When you’re on rotations, there are many things you can do to help as a medical student, despite not having the training or skills necessary to perform the procedures that residents and attendings do. Specifically, on rounds, there are certain things you can do (namely, filling your scrub pockets) to be prepared and to hopefully impress your superior. The inpatient setting can be stressful because you are seeing so many patients at once, and there are many tasks to be completed to optimize their care.
As a student on rounds, here are some of the items I found essential to keep in my scrub pockets to help out the attending/residents:
- Tape – Having tape on hand to rapidly remove a patient’s wound dressing is always going to be helpful, because you will be changing numerous dressings each day.
- Gauze – See above. Necessary for changing wound dressing.
- Steri strips – Useful for packing incisions and you won’t have to dig around the nursing bandage kits to look for them.
- Paper – Folded up into quadrants if you need to fit it in your pocket. Great for jotting down notes as the resident is speaking out loud the assessment and plan for a patient, so that later you can remind them and be of use to them when they are writing their fifty progress notes.
- Pen – Save your resident the time of looking around for a pen (if they forgot to bring one or lost theirs); they will appreciate it when they have so many things to do.
- Evaluation papers – We need to get items checked off as requirements for the surgery rotation, I find it essential to keep these checklists and evaluation forms on me at all times – you never know when you’ll be able to catch your attending at a free moment again.
- Granola bars/snacks – Keep these in your scrub pockets for those 10+ hour surgeries when you get called into one emergently. You can sneak out and “use the bathroom,” and scarf down a snack before returning to stand for hours.