Inspiration, Aid, or Just a Laugh: 26 Best Gifts for Medical Students

Not that long ago, I had to think about what the best gifts for medical students are. Some of my friends are in med school while others are doing their residencies as young doctors. Yeah, I know, I picked a group of overachievers to befriend.

Anyway, they are all extremely dedicated to their studies and their jobs. They don’t really have a lot of free time to do anything, let alone shop for themselves. So, for years, I bought them practical gifts for holidays and birthdays. I’d usually ask what they needed and then just bought them that. Perfect, right?

Well, not really, because if there’s anything in this world I love, it’s thoughtful gifts. Sure, some might say that buying practical presents is thoughtful, but I also like the “surprise” element.

Hence my deep-dive into the topic of best gifts for medical students. I wanted to see if there were any items out there that would make ideal presents for those in the medical field. I aimed to find both gag gifts and practical ones.

If you already bought your friends Grey’s Anatomy (both the textbook and the show DVDs) and you’re out of ideas, take a look at my fantastic list of the best gifts for medical students.

Coffee-Related Gifts

Let’s be honest here — most medical students are 50% coffee, 40% determination, and 10% exhaustion. So, they’ll find a coffee-related gift not only funny but also convenient.

Now, if you’re a struggling student yourself, some of these gifts might be a perfect fit for you. Most of them are low-budget, and you can even make some of them yourself.

#1. (A Good) Coffee Machine

Alright, while this might not be precisely “low budget,” it’s still a great gift. What’s more, if you’re in a pinch, you can split the cost with some friends.

Gifting a good coffee machine to a medical student is like taking their hand and guiding them to the fountain of youth. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but to say they’ll be grateful is an understatement.

Coffee makers are one of the best gifts for medical students because most students can’t really afford such luxuries. What’s more, this gift is something they’ll use every day (and probably sing praises to you for being such a thoughtful friend).

#2. A Medical Coffee Mug

Now, if you’re looking for a small gift that’s more of a token of appreciation, then a medical mug might be the right choice. Mugs shaped like prescription pill bottles will surely get a laugh or two.

If you don’t think your friend would appreciate that, then any of the numerous mugs with funny inscriptions might be a better choice. “Don’t mistake your Google search results for my medical degree” can be an encouraging gift for your friend that’s one step away from graduating, for example.

#3. Coffee Gift Baskets

If you’re looking for the best gifts for medical students that you can make yourself, kits and gift baskets are a sure thing. Those med students who are addicted to coffee will certainly appreciate a gift basket with samples of various coffee brands and types.

Depending on the level of your friend’s addiction and their coffee preference, you can either make the basket yourself by prowling their favorite coffee shops, or you can buy one ready-made.

#4. A Self-Heating Mug

I know self-heating mugs don’t really scream best gifts for medical students, but hear me out. Med students study a lot. They often find themselves losing time because their revisions last so long.

Therefore, it’s only logical that every med student has done the following at least once — made coffee, brought it to the table, put it next to the textbook, and then promptly forgot about it. Then, a few hours later, when the desperately decaffeinated med student would turn to their mug with joy, they’d find the coffee to be lukewarm at best (or, more often than not, ice-cold).

Well, those lucky few med students who are your friends won’t have to endure that type of torture anymore. The self-heating mug will keep all liquids in it at optimal temperatures.

DIY Gifts

DIY gifts are amazing because they:

• show you really care enough to put actual effort into the gift
• are budget-friendly

I love DIY gifts and always tend to make something special for my friends, so I recommend going this route. But, if you don’t have the time (or the energy) to make something, there are DIY-lookalikes out there available.

#5. Hangover Kits

Just like any other group of students, med students love to party. Granted, they usually don’t have that much time to actually do it. Still, that doesn’t stop them.

What’s more, unlike other students, med students actually have to be fully functional the next day, given that they are training and learning to be responsible for human lives. Thus, the hangover kits.

People usually use them as bachelor and bachelorette party gifts, but they also make the best gifts for medical students.

#6. First Aid Kits

Getting a med student a first aid kit might seem like a silly idea. However, med students are usually so preoccupied with learning how to take care of others that they often forget to take care of themselves.

So, a first aid kit might actually be an extremely thoughtful gift. You can get a ready-made one or make your own and personalize it.

