Halloween Nurse

By Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editor-in-chief

by indigoprime/via Flickr

When I was a little girl about six or seven years old, I decided that I would dress up as a nurse one Halloween.

My mother bought me a play nurse’s kit.  It was a pink plastic “little nurse bag” containing a white nurse’s cap, a stethoscope, a tongue depressor, blue-framed plastic glasses that perched on your nose, a plastic thermometer with the “mercury line” painted to 101 degrees, a plastic hypodermic syringe, a small notepad and pencil, cotton balls, and Band-Aids.  (For your information, the “junior doctor kit” contained pretty much the same things, except it was black plastic, had a yellow and orange plastic otoscope, and a headband with a reflector disc. My brother received one of those.)

I wore a white blouse and tan skirt (my mother drew the line at buying clothes for one day) and used a safety-pin to clip a blue towel around my neck as a cape. I wore the nurse’s cap and glasses. My brother dressed in his Catholic school uniform (white shirt and navy blue pants and red tie) and wore his stethoscope around his neck and his little blue glasses perched on his nose.

We were quite the medical team. I wonder how many nursing or medical career seeds were planted with those play kits.

by rosmary/via Flickr

With Halloween this weekend, many schools celebrated throughout the week, and I saw a few princesses and superheroes and at least five Buzz Lightyears around the neighborhood, but no nurses.

Do children dress up as nurses or physicians nowadays?

I googled “play nurse kit” and a few sites came up. Target offers kid-size scrubs or a lame smock with stethoscope and other items sort of painted onto the pockets; everything else on the site relates to nursing as in breast-feeding. The only kits you can still find are a combined, unisex, one-size-fits-all sort of “nurse/doctor kit.”

So now I’m wondering—what would real nurses put in a play nurse’s kit now?

2016-11-21T13:15:07+00:00 October 29th, 2010|Nursing|8 Comments

Editor-in-chief, AJN


  1. Joyce O. Hislop October 31, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Retired for 3 years, but I have an emergency “kit”; a plastic zipped sandwich bag tucked in a pocket of my shoulder purse: rubber gloves, a tourniquet, gauze 4×4’s, Band-Aids, ASA 325 mg, Benadryl 25 mg, and dissolvable glucose.
    I’ve had to utilize it twice. Still a nurse!

  2. Pam October 30, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    My “nurse’s kit” consists of my stethoscope and manual bp cuff, a tympanic thermometer, pulse ox, extra scissors in case I “lose” mine, a flashlight/headlamp, a roll of quarters in a nylon sock in the front pocket (don’t judge me, I work nights), about 200 pens, and chapsticks, birthday and sympathy cards, a bag of candy for unit-wide 0300 chocolate therapy, ibuprofen, Bayer back and body, maxalt/imitrex (fluoro lights and migraines boo), cliff bars, altoids, and Vicks rub. And a book…not that I get a lot of time to read.
    I’m the coolest person ever to work with. That’s pretty much the consensus. Haha

  3. Barbara H. Portland OR October 30, 2010 at 10:45 am

    As for what I would put in a child’s nursing kit today: A working stethoscope, a diagram of where to listen to the heart and breathing. Looney Tunes band-aids and an over-sized nursing badge to put their name on their included scrubs.

  4. Barefootnurse October 30, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I love this and can relate as I know I dressed up as a nurse for Halloween as well as being the proud owner of a ‘nurse kit’ too. In answer to your question my daughter has been a nurse for Halloween about 4 years ago – she wore white and had a cap and stethescope! This year she also a nurse for a costume party but this time she is wearing scrubs!

  5. nursevanessa October 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I would add…Comfortable shoes =)

  6. Shawn October 29, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I should offer an answer to my own question. So here’s one thing I would add to the kit-a smart phone to access all those apps that provide info on adverse affects, dosages, etc.

  7. Debbie October 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Whenever I visited my nephews, I took one of those yellow disposable stethoscopes. After listening to breath, heart, and belly sounds, I left the stethoscope with them. Cool bandaids are a must 🙂

  8. JParadisiRN October 29, 2010 at 11:08 am

    A calculator and a granola bar.

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