With the holidays upon us, you might be wondering what gift might be useful or meaningful for a medical student. I’ve put together a list of tools and nifty things that I think any medical student would want to have.
- Stethoscope: A stethoscope is always a good choice as every medical student will need one for standardized patient encounters, workshops, clinic sessions, hospital rounds, etc. It doesn’t have to be particularly fancy, but the ones that can pick up more subtle murmurs or can be customized for pediatric patients are always a nice addition.
- Pen light, tuning fork, reflex hammer: I put all these together because I found all three as a set to be really helpful on my neurology rotation. I became quite proficient with the neurological exam and these tools helped me complete my exam quickly each morning.
- Headphones: I know this technically isn’t a medically related item, but I think headphones are essential when you want to cancel out all the background noise while studying in public places like a library or a coffee shop.
- Any sort of top-rated review book for any of the Steps: If you want to contribute to the never-ending collection of books that a medical student uses, go right ahead! It’s always appreciated!
- Subscription to a question bank: On the same line as the review books, medical students spend an absurd amount of money on question banks to prepare for shelf exams and board exams. Every little bit counts!
- Something not medically related: Sometimes, I just want to escape the bubble of medical school. Gifts from people outside of medicine help me do that. One of my most memorable gifts is my collector’s set of all the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips…it helps me stay like a kid at heart!
- Little notes of encouragement via postcards, letters, emails, actual post-it notes: I think of all the gifts that I have received in medical school, I have most valued the notes of inspiration from friends and family who have always believed in me and propel me to keep going even when things get tough. Those notes of love still cover my wall today 🙂