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Your Helpful Guide to Holiday Gifts for Nurses

gift guide for nurses

Nurses spend their days working diligently for the well-being of others. They’re dedicated to not only their careers, but to the lives of their patients and people around them. Nurses often get overlooked, so as the holiday season approaches, help that special nurse in your life feel appreciated with a thoughtful gift.

But finding gifts for those you love is not always easy. That’s why we’ve created this helpful holiday gift guide for nurses. Whether you are seeking gifts for male nurses, nursing students, older nurses, or any nurse in between, you can use this list as inspiration for your holiday shopping. No matter what you gift, the nurse in your life will feel appreciated and loved.

15 Great gifts for nurses

1. Travel mug

If you are looking for presents for nursing students, look no further. Nursing school is notoriously rigorous, and your student is likely spending hours at the library or waking up early for clinicals. Show your appreciation for this nurse-to-be with a travel coffee tumbler or mug. Choose one that has a nursing theme or message to express your support.

2. Fitness tracker

It’s no secret that nurses are constantly on their feet. Couple that with the lifting and wheelchair-pushing around hospitals nurses often do, and you’ve got yourself a great workout! The nurse in your life may not realize how many steps she’s getting in or how many calories she’s burning, so a fitness tracker such as a FitBit could be a way for her to monitor her health and see her hard work pay off.

3. Compression socks

Compression socks benefit more than just marathon runners and the elderly. Compression increases the pressure in the tissue under the skin, which reduces swelling and fatigue, among a variety of other benefits. These compression socks for nurses will help provide comfort for any nurse who’s constantly on their feet.

4. Spa certificate

Nurses are always taking care of other people, and may neglect to take care of themselves. A gift certificate to a spa would be the perfect choice for the overworked nurse who needs some pampering. Look for spas that offer massages, manicures and pedicures for the ultimate treat.

5. Insulated lunch bag

Gone are the days of brown bagging, and your nurse will need a sturdy lunchbox to carry their breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three!). Try a bag big enough to carry a full meal plus a few snacks—nurses often work overtime--as well as one that’s insulated in case the work fridge is full.

6. Alarm clock

For the nurse working early morning hours, waking up can be hard to do! Even though many people use their phones as alarms nowadays, investing in a loud alarm clock can be the difference between hitting snooze and waking up. Gift one that also doubles as a phone charger, so your nurse can be ready to go first thing in the morning.

7. Durable shoes

Nurses are on their feet most of the day, so they need the best of the best when it comes to footwear. A bad shoe can cause several foot and back problems, so good footwear is essential. While quality shoes are not cheap, your nurse will thank you for years.

8. Aromatherapy

Nurses deal with many physical, emotional and mental stressors every day. Aromatherapy touts health benefits such as the ability to reduce anxiety and depression while promoting energy and strengthening the immune system, perfect for the nurse who works with sick people all day. Try an essential oil diffuser or bath salts to help your nurse unwind after a long shift.

9. A sound machine

For the nurse who works the night shifts, falling asleep during the day can be difficult. Try a sound machine with several types of noises—from soothing waves to non-intrusive white noise—so your nurse can find what’s best for him. You can’t put a price on good sleep and your nurse deserves a healthy dose of a good night’s rest.

10. Gift certificates

Don’t think you and your nurse have the same taste? Gift cards are a nice way of expressing your gratitude while providing freedom for your nurse to choose what she likes. Consider getting one from a local coffee shop—those overnight shifts can require a lot of caffeine!

11. Moisturizing lotion

Everyone knows that nurses wash their hands about a hundred times a day. All of those suds and scrubbing really dry out nurses’ poor hands – especially in the colder months. Nurses will love a moisturizing lotion that keeps their hands hydrated, even after washing them for the tenth time in a day. Look for lotions that are specifically made for dry or cracked skin for extra relief.

12. Reliable watch

For those thinking of getting watches for nurses, be sure to do your research first, as many watches may not be suitable for nurses (think expensive, clunky or minimalistic styles). Nurses need watches that are lightweight and waterproof for those long shifts and extensive hand washing. Also be sure to choose one that has a second hand, as nurses use seconds to measure pulses. For the stylish nurse, try a funky analog and for the more practical nurse, try a sporty digital design.

13. Scrubs

No one likes buying work uniforms, but scrubs come in many fun colors and patterns. Check with your nurse to see what their work allows, and then treat them to a set of comfortable scrubs. Just because they’re wearing scrubs doesn’t mean they can’t look good!

14. A fun book about nursing

For the newer nurse or nursing student, a fun, easy and honest read about the nursing career could be just the thing they need to ease their mind and embrace the twists of the career. Check out “The Everything New Nurse Book for a comprehensive guide to nursing.

15. A weekend getaway

Nurse burnout is a real issue, so help your nurse recharge with a relaxing weekend getaway. Whether it’s a staycation at a cozy hotel or a jet-setter vacation to a beach, your nurse will appreciate some quality down time to do nothing but relax and unwind. Be sure to discuss available dates with your nurse beforehand!

Show them you care

While nothing can compete with the generosity nurses show every day by saving lives, small gifts like these can show your appreciation and recognition of all that your nurse does. That special nurse in your life deserves a special gift, so we hope this list helps spark your inspiration.

Are you a nurse? Let us know in the comments below what you would like to see in your stocking this holiday season. And while you’re at it, be sure to pass this article along to friends and family as a way to give them some ideas for their holiday shopping.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published in November 2015. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017.

Anna Heinrich

Anna is a Copywriter at Collegis Education who researches and writes student-focused content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She believes the power of the written word can help educate and assist students on their way to a rewarding education. 

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