I thought I would share with you some of the key things that I take every day with me to placement and that I couldn’t do without. I am not endorsing any particular brands – these are just specific products that I happen to have tried, or been bought, and like
1. Coffee Cup
You can spend a small fortune very quickly buying coffee everyday, not to mention the environmental impact of using take away cups. I bring my coffee cup with me every day. I’ve actually been trying to avoid becoming coffee dependent and discovered some nice flavoured green teas that I also take on days that I don’t feel knackered.Water Bottle
2. Water Bottle
Again, the enivromental impact of using plastic bottles of water is really not great and a proper bottle is so much nicer to use. I avoid ones with complicated tops that are hard to clear. Mine was super cheap from Tesco and is a rip off of the popular Chilli’s bottles, and I love it.
3. A Snack
Taking a small snack with me in my pocket on the wards has been a lesson I learnt the hard way. Clinics or theatre cases can go on a lot longer than anticipated and you are often a long way from your bag. I love the little Soreen loaf bars personally as a quick, high calories fix when I start to feel a little funny at 1.
4. An Eye Roll-On
This has been a recent discovery. I really struggle with tired eyes on early mornings. Sometimes I sit there in a team meeting with eyes stinging, using what feels like every muscle in my body just to keep them open. I have found that the cold metal and breeze on the serum helps to keep my eyes a bit more awake. Again this was the cheapest one at boots and I’ll be buying it again
5. Hand Cream
The sheer amount of handwashing that you will do on placement is enough to bully even the most hardy of hands. I don’t really think it matters which hand cream you have, just have some. If you’re on a theatre rotation and are scrubbing constantly you will be so grateful for it.
6. Body Spray
Placement can be a long, busy day. You will see and come into contact all sorts of bodily fluids and be scrubbing, wearing XRAY gowns in theatre so a nice body spray to freshen you up never goes amiss. I have a Ted Baker one that my mum got me for Christmas and its really nice.
7. Chewing Gum
The same reason as above. Plus sometimes you forget the effect of cream cheese and chive pop chips on your breath – your patients have been through enough already 😉
8. Lip Balm
The air conditioning in theatres is pretty brutal plus you will often find yourself a bit dehydrated so lip balm is your friend
9. A5 Folder
I saw a fellow student with one of these and followed suit. I can honestly say it has changed my placement life. My clinical partner saw mine and also now has one so there is a trend happening at Warwick. This folder has pockets in which I keep my lip balm and a spare pen and hair bobble (which I constantly forget and get saved by). It has dividers and note pages so I make notes as I go through the day and when I get a spare minute file them in the appropriate areas. It just means you arent loosing random bits of paper and that you can find things more easily than in normal notebooks. You can also neatly conceal your phone in there to make it more patient appropriate if you haven’t got pockets that day.
10. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine
This has little summaries of pretty much everything you will see on placement and is a lifeline if you get asked a question by a consultant that you just don’t have a clue about. I see a lot of my colleagues with this book also so I’m not alone
11. Medication Pouch
I keep a little felt pouch with paracetamol and ibuprofen, tampons etc. I also keeps spares of my daily medication for when I forget – often when I have a super early morning. It keeps it all together and you never have paracetamol when you need it otherwise
12. Headband (also a Scrunchy)
I personally like to take a nice headband with me. I have fairly frizzy hair and after a long day, no matter what style I do or how much hairspray I use I always get fly aways and feel a bit dishevelled. I not just put a headband on and look instantly more presentable and neat and I like the character it brings to my outfits too.
Right, that is everything for now. Obviously, I take my basics like a stethoscope, laptop etc as well. I hope this helps for those of you starting out at placements or just getting excited for going back to training and enjoying reading about it all.