#7. Relax Kits

If there’s one thing every student needs to do, it’s relaxing. Pursuing higher education is not a walk in the park, and students often end up stressed and tense.

Now, you might not be able to afford to send your friend to a fancy spa and get them the day of relaxation they truly deserve. However, you can make or buy a relax kit that has everything your friend might need to make a spa in their own home.

Encourage your med student friends to pamper and take care of themselves.

Gag Gifts

Gag gifts are always amazing. It doesn’t matter if they are companion pieces to other, more meaningful gifts, or simply a stand-alone present — they’ll make everyone crack a smile!

#8. Human Organ Lunch Box

Can you imagine your med student friend going to their college cafeteria and whipping out a lunch box that says “human organ, for transplant” on it? Sounds hilarious, right?

A gag lunch box with a medical theme might hit that sweet spot between a funny present and a thoughtful one.

#9. Bone Pens

A bone-shaped pen might not seem like much, but it’s actually a great gift. It’s sturdy and easy to grip, and it will serve as a constant reminder to your friend that they need to study.

Now that might sound mean, but most med students will testify that any incentive to study is a godsend in their world.

#10. Syringe Highlighters

When I was a student, I color-coded my notes. My textbooks always looked similar to a unicorn Inhabitat, given that they had every color of the rainbow in them. I just love highlighting things!

Syringe highlighters might be one of the best gifts for medical students out there. That’s especially true if your friend shares my affliction and loves to use ten different highlighters when they study.

#11. Laboratory Shot Glasses

Shot glasses shaped like laboratory beakers or test tubes will make your med student friend’s day! Trust me when I say that there are no bigger science geeks out there than med students.

They love anything science-related, and, since they spend a lot of their time in various labs, this gag gift might make them smile (or even laugh out loud). Either way, you’ll end up testing the shot glasses, and if that’s not a win-win situation, I don’t know what is.

#12. Brain Specimen Coasters

Anatomically-correct brain specimen coasters are a fantastic gift. What’s more, although I classified them as a gag gift, they actually aren’t one. Sure, they’ll get a chuckle or two out of your friend, but, given that they look amazing and are highly practical, these coasters are a thoughtful gift.

Sure, the brain slices aren’t as perfect as some nit-picking people would like them to be (that’s mainly me). You can’t really see all the gyruses and sulci or the minute details of the real brain. But, hey, we’re talking about coasters here, we can’t really expect perfection, right?

#13. Anatomy Models

Getting a miniature anatomy model for your med student friend is both a gag gift and a helping hand. If you get the right models that are detailed and well-made, you’ll be gifting your friend with an amazing study-aid.

The best feature of this gag gift is that it’s versatile. You can get a model of one or a few organs or get a full-body miniature anatomy model. The choice is yours, but, either way, your friend will love it.

Useful Gifts

I know I said that I’m no longer interested in getting my friends “what they really need.” However, that doesn’t mean I’m not partial to a practical gift.

I love to give people something that they need and will actually use, but medical students aren’t like the rest of us regular folk. They have some particular needs. Here are some gifts that just might satisfy them.

#14. Clipboard

If you’re a med student or a medical professional, you already know that not just any old clipboard will do. If you aren’t, well, now you know. Getting a clipboard that’s tailored to a med student’s needs will surely be appreciated.

These clipboards are small enough to fit in the pockets of all scrubs and lab coats, and they are HIPPA-compliant.

#15. Suture Kits

Now, alright, not all med students study to become surgeons. This isn’t Grey’s Anatomy, and your friend probably isn’t aspiring to become the next Meredith Gray. However, that doesn’t mean that suture kits might not come in handy.

These kits hone not only the suturing skill but also dexterity and overall hand-eye coordination. Most suture kits have everything a med student might need for suture practice — needles, thread, holders, blades, and more.

#16. Dissection Kit

While some of us have nothing but horrible memories of those dreadful biology classes that required a dissection to take place, med students probably think of them fondly.

So, why not gift your friend a dissection kit and let them have a little trip down memory lane? You’ll probably remind them of the time they first fell in love with science and medicine.

And, if not, you’ll give them something that they actually need. Although they probably won’t use it in a DIY biology class situation, they’ll surely find some use for it.

#17. Practical Footwear

Everyone and their mother knows that medical professionals spend their entire days on their feet. That’s not only straining but also quite painful, especially if they don’t have the appropriate footwear.

