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the BEST backpack for nurses & healthcare workers

worklife | 5 min read

Nurses are the heartbeat of healthcare, caring for patients and families with utmost empathy, compassion and humanism. This industry is fast-paced, demanding and ever evolving and so nurses must be equipped with the right tools to set them up for success. Having the right nurse  backpack is often an overlooked accessory but in reality, it’s a must-have essential! 

6 must-have features for nurses & students

Consider it part of your uniform, with equal importance to your stethoscope, scrubs and footwear. Whether you are preparing for a 12-hour shift or a nursing school clinical rotation, investing in a trusted and durable backpack is sure to keep you prepared throughout the day.

Due to the unique needs of the nursing profession, long shifts, different work settings and constant action, not just any old backpack will do the job. This article highlights key features when purchasing a multipurpose backpack whether you’re a practicing nurse, nursing assistant, nursing student or finding the perfect gift for a nurse in your life. 

1. comfort & durability 

Comfort and durability are everything. When shopping around, look for high-quality backpacks that are both practical and fashionable. You want to find a product that will last the test of time, giving you years of valuable and meaningful use. Therefore, prioritize those that are well-made, providing optimal organization, versatility and all-day comfort.We know nurses and nursing students have busy personal and professional lives so your backpack should be made to keep up with you.

Consider bags that feature supportive, ergonomic wide-shoulder straps with fully-padded back paneling because everyday usability is the ultimate goal. Use the adjustable shoulder and/or hip straps to individually fit the backpack to your body shape and size. This step is SO important. The pack should never feel like it’s straining or pulling your neck, shoulders or back because that can lead to unintended pain or discomfort. 

2. easy to clean

In today’s COVID-19 reality, infection control is top of mind for most healthcare workers. Since your backpack is an extension of yourself, find one that can tolerate being wiped down or sprayed with antimicrobial solutions.

Avoid porous materials like cotton or canvas because that can attract dust, dirt and germs. Instead, look for backpacks that are made of heavy-duty, waterproof or water-resistant, machine washable and wrinkle-free materials, such as nylon. Little details matter - having a grab-handle at the top of the pack is critically important when thinking about cleanliness. The handle allows you to hang-up the backpack in a locker or staff lounge, rather than laying it on the floor or under a nurses’ station desk. 

3. hydration & nutrition 

In order to care for others, nurses and nursing students must take time to care for themselves. Staying hydrated and nourished are basic needs that the right backpack can help support. When shopping in-person or online, focus on backpacks that include storage components of varied sizes.

Look carefully if it has a mesh side-pouch big enough to hold water bottles or thermoses because you’ll want to be able to grab water quickly and easily throughout your shift. You will also need fuel to keep your energy high, so your ideal bag will include enough room for a standard lunchbox and healthy to-go snacks. 

4. space

Now that we’re talking about packing, concentrate on having adequate space. Think about all the things you need in a typical shift, day or rotation. All of those things, big and small, take up room! Depending on where you work, this may include extra scrubs, shoes, equipment, notepads, pens, flashlight and personal items. If you’re in nursing school, you may also need to bring textbooks or a clipboard. The secret to a great nurse’s backpack? A lot of zippered pockets (interior and exterior) so you can organize and prioritize what you need and how easy it is to access those items. 

5. padded laptop compartment 

Don’t forget about your technology needs. Whether you have a cell phone, tablet and/or laptop, transporting these items in a safe and secure way is another priority to consider while searching for THE perfect backpack.

Give yourself peace of mind and select one with designated technology compartments or sleeves, providing extra protection against everyday wear-and-tear and liquid spills.  Many premium backpacks also offer anti-theft zipped pockets for securing your wallet, money, jewelry or devices if that is a personal concern.  

6. customization 

Another important feature is the ability to easily customize your backpack. Every person is unique and has differing body shapes, sizes and proportions. Using adjustable straps become critical in transforming a standard, off-the-shelf backpack into a custom-fit design.

If you can’t tolerate carrying one on your back or shoulder, that’s okay, there are great portable options too. With the same functional usability, tote bags with wheels offer a wonderful solution that may be less physically taxing. Also, use your backpack to express yourself! Our only recommendation is to keep it clean, professional and free of language or images that could be offensive

get a backpack made for healthcare

Nurses and students are constantly multi-tasking and managing priorities. It’s amazing how much gets done in a single day or shift! Investing in a quality backpack is time and money worth spent. It will become an absolute lifeline, keeping your personal belongings secure, organized and within reach. When caring for patients, you have so much to think about, so “where’s my stuff?” or “where did I put that?” should not have to be top of mind.

Backpacks will promote a healthy work-life balance, facilitating the importance of drinking, eating and taking respite breaks. Regardless of where you are in your nursing career – in nursing school, a new grad or a seasoned professional – take the time to research and select a backpack that best compliments your individual needs, preferences and style. Now for the fun part, enjoy shopping using these guidelines to inform your selection, we’re confident you will make the right choice!

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