The holidays are almost here! If you haven’t yet chosen a gift for some of the nurses or clinicians in your life — or maybe you just haven’t had time to shop — worry not, we’ve got you covered. We gathered the expertise from some online resources as well as our own experts and practitioner friends to assemble this last-minute list of holiday gift ideas for healthcare workers.
Remember, it’s never not too late to order online! A gift that arrives late in the season is better than none at all. The nurse, therapist, technician or other essential worker in your life will appreciate it — just as we appreciate having you in our nationwide network of health professionals. Happy shopping, and happy holidays from CareerStaff!
12 Holiday Gift Ideas for Healthcare Workers
1. Hand sanitizer and accessories. When it comes to finding a catch-all gift that most healthcare workers will appreciate — and certainly make use of — you can’t go wrong with an extra supply of hand sanitizer. It’s relatively inexpensive, and you can easily order all you want online and send it gift-wrapped to any nurse or clinician you know, no matter where they live.
Taking it one step further — and making the whole sanitizer routine a lot more fun — there’s a bunch of great hand sanitizer accessories on Etsy. And over at Nurse.org, Angelina Walker and nurse Kathleen Gaines also recommend a cellphone sanitizer as a cool gift idea for healthcare workers. It’s a slightly unconventional choice that can help nullify a notorious germ carrier.
2. A nursing bag or backpack. Walker and Gaines also point out the eternal usefulness of nursing bags for busy nurses, as a place to carry all the extra clothes, “shoes, scrubs, notes, books, stethoscope, name badges, pens, etc.”
For other healthcare workers, a tote bag or backpack may be a more appropriate choice, but the same philosophy applies. Indeed, it’s hard to go wrong with the gift of a basic but durable bag — particularly since the most high-quality bags aren’t exactly cheap.
In a rundown of top holiday gifts for nurses, Glamour recommends a pair of stylish backpacks — the Washable Patagonia Backpack and the Open-Top Canvas Tote Bag. One is prized for its easy cleaning, the other for its capacity to keep scrubs separate from everyday clothes. It also mentions the Custom Paravel Bag, a “gorgeous” canvas that you can use “as a weekender once things get back to normal.” Buzzfeed also suggests a wine tote for nurses.
3. New shoes. Nurses and therapists, doctors and technicians — no matter what specific job they have, chances are good that they’re on their feet all day. Considering that shoes wear out all too quickly, a new pair is usually a welcome gift. And that goes double if you choose to double down on your donation and splurge for real quality and comfort.
Shoes are a gift idea for healthcare workers where more money spent does generally yield higher quality of product. When it comes to day-to-day wellbeing, few things are more important than shoes for not only staying comfy during a long shift, but also keeping a mind on orthopedic health.
For a reliably comfy, healthy and slightly high-end choice, Hoka walking shoes and Dansko Clogs are on almost every list of recommended shoes for health professionals. Glamour also recommends Nike Zoom Pulse, which a contributing L&D RN describes as “sleek yet still functional for the health care worker, plus easy to clean and laceless.” Buzzfeed suggests Allbirds sneakers, which are durable and easy to wash.
4. Moisturizer or hand cream. “After washing my hands and applying Purell for what feels like the millionth time in one day, my hands could use a good moisturizer,” writes Erica D., a cardiothoracic intensive care unit RN. She goes on to recommend Philosophy’s Nurturing Hand & Nail Cream, while another nurse suggests O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream in the same Glamour nursing gift guide.
Meanwhile, Nurse.org recommends L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, which blends shea butter, honey, almond extracts, and coconut oil. Buzzfeed adds facial moisturizing to the mix, suggesting a penguin hydrating sheet mask.
5. High-quality socks. One of the most perennial gift ideas for healthcare workers — and a special favorite with nurses — are high-quality, purpose-designed stockings and socks. This is, again, an area where it pays to spend a little more; a wool sock is far more durable and comfortable than a bargain pack at the local big box, for example.
Compression socks are maybe the type of sock for nurses we hear about the most. Designed to promote blood circulation and support the Achilles heel, they offer not just noticeable comfort but durability, too. Nursing.com recommends the EKG Nursing Compression Sock.
6. Massagers. For most healthcare workers, the daily grind takes its toll. Few things are as relaxing for sore feet — or low spirits — than a post-work massage. And there are quite a few affordable devices that fit that bill: You can choose from a deep-kneading foot massager, a scalp exfoliating massager or a portable shiatsu massager for the shoulders.