When it comes to shoes, comfort, stability, and durability will always take precedence over fashion. At least that’s true for medical professionals.

Therefore, if you’re looking for the best gifts for medical students, sensible, comfortable, and practical footwear will always be the right choice.

If you’re too scared to make the purchase on your own, buy your friend a gift card for a store where you’d buy them the footwear. That way, they’ll be able to try the shoes on and find the best fit for themselves.

#18. Stethoscope

Getting a med student a stethoscope might sound like a cliche. However, when a med student (or an aspiring one) gets their first stethoscope, they’re often emotional.

It’s like a rite of passage, and, if you’re lucky enough to be able to buy someone’s first stethoscope, you can rest easy knowing that they’ll cherish your gift for the rest of their lives.

You can do no wrong with a stethoscope, but make sure to check if your friend actually needs one first. Maybe their family members or parents plan to buy them a special one (perhaps with their name engraved into it). And, if they aren’t, well, then you’re free to snatch that idea right up!

Decorative Gifts

Some of the best gifts for medical students are the ones that are tied to their main passion but aren’t directly related to it. I’m talking about decorative gifts, of course.

#19. Wall Art

Med students are usually struggling to cover tuition and make ends meet (just like all other students). Therefore, it’s probably safe to say that they don’t have a lot of space in their budget for decorations.

That’s where you come in! You can buy them a gift that highlights their passion (medicine) while also adding a touch of flair and elegance to their home. Anatomy-related wall art, especially the one that looks as if it came out of a 19th-century doctor’s journal, will surely knock them off their feet.

#20. Laptop Stickers

If you aren’t bold enough to take responsibility for your friend’s apartment’s interior design, then think smaller. Anatomy and medicine-related laptop stickers make for great gifts.

They are an ideal way to personalize a laptop. Not to mention, there are some really funny and clever stickers out there. You don’t have to stick to the traditional “brain and spine” stickers. Go wild! Buy your friend something they’ve never seen before (like a fully-colorized, anatomically-correct heart sticker).

#21. Medical Student Wall Clock

Med students operate on tight schedules. They have no time to waste, which is why they’re always checking for it. So why not make it easier on them? Get them a funny med student wall clock!

#22. Pins and Jewelry

Most medical students who love jewelry probably already have a few medicine-related pieces. Perhaps they have a DNA strain necklace or a molecule pendant. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get them a companion piece.

If you don’t think jewelry is your best bet, try looking for medicine-related pins. They are usually colorful, cleverly designed, and have a funny slogan on them.

Books and Other Gifts

If you still haven’t found the best of the best gifts for medical students, you can always turn to a sure thing — books. Now, I’m not talking about textbooks, although I’m sure your friends wouldn’t mind you covering the expense of a textbook or two.

No, I’m talking about books that bring light to the experience of being a medical student (or a doctor). I’m sure everyone who’s even remotely interested in medicine will appreciate such a gift.

#23. “A Sneak Peek: Med School Uncensored: The Insider’s Guide to Surviving Admissions, Exams, Residency, and Sleepless Nights in the Call Room

This book has an extremely long title, but your friend (and anyone else) will read it in one sitting. It shows both the good and the bad of being a med student and a doctor.

Some people call this book a reality check and, if you think your friend is wearing rose-colored glasses, then this might be the perfect gift for them. If not, it will still be an interesting read.

#24. “Kill as Few Patients as Possible

Another literary classic in the medical community, Kill as Few Patients as Possible is a humorous deep-dive into what it means to be a doctor. More importantly, it also brushes on what it means to be a good doctor. Therefore, a must-read for everyone who even thinks they’ll practice medicine.

#25. “The Year They Tried to Kill Me

A lot of people go into med school aspiring to become surgeons. If you know someone with similar hopes and dreams, then you simply have to buy them this book that’s a tell-all of surgical residencies.

#26. “The Soul of a Doctor

One of the best gifts for medical students is this book, written by other students and interns. There’s something particularly compelling about a story that you can relate to, and there’s nothing med students can relate to more than to the “horror” stories of their peers.

A Few Parting Words

Getting your hands on the best gifts for medical students isn’t really that hard. Now that I gave you a few awesome ideas, I’m sure your head is swimming with at least a dozen more. No matter what you choose, I hope your friend likes and appreciates it!