaster

Neck Pillow

Price: $$

Anyone who’s traveled knows how uncomfortable long trips can get. A neck pillow can help nurses traveling by plane comfortably rest their head. Nurses will especially appreciate this thoughtful gift, as it gives them a chance to rest during a stressful schedule.

Buy from Amazon

Audiobook

Price: $$-$$$$

Whether a nurse is travelling by plane, train, or automobile, long-distance trips can be time-consuming and tedious. An audiobook can help travel nurses pass the time with education or entertainment. You can buy them an audiobook that you love, or pay for an audiobook credit or subscription so that your nurse can choose one for themselves.

Buy from Audible

Eye Mask

Price: $

An eye mask is another small but thoughtful gift that can help nurses rest during an otherwise uncomfortable or distracting trip. Silk eye masks even promise to help prevent eye wrinkles and crow’s feet, and wool eye masks could prove useful for nurses headed to colder climates.

Buy from Amazon

Gifts for New Nurses

Membership to the American Nurses Association

Price: $$$$

As one of the largest nursing professional organizations in the country, the ANA connects nurses with one another. New nurses can take advantage of networking opportunities and educational sessions. Plus, new nurses will appreciate access to the career center and discounts for specialty certification. Giving your nurse the tools to join the ANA can help them jumpstart their careers.

Buy from the American Nurses Association

Instant Pot

Price: $$$$

Any nurse can tell you: with long shifts and stressful work responsibilities, it’s easy to neglect daily responsibilities. For instance, when it comes to eating meals, it’s easier to pick up burgers at a drive-thru, order in, or heat up a frozen pizza than to cook your own meals. Buying your nurse an instant pot can help them cook healthy meals with little effort, so they can conserve their energy for the hospital floor.

Buy from Amazon

Meal Delivery Kits

Price: $$$$

Not only can cooking feel like a drag, but going grocery shopping seems like one of those tasks that’s easy to put off—until the refrigerator is completely empty. If you purchase a subscription to a meal delivery kit, then your nurse doesn’t have to worry about making shopping lists for their weekly grocery trip. Instead, popular services, such as HelloFresh or Blue Apron deliver all of the ingredients for a great meal straight to your nurse’s door.

Subscribe to HelloFresh Subscribe to Blue Apron

Journal

Price: $$

Adjusting to a career as a nurse can come with its challenges and frustrations. It’s never easy to see people struggle with severe illnesses or pass away. Journaling is a great way for a new nurse to express their thoughts and feelings in a productive manner as they adapt to their circumstances. To add a personalized touch, you can engrave your nurse’s name on the notebook cover.

Buy from Amazon

Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul

Price: $$

Remember the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? Once seemingly ubiquitous, these books included motivational stories and essays for different demographics: mothers, pre-teens, fishermen, and nurses. Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul could be a thoughtful addition to any new nurse’s book collection, inspiring them as they begin their careers.

Buy from Barnes & Noble

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