Backpacks

Backpack for Nursing: Plus 22 Nurse Essentials

Discover the ultimate backpack for nurses, packed with 22 essentials for the heroes in scrubs. Gear up for shifts with must-have nursing tools!

Deborah Clarke
Dec 11, 2023
13 min read
Three Nurses talking one is wearing her nursing backpack

Nursing is a profession that demands both compassion and efficiency. With the right durable backpack, nurses can ensure they have everything they need on the go.

This guide is designed to help you find the ideal backpack for nursing, one that balances comfort, functionality, and style.

FAV Highlights

  • Discover the essential features to look for in a nursing backpack.
  • Learn how to balance practicality with personal style preferences.
  • Understand the importance of durability and organization in a nursing backpack.
  • 22 Nurse Essentials to Pack in your Backpack for Nursing

Understanding the Nursing Backpack Essentials

Nursing student with a backpack

When it comes to selecting a backpack for nursing, there are several key backpack features to consider. The backpack should be spacious enough to carry all your nursing essentials, such as stethoscopes, medical manuals, and personal items.

Look for a backpack with multiple compartments. You'll want interior pockets, exterior pockets, a large capacity main compartment and a front compartment for easy organization and quick access to your tools and supplies.

You may also like our article: The Benefits of a Purpose-Built Nurse Backpack

The Benefits of a Purpose-Built Nurse Backpack
You are always on the go. You need a backpack that can keep up with you. Nurse backpacks are specifically designed to meet your needs.

Comfort is Key

Comfort should never be compromised when choosing a backpack for nursing. Nurses often work long shifts and may have to carry their backpacks for extended periods. Padded shoulder straps, adjustable shoulder straps, a supportive back panel, and a design that distributes weight evenly are crucial to prevent strain and fatigue.

Durability Matters

Nurses work in environments where spills and stains are common. A backpack for nursing should be made of durable, easy-to-clean materials. Look for water-resistant or waterproof fabrics that can withstand the rigors of daily use and help protect your belongings.

Size and Storage Capacity

The size of your backpack should correspond with your daily needs. If you carry a lot of equipment, opt for a larger backpack with ample room. If your load is heavy, you will want a roomy backpack for heavy books.

However, if you only need to transport a few items, a smaller, more compact mesh backpack may be more suitable.

Organizational Features

A top loading backpack with a well-thought-out organizational system can save you time and frustration. Multiple pockets, including insulated ones for temperature-sensitive medications, and designated compartments like a padded laptop sleeve for electronics can keep your gear neatly arranged and easily accessible.

Top Loading Backpacks are a convenient backpack for nursing.

Security and Privacy

In the nursing profession, you may carry sensitive documents or valuable equipment. A backpack with lockable zippers and RFID-blocking pockets can provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind.

Ergonomic Design

An ergonomically designed backpack for nurses can help reduce the risk of back and shoulder pain. Features such as adjustable straps, a sternum strap, and a waist belt can help distribute the load more evenly across your body.

Style and Personal Expression

While functionality is paramount, you don't have to sacrifice style. Backpacks for nursing come in various designs and colors, allowing you to express your personal style while maintaining a professional appearance.

The Best Materials for Nursing Backpacks

Material choice can greatly affect the longevity and performance of your backpack. Nylon and polyester are popular for their durability and water resistance, while leather can offer a more sophisticated look but may require more maintenance.

Ease of Maintenance

A backpack for nursing should be easy to clean and maintain. Look for materials that can be wiped down or machine washed to ensure your backpack remains hygienic and presentable.

Tech-Friendly Features

In today's digital age, having a backpack with a padded laptop compartment (or two padded compartments like in this Fasrom Nurse Backpack) can be incredibly beneficial for nurses who need to stay connected and charge their devices on the go.

The Impact of Weight Distribution

A backpack that doesn't distribute weight properly can lead to discomfort and injury. Pay attention to the design of the backpack and how it feels when loaded with your nursing gear.

Accessibility and Convenience

Quick access to your nursing tools can be crucial in emergency situations. Choose a backpack with external pockets and easy-to-use zippers that allow you to reach your equipment without any hassle.

Balancing Cost and Quality

While you may be tempted to save money on a cheaper backpack, investing in a high-quality backpack for nursing can save you money in the long run by avoiding the need for frequent replacements.

The Role of Brand Reputation

Consider purchasing backpacks from reputable brands known for producing quality nursing gear. They often offer better warranties and customer service, ensuring you get the most out of your backpack.

Personalization Options

Many backpacks offer options for personalization, such as name tags or patches. This can help you quickly identify your backpack and add a touch of personal flair.

The Importance of Reflective Elements

For nurses who commute during early or late hours, reflective elements on a backpack can enhance visibility and safety.

