A smartwatch is essential for nurses in 2021 — in addition to providing a reliable second hand for taking a patient’s pulse, they come with features that make every shift easier. Set medication reminders and make voice notes for more efficient charting. Don’t worry about getting them wet when you wash your hands for the 10th time; the best smartwatches for nurses are waterproof and easy to sanitize.
Many healthcare facilities don’t allow nurses to carry their phones on the floor — since most smartwatches allow you to see incoming calls, texts, and emails, you can stay connected, even during a 12-hour shift. (A lifesaver, especially if you have kids.)
Whether you’re going for simple and elegant or sporty and packed with fitness features, these are the best smart watches for nurses and nursing students. Some links in this post are affiliate links; learn what that means here.
Apple Watch: Best Smartwatch for Nurses with iPhones
If you have an iPhone, the Apple Watch is a natural fit. It connects effortlessly to all of your Apple devices (including tablets and laptops) so it’s a breeze to get your email, texts, calls, and photos. For 2021, the best Apple smartwatch for nurses is the Series 6. The always-on Retina display is always illuminated, so you don’t need to raise your wrist to wake it. Just choose the watch face with the second hand, and it’s ready to go when you need to check a pulse or note the time when you’re charting. You can customize the face by adding activity loops, weather conditions, and more.
Have you ever needed to make a call or respond to a text at work? Don’t run back to the nurses’ station to get your phone — you can do it right from the watch. The newest Apple Watch also keeps track of your health using the onboard pulse ox and ECG app. If you work nights, or if your nursing shift changes from week to week, the Sleep app can help you manage sleep schedules. If you need to respond to a text at work,
Looking for a more affordable option? Check out the Apple Watch SE.
Reasons the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch for nurses:
- Always-on display with second-hand option makes it easy to check patients’ pulse
- Durable, easy-to-clean bands
- Tracks your fitness and heart health
- Text and call from the watch
Garmin Forerunner 745: Sporty and Professional
Do you like to run, bike, or hit the gym on your off days? The Garmin Forerunner 745 has the perfect balance of features for nurses and athletes. At work, choose the second-hand display. When you’re ready to workout, the watch tracks a huge number of factors: sport-specific workouts, training effect, VO2 max, cycling power, running dynamics, training load, and more. During a stressful week of work and training, it can even help you figure out the optimal recovery time.
The Forerunner 745 really stands out when it comes to design — it’s smooth and sleek, so it looks professional with your scrubs. At the same time, the durable material is a breeze to clean. Plus, it’s waterproof, so you can wear it in the pool and while washing your hands at work.
Benefits of the Forerunner 745 for nurses:
- Sporty and stylish
- Durable, waterproof materials
- Second-hand display
- Numerous athletic features
- Backlit for night shift
Garmin Lily: Best Small, Stylish Smartwatch
If you prefer a smaller, more delicate smartwatch, the Garmin Lily is a great choice — with its slim band and compact round face, it offers the style of a traditional watch and the functionality of a smartwatch. (Just be prepared to overlook the slightly grating, female-focused branding.) For nurses who don’t like the athletic vibe of most smartwatches, the Lily is a more fashionable option.
When you’re on the floor, set the watch face to the analog setting; it has a second hand, so it’s easy to check a patient’s pulse without tapping the face. Like most smartwatches, the Lily tracks steps, calories. It even has a pulse ox sensor and a hydration tracker to help you stay healthier during each shift.
Pros for nurses:
- Elegant and stylish
- Optional analog face with second hand
- Smaller size for comfort on small wrists
- Packed with tech features
- Connects to your phone
Fitbit Sense: Best Nursing Smartwatch for Step Tracking
The Fitbit Sense has a reputation as a fitness watch, but it’s also one of the top smartwatches for nurses. The square watch face works well for both women and men, and the sleek metal band around the rim adds a sleek twist. Choose from a variety of bands; the silicone and knit fabric options are particularly comfortable when you’re working a long nursing shift.
The Snese has all of the features you expect in a smartwatch: step trackers, workout trackers, sleep monitors, and phone connections. Customize the watch with hundreds of clock faces — you can even change the colors to complement your scrubs. If you use the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, you can connect them to your watch for easy voice control.
Benefits for nurses:
- Up to 6 days of battery life on one charge
- Voice control to set alarms and reminders for medications and other nursing tasks
- Stress-management features for busy nurses
Fossil Gen 5E: Best Affordable Nursing Smartwatch
With its classic band and round case, the Fossil Gen 5E might be mistaken for a traditional watch — an ideal feature if you’re looking for both style and functionality. Choose from leather, stainless steel, and silicone bands to match your vibe; they’re interchangeable, so you can use the easy-clean silicone option for work and the elegant leather band for the weekend.
This Fossil smartwatch is ideal for nurses with Android phones, but you can also use it with an iPhone by downloading the compatible app. It runs on Wear OS, Google’s smartwatch operating system. The affordable price tag comes with plenty of options: a heart-rate sensor, Bluetooth, an extended-wear battery setting, and built-in speakers.
Benefits for nurses and nursing students:
- Low price
- Easy phone connection with a free app and Bluetooth
- Elegant style
- Multiple band options
We’re curious — do you wear a smartwatch on the floor? What are your picks for the best smartwatches for nurses?