Hey everyone! Thought I’d do a quick post about what I carried on a daily basis when I was on my surgery rotation. It’s much more than I’ve carried on prior rotations, mostly because of notes and things I liked to keep handy for my residents. Hope you find it helpful!
In an attempt to keep things semi-organized, I tried to divvy them by pockets.
Top left pocket:
– Maxwell notebook, a must-have for all third year students.
– Note cards. These came in handy because I could easily stick them in my scrub pockets when I was getting ready to go into a case (no white coats allowed in the sterile areas). They usually contained information about the cases I’d be scrubbing into or information relevant to the service I was on. For example, I would have a list of immunosuppressants when I was on the transplant service so that I could quickly review them in between cases.
– Pens. I always had an extra pen or two for my residents/attendings, just in case they forgot to return them. I’m very picky about the pens I like, especially when it came to annotating my First Aid and Pathoma, so stay tuned for a blog post about those!
– Phone. I tried not to have this out all the time because it doesn’t look great to be on it when you’re with a patient or a resident. Especially for the site I was at, there was always something that could be done so I was very cautious about my phone usage and did my best to keep it in my pocket. For studying purposes, I relied mostly on my iPad and Pestana.
– Mints from Starbucks. I randomly picked these up one day when I was grabbing coffee and have stuck with them ever since. They fit perfectly in my front pocket and are surprisingly strong!
– Vaseline lip balm. Sooooo necessary, because I get the worst chapped lips in winter.
Bottom left pocket:
– Stethoscope. I didn’t really use this that much during my rotation, aside from a few times when I was on call and evaluating a patient in the ED.
– Gauze, sterile scissors, cotton swabs, and tape. These supplies came in handy all the time! From morning report and changing dressings, to helping residents do an incision and drainage for a consult, there’s always a need for gauze and tape. I was able to always get refills because the nurses were nice enough to give me the code for storage. Speaking of, the nurses can really make a difference in your experience. More on that in a comprehensive surgery clerkship post that I’m working on, but the bottom line is that you should always be polite and respectful to all members of the team and not just the resident and attending you’re with. You never know whose help you may need and there’s been countless instances where the nurse was the one who saved me.
Bottom right pocket:
– List of patients that were on the service. Another item that I would keep on me when I took my white coat off. I tried to take ownership of a few patients and really stay on top of how they were doing and what the next steps were.
– Mini notebook from Muji. This was handy to have because it also fit in scrub pockets. I used it to keep track of interesting patient cases to read about, jot down notes about something a resident just taught me, and list topics I needed to review.
– Pestana Surgery Review book. I alternated between having my iPad and this book on me, but ultimately Pestana won. Especially towards the end of the rotation when I felt pressed for time, having this book was great to just do a few questions when I had some down time.
– Granola bars. My friends told me to be prepared with granola bars in my white coat and I didn’t listen, thinking that it couldn’t be that bad. Needless to say, I was starving my first week and stocked up as soon as I could. These Kashi bars were surprisingly filling – I recommend the chocolate almond!
Luckily we spent a lot of time in the OR so I didn’t have to wear this overstuffed white coat all day long. It’s funny because you can easily differentiate the 1st and 2nd years from the third years – their white coats are still crisp and a nice shade of white whereas ours have definitely yellowed and earned some suspicious stains…
Now that I’m done with surgery I’m hoping to post more regularly (although I feel like I say that at the end of every rotation?). Definitely lots of things in the works, so please subscribe so you don’t miss a post! As always, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.