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Tis the Season, Out with the Nursing Caps … in with the APPS !

Chances are that a nurse may be on your holiday shopping list. With less than 2 weeks left before the holidays, I wanted to suggest some great gift ideas for nurses.

Registered nurses (RNs) constitute the largest healthcare occupation, with 2.6 million jobs. Chances are that a nurse may be on your holiday shopping list.  With less than 2 weeks left before the holidays, I wanted to suggest some great gift ideas for nurses.  Whether you are a nurse or know a new grad, nursing student or senior nurse, there are some essential nursing products that are practical and move nurses into the future with technology geared to their needs.

First, nurses are tired of the traditional uniform and have largely become open-minded to scrubs being "stylish."  A custom pair of scrubs make a great gift.  A seasonal print jacket or scrubs with your favorite sports team logo (Phillies or Eagle gear are a favorite) are always appreciated.  Grey's Anatomy scrubs are available if you or someone you know is a series fan! Check out Lydia's uniforms, Scrubs and Beyond, and/or Tafford uniforms for sales, gift cards with a purchase and other buying incentives.  Don't wait too long or the gift may not be available or arrive in time to make it under the tree!

Also consider a pair of comfortable shoes.  A popular trend for nurses are clogs or a slip-on shoe, often in a pattern design to add some personality to a very routine uniform.  Tie-shoes seem to be less popular but realize that nurses spend 12 or more hours on their feet, so look for elements of comfort.  A wrist watch also make a great practical gift since nurses always need to record times.  There is a wide range of watches that would make a nurse very happy and don't need to cost a fortune.  I suggest finding a watch with clearly displayed seconds and one that is waterproof due to our need for frequent handwashing. Otherwise, leave the realm of conservative and have fun picking out a great watch!

Phone APPS make great gifts, appealing to all nurses who aren't afraid of technology.  As the "buyer," you will have to know what type of phone to buy for because each APP works on specific phone systems. I conducted an internet search and found hundreds (no exaggeration… you have to check out this site!) of apps for nurses at  Downloads such as Davis's drug Guide, IV therapy flack cards, N-CLEX (the nursing examination) reviews, advanced pediatric life support guides, and disease manuals were all for sale at this site.

I also suggest Epocrates Rx.  It is one of the few free iPhone APPS (although there is a version for purchase that provided more comprehensive dose calculation abilities). Epocrates Rx is a drug guide for your phone, with dosing and formulary information such as drug interactions and nursing considerations.  It does not require a wireless connection and includes continual free updates and medical news. Several nurses I work with have Epocrates Rx and use it multiple times a day.  It is very helpful for advanced practice nurses such as a Nurse Practitioner.

There are even disease specific APPS such as for diabetics. Glucose-Charter is a blood glucose, insulin and medication recording APP for any iPhone or iPod Touch. A diabetic person (which may or may not be a nurse) can self-monitor and report their glucose values to their healthcare provider in a very future forward APP.

Lastly, great stocking stuffers would include a bedazzled ID lanyard or clip or a photo holder to wear with their ID.  Nurses love to proudly display photos of their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews!  A gift card for a massage (nurses are not usually permitted to have artificial nails due to Joint Commission standards and employer policies), a bottle of wine, or a favorite coffee selection would also be greatly appreciated.

Pass along any other great gift ideas and links!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!