For my last holiday season in medical school, I decided to put together a list of some of the best gift ideas for a medical student in your life. These are some of the essentials that have helped me through these last three and a half years, and I think that these can be a lifesaver for anyone learning or working in the hospital. Enjoy!
I put off buying one of these clipboards until the beginning of my M4 year and I cannot express how much I regret all those wasted years. This little gadget is life-changing—it folds neatly away so that it can be carried in a white coat pocket and makes taking notes so much easier. It seems like such a small thing, but for me, the difference between scribbling something against my knee and on an actual writing surface makes it much more likely that I will actually write notes and checklists, and consequently makes me a lot more organized.
This is a great gift idea for a student in their preclinical years as they will need this very early on in their studies. A good stethoscope can make a world of difference when trying to discern faint heart and lung sounds in a busy Emergency Room, and as a result, they can get quite pricey. If you have a medical student in your life that you are willing to spend a fair bit of cash on, this is a great gift. Additionally, if you have the option, PUT THEIR NAME ON IT. If they are anything like me, they will lose it about once a week, and the name I have engraved on mine has saved me more than once.
In my preclinical years, I would arrive at morning lectures with 2 travel mugs and my grandpa’s massive camping thermos full of coffee and by lunchtime, they would be ready to be refilled. I briefly considered stringing them across my chest like a bandolier so I could move on to the next one more quickly but decided I should maintain a least an appearance of control over my caffeine addiction. For me, the ideal travel mug has a tight seal so it can be tossed in a bag without spilling, is well insulated to keep the coffee warm throughout the day, and ideally is filled to the brim with Starbucks gift cards.
The degree of weirdness is the most important factor when considering a pair of socks. There’s an old adage that humor is the best medicine, and I wholeheartedly endorse it. I have a pair of socks that have actual pictures of my cats on them, and they have been a perfect conversation piece for everyone from a scared child preparing for a shot to a reserved elderly patient coming in for an annual checkup. As a medical student whose outfit consists exclusively of either scrubs or a plain button-down shirt and slacks, my socks are the main avenue where I can express my personality without the danger of seeming unprofessional.
Cheap pens? That seems a bit counterintuitive. If you care about them why not get them nice pens? NO. Medical student pens are meant to be borrowed and never returned—not to be appreciated. Get your medical student one nice pen (I like multicolored pens) and then a hefty supply of pens that won’t be missed.
Retractable Badge Reel
This is the most breakable and yet most useful element of my wardrobe—a combination that ensures I will go through several of these over the course of the year. This is a must for anyone that works in a hospital, let alone any medical student.
One of my few good qualities is that I have excellent venous return. Therefore, this is not a product that I regularly use, but because several of my friends absolutely swear by these, I have added them to the list. These are perfect for when you have to stand motionless for hours during a long surgery.