My commute to work involves carrying a lot of crap with me. When I started out I was using a shoulder / weekender type bag, but carrying all this gear started to really do my shoulder and back in (not great when you’re back aches anyway from doing 13hour shifts). But I feared not as there are a number cute backpacks out there now and ones that don’t look as though I’m going on an epic expedition across the Antarctic and don’t cost a small fortune!
I could leave a few bits at work in my locker, although my locker is the size of a letterbox (no, really, it is) so I don’t really have an option there!
So, what is it that I actually need to carry to and from work on a daily basis?
All the stuff below is just my ‘nursing bits’ – I haven’t even included my oyster card, purse, phone, iPod or reading book in here, you know, the life essentials. Oh and my tea flask. Would never leave home without that badboy.
Uniform – Due to Infection Control reasons, we are not allowed to wear our uniform outside work before or after shift (and to be honest I wouldn’t want to anyway, ergh)
ID Badge (please excuse the mugshot) – Has to be worn at all times whilst at work and for security reasons cannot be left at work either, should i get called in to a Major Incident when they will only let people with ID in the site (fail whale!)
Notebook – To write vital signs, weights, phone numbers – anything you name it. Which then gets ripped out and put in confidential waste at the end of each shift. It saves using countless numbers of scrap paper which you then inevitably lose at some point throughout shift and wondering where on earth that parent’s phone number went!
Calculator – For drug calculations – checking not only how much to give but making sure the dose prescribed is actually right for the child’s age and/or weight.
Pens – This will vary, I will usually start with three and end up with either none or ten, none of which are the same ones from when i started. Its a serious problem amongst nurses and doctors!
Pen Torch – For checking pupil size (and having a gander in a child’s mouth when they’re being reluctant to open it wide for you!)
Fob Watch – Due to infection control, nurses and doctors should be bare below the elbows at all times during work and this includes no watches. So a fob watch is a handy way of monitoring vital signs over a minute, whilst still being able to keep your hands free (and of course checking the time to see how many hours you’ve yet to go…)
Scissors – Have many many uses. For cutting through clothes, bandages, dressing packs, opening boxes.
Tape – Same applies and come in many forms. I usually have a roll of something kicking around in my bag, this week it’s Elastoplast!
Bubbles – This is definitely an essential piece of kit when it comes to nursing children. Many, if not most, under 5’s are not compliant in investigations such as vital signs, examinations and dressing changes and it’s amazing something so simple can make the task so much easier with a bit of distraction! We do have play specialists employed to help distract children, but when they’re not available its us nurses with bubbles to the rescue!
Emergency Nursing Handbook – A handy guide for when things come up at work that either I or another member of staff haven’t seen or come across before or what things to consider and what plan of care to take with certain conditions, illnesses or injuries.
Vaseline / Handcream – Vaseline or some sort of lip balm for when i haven’t drunk barely a cup of water all shift (2 litres a day, yeah right!) and the hand cream for after washing my hands around 8-10 times an hour!
Cereal Bar – For my morning breakfast or evening snack break, if I manage one that is!
And not forgetting of course all the everyday essentials too…
iPod / Book
Oh, and nearly forgot… food!
Now you see why nurses have such bad backs! Well, not just to what we carry, a lot of it’s down to poor manual handling… but lets not go into that right now shall we?
Till next time!