Eco-Friendly Choices

If sustainability is important to you, look for backpacks made from eco-friendly materials or produced by companies with responsible manufacturing practices.

Reviews and Recommendations

Before making a purchase, read reviews from fellow nurses. Their experiences can provide valuable insights into the practicality and durability of different backpacks and tote bags. You'll like our recommendations in our Buying Guide: Best Backpack for Nurses

Where to Buy Your Nursing Backpack

You can find backpacks for nursing at medical supply stores, online retailers, or directly from manufacturers' websites. Compare prices and options to find the best deal. Some of the backpack brands we like can be found on Amazon:

Best Backpacks for Nursing Students
When you’re looking for the perfect backpack to take with you to clinicals or on your next nursing shift, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.


What does a nurse carry in her bag?

Here's 22 Must-Have Items to go in Nursing Bags

Optimize your nursing school experience with the ultimate Backpack for Nursing Students: 22 Must-Have Items.

Discover the essentials that will keep you prepared and efficient throughout your demanding academic journey.

Whether you're attending lectures, participating in clinical rotations, or studying for exams, these items are non-negotiable for success in the nursing field.

Stethoscope: Your Diagnostic Ally

A stethoscope is indispensable for patient assessments. Keep it sanitized with alcohol pads to ensure safety and hygiene.

stethoscope and knee hammer

Smartphone & Chargers: Your Digital Toolkit

Your smartphone is a versatile tool for calculations, quick references, and emergency information. Don't forget your chargers to stay powered up.

Nurse with smartphone at the hospital

PPE: Your Shield Against Infection

Personal Protective Equipment is crucial, especially with ongoing health concerns. Stock your backpack with masks, gloves, and eye protection.

Nurse wearing PPE

Water Bottle: Your Hydration Station

Stay hydrated with a water bottle at hand. It's a healthier choice over caffeinated or sugary drinks. If you are wondering Stanley vs Yeti? We've done some research for you in our article "Stanley vs Yeti: Which Reusable Water Bottle and Tumbler Is Better?"

Nurse staying hydrated with water bottle on the job.

Healthy Snacks: Your Energy Boosters

Long hours demand nourishment. Choose snacks like fruits, nuts, and granola bars to maintain focus and energy.

Healthy snacks

Hand Sanitizer: Your Germ Fighter

Infection control is paramount. Keep hand sanitizer accessible for those moments when soap and water are out of reach. Stock up with Purell Travel Size 1 oz hand sanitizer bottles (packs of 72 available).

Travel size Hand sanitizer is a staple in backpacks for nursing.

Drug Handbook: Your Pharmacology Reference

Medication management is a core nursing responsibility. Carry a drug guide for quick and accurate information. Try Mosby's 2024 Nursing Drug Reference.

Nurses handbook, nursing drug reference book

Pens: Your Indispensable Writing Tools

You can never have too many pens. Opt for retractable ones to avoid ink stains on your scrubs. Our favs are these quick drying gel pens!

Quick drying gel pens belong in backpack for nursing.

Index Cards & Highlighters: Your Study Aids

Be ready for spontaneous study sessions with index cards and highlighters at your fingertips. Nursing students love these colorful index cards.

Index cards for easy study can be kept in your backpack for nursing

Notebooks: Your Organizational Essentials

Keep your notes and important information well-organized with these popular notebooks, clipboards, or binders.

Journals and nursing notebooks are a staple in your backpack for nursing

Watch: Your Time-Tracking Device

A watch, some nurses prefer a stethoscope watch, with a second hand is essential for accurate charting and timing interventions.

Watch with second hand is a must for your backpack for nursing

Penlight: Your Assessment Accessory

A penlight is necessary for neurological assessments and provides additional light when needed.

a pen light is a nursing essential for your backpack for nursing

Laptop: Your Academic Hub

Your laptop is crucial for virtual classes and assignments. Protect it with a dedicated compartment in your backpack. This Acer Laptop is a popular choice and comes with its own laptop sleeve.

Acer laptop must fit in your backpack for nursing

Nursing Equipment: Your Practice Tools

Consider having your own pulse oximeter, thermometer, otoscope and blood pressure cuff for practice and simulations. These nurse essentials are tools you will practice with, so you'll want them close at hand all in one nurse bag.

Nurse essentials all in one carrying nursing bag

Hand Lotion: Your Skin Protector

Frequent handwashing can dry out your skin. Keep hand lotion in your bag for regular application. Nurses all over the world know they can count on GoldBond healing hand cream with aloe.

Medications: Your Health Essentials

Carry any necessary prescription or over-the-counter medications for emergencies or personal use. Using a weekly pill or vitamin dispenser is safest way to ensure medications are taken daily.

