To a clinician, the lab coat is generally more than a mere uniform or a symbol of status.
It’s a savior (from slightly-too-short-short-in-the-back shirts), a necessary layer of warmth (I’m always freezing), and…
a place to stash everything we might possibly need for the course of a working day.
Yesterday, I accidentally left my pockets at home after washing my lab coat.
I won’t be repeating that mistake.
As it was, I had to run home to grab my lab coat pockets’ contents. I just couldn’t do my job without them.
What do I keep in my pockets that’s so essential for my work?
- My name tag, telling residents and coworkers who I am and why (or why not) to talk to me.
- Black pens for signing charted documents
- Mechanical pencils for taking down notes FROM charts
- A highlighter to highlight who I need to see that day or when a certain piece of government paperwork is due
- A sharpie to mark out confidential information I’ve recorded in my planner or to write notes for the kitchen staff
- A paperclip, or several, for corralling paperwork
- My calculator, one of the most important tools of my job, useful for calculating how much energy or protein someone is actually taking in or what their approximate needs might be or whether the weight loss they just experienced was significant or not
- Chapstick to lubricate dry lips before talking to residents. (If I’m well hydrated and my lips are moist, residents can hear me better.)
- A hairnet to cover my hair for a quick trip into the kitchen.
That’s what I keep in my pockets. So tell me, what tools are essential for you to do your job? What do you keep in your pockets (or purse or diaper bag or whatever)?