7. Stethoscopes and accessories. Many healthcare workers already have a favorite stethoscope or a system of using what’s available, so think twice before venturing into this gift idea. On the other hand, you could do worse than to offer an upgrade for this important, use-it-every-day item.
At Nurse.org, Walker and Gaines offer an informative guide to the best-known stethoscope gift brands like Littman. And if you’re going this route, it’s also worth considering accessories like a personalized stethoscope ID tag or travel carrying case.
8. Personal protective equipment. This is a no-brainer in the Covid era. But while PPE items like masks and gloves may not be the most original or exciting gift ideas for healthcare workers, they’re likely to be appreciated nonetheless. Nurse.org recommends the Envo Mask, a “reusable NIOSH N95 approved respirator mask” that’s “designed for superior comfort and seal.
A pair of durable, high-quality protective goggles is a nice gift choice, too, especially for those who work in acute care settings. Often in short supply within many facilities, goggles are, like oximeters, a great item to have handy at all times.
9. A personal oximeter. Speaking of oximeters, if you know a nurse who doesn’t have one of their own, you could be offering not just a thoughtful gift but a game-changer in their day-to-day rounds. Over at Nursing.com, Jon Haws, BS, BSN, RN, writes: “This is one tool I always wish I had in my pocket.”
Jon makes a pretty good case, too: “Nurses check patients O2 sats at least every 4 hours and possibly every hour or even more in an ED or ICU setting. While hospitals have tools for this, it can be handy to have your own in a pinch.”
10. Quick meal solutions. In many areas, restaurants are mostly closed this holiday season. And, although delivery options are better than ever in the city, more isolated communities may not have as many choices. The bottom line is that many healthcare professionals are faced with the prospect of cooking their own meals after working long, exhausting shifts.
As an alternative to the standard Starbucks or Grubhub gift card, consider kitchenware that can make fast and tasty meals. Nurse.org recommends instant pots, which are easy to use and can cook a full meal quickly. There are also a variety of home meal subscriptions that provide pre-made meals that cook up in minutes. Popular examples include Blue Apron and Home Chef.
11. Scrubs and sweaters. Lots of recommendations center on fashionable scrub tops or winter-weather sweaters, but unless you know the recipient of your gift closely enough to understand their fashion sense, you may want to steer clear of gifts like this. Your colleague may not enjoy wearing Star Wars-themed scrubs as much as you think they will!
If you do know them well enough to know what they’ll like, though, this can be a solid gift idea — here, again, Pinterest can be a useful source of inspiration. There are some excellent options at The Gypsy Nurse blog, too.
12. Shop independently with Etsy, or get creative with Pinterest. Etsy, a website storefront for independent artists and crafters, has a ton of neat options if you want to skip the big box and buy directly from artists and self-supported crafters.
Check out Etsy’s lineup of nurse Christmas gifts here. Or, search for “gifts for healthcare workers” and take your pick of a truly amazing variety of gift ideas, including badge clips, hand sanitizer holders, wine glasses, personalized tumblers and glasses, appreciation boxes packed with goodies, and a whole lot more.
If you’re still stumped, Pinterest can be another source of inspiration. True, it’s not an actual online store, but it’s got plenty of pages to inspire gift ideas for healthcare workers, like 50+ Best Christmas Gifts for Nurses. A simple search for “gifts for healthcare professionals” reveals a treasure trove of cool ideas that clinicians are likely to use every day, like personalized mugs and tumblers, badge clips, special socks, sanitizer bottle holders, silicone watches and lots more.
Even More Gift Ideas for Healthcare Workers
Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? How about:
- Earplugs and black out curtains. If you know someone who’s working a night shift — especially if they’re new to it — earplugs and blackout curtains can be a lifesaver.
- A silicone ring. Some healthcare workers who can’t wear certain items of jewelry at work are rocking these silicone versions.
- Candles and aromatics. The nurses behind the Glamour article recommend the Capri Blue Volcano Candle and Diptyque Jasmin Candle.
- Coffee. A fast coffee machine can make all the difference for any friends who might struggle with morning shifts.
- Podcast or audiobook subscriptions. If you know someone who likes to listen to podcasts or books while working, a subscription to Stitcher, Spotify, Audible or related app will be a nice surprise.
- A Fitbit. Help your friends turn their work steps into fitness goals.
And don’t forget the gift of a great new career opportunity! If you’re a nurse, clinician or other healthcare worker who’s seeking a new job in the new year — or you know someone else who is — you can check out our full list of job opportunities here. You can also submit a quick application here. Good luck, and happy holidays!