Weekly Pill or Vitamin Dispenser

Compression Socks: Your Circulation Supporters

Compression socks are beneficial for long hours on your feet, reducing the risk of circulatory issues. Nurses 6 pack copper compression socks with nursing designs.

Personal Products: Your Life's Little Necessities

Designate a pocket or little zippered pouch for personal items like deodorant, mouthwash, and other essentials.

Personal zippered bag, for personal items in your backpack for nursing.

ID Badge Reel: Your Identity Display

A badge reel is a safe and convenient way to display your student nurse ID. These Nurse ID Badge Reels have fun graphics and sayings on them. Mix it up, have some fun!

ID Badge Reels for Nurses with fun graphics

Slip Resistant Shoes: Your Protective Footwear

Comfortable, antimicrobial, and slip-resistant shoes are a must. Consider brands like Crocs slip resistant 'at work' shoes for quality nursing footwear.

Slip Resistant Crocs at work are popular with nurses and nursing students.

Empty Plastic Bag: Your Spill Solution

Accidents happen. An empty plastic bag can contain soiled items until you can address them.

Extra Scrubs: Your Backup Uniform

Always have a spare set of scrubs and shoes for unexpected situations. Nurses, both men and women, like the Dagacci brand for nursing scrubs.

Dagacci brand of nursing scrubs in a variety of colors, patterns, keep an extra set in your backpack for nursing.

Pack Smartly

Balance your nursing tools, school supplies, and personal items in your backpack for nursing.

Being well-prepared can ease stress and save time, helping you focus on your ultimate goal: passing the NCLEX exam. You've got this, future nurse!


Invest in Quality When Selecting a Backpack That Will Serve You Well Throughout Your Nursing Career

Choosing the right backpack for nursing involves considering factors like comfort, durability, organization, and style. By prioritizing these features, you can find a backpack that not only meets your professional needs but also reflects your personal taste. Remember to invest in quality, read reviews, and consider the brand's reputation to ensure you select a backpack that will serve you well throughout your nursing career.

Happy Shopping AND thank you for your front line service!

Your Fav Reviews team!


Coming Up Next: 2024 Buying Guide: Best Backpack for Nurses
Coming up next ... 2024 Buying Guide: Best Backpack for Nurses

FAQ Section

FAQ about what goes in a backpack for nursing

Embarking on a nursing career or currently navigating the halls of healthcare? You know that having the right gear is as crucial as your expertise. And what's more essential than the perfect backpack to carry all your nursing necessities?

Selecting the ideal backpack isn't just about style; it's about functionality, comfort, and durability. Nurses are on the move constantly, and their backpacks need to keep up. Let's dive into the FAQs about backpacks for nursing, ensuring you make an informed choice that supports your demanding profession.

What kind of backpack should I get for nursing school?

Embarking on the journey of nursing school requires not just mental preparedness but also the right gear, and the cornerstone of that gear is undoubtedly the backpack. It's not just a bag; it's a mobile command center for a student's textbooks, gadgets, medical supplies, and personal items. The ideal nursing school backpack is a fusion of comfort, durability, and organization, ensuring that everything from hefty anatomy books to a stethoscope has its rightful place.

Nursing School backpack features should include being ergonomically designed, to reduce back strain during those long commutes and hours on campus. The material needs to be tough enough to withstand the rigors of daily use while offering protection against the elements. Ample storage compartments and pockets are essential for keeping equipment and notes organized, and some degree of water resistance is a bonus for those unexpected spills. Let's dive into some top-tier backpacks that tick all these boxes and more, setting you up for success in your nursing studies.

Do nurses take backpacks to work?

Absolutely, nurses often take backpacks to work as they serve as a practical and efficient way to carry their essentials. A backpack allows nurses to easily transport items such as nursing tools, personal protective equipment, reference books, a change of clothes, and personal items, all while keeping their hands free. The right backpack can offer organized compartments for quick access to medical instruments, and durable materials to withstand the demands of a healthcare environment. Moreover, for nurses who may commute or need to travel between different sites, a backpack is a comfortable and convenient choice to support their active and mobile lifestyle.

How often should I clean my nursing backpack?

Clean your backpack regularly, depending on how frequently you use it and the environments you work in. For most nurses, a thorough cleaning once a week is sufficient to maintain hygiene.

Can I use a regular backpack for nursing?

While you can use a regular backpack, a specialized backpack for nursing is designed with specific features that cater to the needs of the profession, such as convenient top load backpack designs, durability, organization, and easy-to-clean materials.

What is the best way to organize my nursing backpack?

Utilize the backpack's compartments to separate your items based on their use. Keep frequently used items in easily accessible pockets, and consider using packing cubes or pouches for additional organization.


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