Gift Guide for Nurse Practitioner School Graduates (2021)
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After the years and hours spent training to become an advanced practice nurse, there are so many ways to celebrate a recent nurse practitioner school graduate’s journey. Although graduation is just the beginning of their life’s adventure into becoming an integral part of the healthcare system, a new graduate has already accomplished so much!
Nurse practitioner graduates are celebrating their commitment to a broader set of responsibilities in healthcare that can sometimes border on doctor-ish. NP grads are celebrating the accomplishment of choosing a population focus and pursuing advanced skills, knowledge, and clinical judgment to help them best serve this population. Those who just graduated from a program are celebrating the ways in which their new education has improved their patient care, and may also be celebrating the fact that they don’t have to be in school for a while.
The best gifts you can give are those that demonstrate the same level of thought, care, and kindness that NP grads will practice with their patients on a daily basis. This gift list is designed to help give you thoughtful, useful, and needful gifts that will help an NP graduate to celebrate and to succeed in the career they have worked so hard to advance through their schooling efforts.
Small Affordable Gifts
Despite all the advances in technology over the years, sometimes the best way to jot down notes and reminders is in an old-school pocket notebook. Etsy has a wide selection of notebooks custom-designed for nurses in ways that are whimsical or practical. For an added bonus, you can also provide a nurse-themed pen to accompany the notebook. Stepping outside of your big box store and shopping on Etsy also makes sure you’re supporting small businesses.
4-in-1 pens are commonly listed as being an essential part of what lives in an NP’s nurse’s bag. While plastic and disposable 4-in-1 pens are available everywhere, the place where you want the pen to last the longest is in the nurses’s hand (not in a landfill) A long-lasting and refillable 4-in-1 can be a gift that continues to give all throughout an NP’s career. While most 4-in-1 pens are all ink, this particular model swaps out the color green for a .7mm mechanical pencil.
For NP graduates about to enter the healthcare field, coffee is often an ingredient for successfully navigating hectic, busy, and sometimes long shifts. And while cafeteria coffee is usually free, it’s not always very tasty.
If the NP you know is a coffee snob, give them the gift of the best possible coffee on earth—that which doesn’t use pesticides or destroy lives or the planet. Whether you offer the NP graduate you know beans, a single cup, or a gift certificate to a local, fair-trade, organic coffee shop, the gift of robust flavor that delivers an ethical energy boost is one that most NP grads will be happy to receive.
For their safety and the safety of patients and colleagues, nurse practitioners can wash their hands up to hundreds of times per day, depending on their role in the workplace. Although alcohol-based sanitizing gels cut down on how dry NP hands can become, hand lotion is still something that any NP graduate can appreciate.
While hand lotion is also something provided for free in the workplace, choosing a boutique fragrance-free lotion appropriate for any medical setting makes something essential into a treat.
As NPs are becoming more integral to creating the kind of access in primary care that will be needed to make our healthcare system more effective, NP life can get stressful. Giving the gift of an adult coloring book can actually help the NP graduate you know to cultivate moments of presence and mindfulness. Add in a clever theme that illustrates nurse life problems with humor, and you’re also giving the NP you know the gift of healing through laughter. With THE addition of colored pencils, the NP grad in your life will have everything they need for one way to decompress from their day.
Every NP, doctor, and other health care provider working with your NP will have their own stethoscope, and industry standards mean that many of these professionals will have the exact same stethoscope. Giving the gift of a customized stethoscope ID tag can help the NP graduate that you know to keep track of which stethoscope belongs to them in a sea of similar stethoscopes. Options include name engraved tags, photo tags, and more!
Being an NP is a role that finds many in constant movement. To help the recent graduate you know quench their thirst in a sustainable way that also speaks to their new NP status, you can customize a bottle for them that celebrates their role in the healthcare field. On Etsy, many of the bottles include healthcare themes and clever sayings that a nurse practitioner can’t help but love and appreciate. To make the best choice for the planet, choose metal for a bottle that can eventually be recycled or reabsorbed into the earth.
Books for NPs
For the NP school graduate interested in seeing the struggles and resultant growth of a career as a nurse practitioner, this anthology of nursing narratives has a breadth and depth of moving wisdom, experience, and insight. Penned by nurses at all stages in their career, this could be an excellent gift to illustrate to a new NP how to find joy and meaning in a career where there can be struggle due to things like bureaucracy and burnout.
Whether the NP graduate you know is going to join a hospital or strike out alone, Carolyn Buppert’s guide is important to any new or current NP. Revised for 2020, the guide includes teachable moments from malpractice cases, emerging issues in health policy, guidelines for prescribing controlled substances and opioids, issues with EHRs, issues with HIPAA, and more. Those graduates considering the pursuit of a DNP may also find this guide super helpful.
