After watching celebrity and influencer “what’s in my bag?” videos, I thought it would be fun to put my own twist on this trend. I often have students ask me what are some essential items that I like to keep in my whitecoat for rotations, so here I have come up with a list of my whitecoat essentials!
- An extra mask or two: Since the start of the pandemic, I always keep an extra 1-2 masks on me in my whitecoat. You never know when you might need a new one or if you just need a clean one. I like to keep a nice cloth and/or 1-2 disposable masks in one of my inside pockets.
- Hand sanitizer: Again, another essential since the start of the pandemic. Typically, in the hospital or clinic setting, there should be hand sanitizer for your use when entering and leaving the patient or clinic room. I have been in clinics where this was not always the case. You may be working in a more underserved area/clinic where there is only one hand sanitizer dispenser. In these cases, it is important to have your own sanitizer. I keep these in one of my outside pockets.
- Writing instruments: Gotta keep a few different pens on you in your coat at all times! In my front top pocket, I like to keep at least 1 black and 1 blue pen. I also like to keep an extra pen in one of my inside pockets. Why you ask? You will often have someone ask to borrow your pen and, in the chance it is not returned, you have a spare. Also, I have seen students keep multicolor pens for note writing purposes and highlighters. Depending on the rotation, I may also keep a highlighter in my top front pocket as well.
- Notepad: I like to keep a notepad that fits well into one of my outer pockets for note-writing purposes. I love notebooks that come with a little pen holder as well so you’re never fumbling to grab a pen.
- Pen light: You will be surprised at how often you will you use pen light to check for pupillary reflex. I see many students and residents use their phone light but having a pen light can really come in handy!
- Stethoscope: Use of the stethoscope will vary by rotation. If you’re on a surgical rotation, you likely will not need a stethoscope, but I like to keep mine either on me or in my backpack in the chance that I do need it.
- Your phone: Our cellphones are our lifelines. From communicating with your team to using MDCalc to calculate the free water deficit in your hypernatremic patient, you will find that you will use your phone for just about everything.
- Band-Aids: This is definitely more for my ladies! Those new, super cute shoes to go with your professional attire always end up giving blisters or breaking the skin. No one ever has band-aids and you’re inevitably thinking, “Come on this is a hospital!” In the chance of this happening, I always like to keep few on me.
- Snacks: I like to keep a snack (granola bar, protein bar, etc) in one of my inside pockets. Doing this has saved my growling stomach many times when I rush out the door and don’t eat breakfast, or when rounds run extra long and you’re craving something to eat!
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