For the academically and research-inclined NP graduate, this guide by Cynthia Saver is a comprehensive resource that helps NPs to go from idea to published article. In addition to pushing NPs toward a completed manuscript, this book covers collaboration with other healthcare authors, how to avoid predatory publishers, converting a dissertation or capstone to a published article, book review writing and submission, different publishing formats, and more.
This work by Michael Ortiz Hill challenges caretakers to deeply examine how to cultivate and implement the craft of compassion while working with sick patients. A call to deep inner transformation, Ortiz Hill proposes a shift away from the crushing of compassionate impulse in healthcare to an opening into relationship-based caring that comes from a place of showing up authentically to a bedside. This could be a deeply important text for a new NP contemplating how to show up spiritually to their work.
While it may be controversial to recommend a book on doctors as a graduation gift for an NP, the reality is that an NP’s career is going to be intertwined with that of a physician. While there is overlap in training methodologies, physician training and NP training prepare healthcare professionals to deliver services in ways that can be wildly different and even in conflict. This book can help a newly graduated NP to cultivate some awareness of the inner workings of doctor decision-making so that they can work effectively with the doctors who are integral to their work.
From checking vitals to listening to heartbeats and lungs to checking bowel sounds after surgery, nurse practitioner graduates will need a sturdy, reliable stethoscope to do their best work. 3M Littmann stethoscopes are the industry standard and come with warranties that range from two to seven years. If the nurse practitioner you know doesn’t yet own a stethoscope or their current stethoscope is reaching the end of its useful life this is a hugely practical gift to give.
A career as a nurse practitioner will often include many days (and sometimes nights) standing and walking for the duration of a shift. Comfortable shoes will be key to a nurse practitioner’s happiness and longevity in their career, and Dansko’s have a reputation for being the best clog for the job. Either buy them a gift certificate or consult with your NP grad about shoe size and style to make sure you’re getting them comfortable clogs that bring them joy to wear.
Even though the NP graduate you know will be chock full of the knowledge and skills needed to care for their patients, having procedural reminders at their fingertips can help their career get off to a good jump start. Containing a wide range of information like patient assessment protocols, medications, pediatric and OB assessment, lab values, and more, you can get a nursing badge reference card set that is wide and general, or curated to the NP’s specialty or discipline.
Regardless of where an NP graduate lands their first NP job, they will need a way to carry around all the tools they need to practice their craft. The ultimate nursing bag comes ready for the tasks with multiple storage compartments, heavy-duty construction, a non-skid bottom perfect for hospital surfaces, and pockets designed to hold medical tools in place. As a bonus, these bags come in several different prints, so that you can choose the perfect one for the NP graduate in your life.
Subscriptions, Memberships, Conferences, and Courses
Graduating from a degree program is just the beginning of an NP’s professional journey, and membership in a professional organization like AANP is how an NP can continue to grow, thrive, and learn throughout the course of their career. Through membership, the NP grad in your life will become a part of a professional network of NPs, gain access to continuing education, hold subscriptions to academic NP journals, and more. If the NP you know is graduating with a specialty, you can also consider a membership to a specialty association (e.g., Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses).
Alumni Association Membership
If your NP graduate had a positive experience of community and education at the university where they were trained, helping them stay connected to this community through an alumni association membership can be a thoughtful and useful gift. In addition to the continued networking opportunities that a gift like this makes possible, alumni association memberships often come with CE opportunities, discounts, events, publications, and other ways for a graduate to stay connected.
Being an NP is a really physical and often stressful job. In anticipation of a newly graduated NP sinking into all the rigors of this healthcare position, a massage membership gives the gift of physical and emotional relief. You can give the gift of massage from chain-style operations like Massage Envy, or you can contact your NP’s favorite massage practitioner to look into memberships or packages.
Continuing Education Courses
School is not the end of an NP’s formal pathway through training. To maintain licensure and board certification, and to keep up with all the changes in the science and practice of patient care, all NPs must complete a certain amount of continuing education throughout their years as a provider. Chat with the NP gradaute you’d like to support about where their professional curiosity lies, and offer to sponsor a continuing education course from NPACE, APEA, Barkley & Associates, Fitzgerald Health Education Associates, or AANP.
In addition to providing a wide array of continuing education opportunities, conferences are a way for NPs to connect with their professional communities, and learn how best to advocate for this growing profession.
There are general conferences that bring together NPs from all disciplines and conferences that bring together NPs who work with specific populations. In the age of covid, some conferences are online and some are in person. Speak with your recent NP graduate about their schedule and their comfort level, and book them a ticket to the conference of their choice.
Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by healing herself into wholeness, divesting from separation, and walking the path of the loving heart. Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.