September 30, 2005, 8:49 pm

What’s In YOUR Pocket?

Ladies, do you love your undies? Is your bra healthy for your budget?
Are you glad you can stop ironing your unmentionables? I have no doubt that this ad would engender massive amounts of protest if attempted today. Of course, the bra would be an underwire push-up, the bottom would be a thong and the model would be Shakira in a nurse’s cap with a navy blue cape. Of course, they can’t be sexist so there would be a companion ad with Justin Timberlake extolling the virtues of STAT-n’-Strap, the jock strap made for the guy who’s MAN enough to wear the title, NURSE!

Ahem….Aside from underwear, there is more to dressing for work than just putting on the uniform. What about all the adjuncts you need to be at your peak efficiency? The tools of the trade? The building blocks of patient care? Let us discuss these various items.

  • Your ID – you know, the plastic badge with your name on it in big, bold letters. Taping a photo of Catherine Zeta Jones over your photo is not allowed. I tried. It is common knowledge that ID cameras add fifty pounds. They do so!
  • Your stethoscope – You will occasionally be seen to grope at your chest, wondering where it is. You get so used to wearing this that one day you forget to take it off at work and will wear it into the grocery store. You listen to your coughing child’s breath sounds and go to basketball/soccer/volleyball/football practice with it dangling from your neck. You will do this. At least twice.
  • In your right pocket:
    • Scissors. Not those dainty little silver “bandage scissors” that fit so neatly into the little pocket organizer you will never use and couldn’t cut the tip of a Barbie glove. Puh-lease! I’m talkin’ big ol’ trauma shears that will cut through leather. These go in your right pocket with…
    • A tiny calculator. For when the doctor orders 1/748th of the dose you have on hand.
    • Tape. Also in your right pocket. With a tiny fold made on the end so you don’t have to pick at it, especially since they said you can’t wear acrylic nails anymore and you are a chronic nail biter and can’t get the tape to unroll naturally and it’s such a pain and…but I digress.
    • Notepad. Also known as a paper towel, upon which you have written the last set of vitals for the patient in 8A, the results of the urine dip in room 10 and the repeat pain measurement of the patient in 8B who was discharged 30 minutes ago but you haven’t had time to chart it yet.
    • Three quarters, a dime and two pennies that you got as change for your coffee on your way in to work.
    • Two Hershey’s kisses from the candy dish at the nurses’ station, still wrapped but smooshy.
  • In your left pocket:
    • Your precious pens!
      • Your wonderfully smooth writing, gel-based, royal blue Uniball writing utensils, so associated with you that, if found, they are put in your box.
      • A red pen to mark orders you have completed on the doctor’s order sheet.
      • A black Sharpie. Because no nurse should ever be caught without a Sharpie. Their uses are too numerous to list here. Let’s just say that the one time you don’t have it, you will need it.
    • Little plastic thingys that have your hospital’s code system, fire system and Mission Statement written on them for easy reference. They are supposed to be on your nametag but they always fall off.
    • One Hershey’s Kiss. Wrapped and smooshy.
    • Your Palm Pilot. Until it drops out the second time and you go put it back in your purse.
  • On your shoes – shoe covers! Goodness only knows what you’re walking around on in an Emergency department. Blech!

That just about completes the outfitting of the typical ER nurse. I didn’t mention breast pockets because they are useless; bend over and everything falls out. Of the pocket. You could spread out the items by wearing cargo pants but who wants to wear those? Some of us don’t need any additional bulk at the thigh area. Same for those little pouches that you wear around your waist. They’re great!

If you have a body like Shakira…….

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7 Comments

  • unicorn
    unicorn

    September 30, 2005 at 10:39 pm

    Hey Kim,

    thx for your comments!
    Unbelievable but true, I wrote a new post about my nursing exam and hope to have answered your question a bit.

    *gg* in your post you described my nursing uniform 1:1 except for the Hershey’s kisses… but I have old, dirty chewing gum to show for instead. Still wrappen but with crumbs on it *yummy*

    best wishes
    unicorn


  • Alicia
    Alicia

    October 1, 2005 at 10:43 am

    Hi Kim –

    I just wanted to stop by and thank you for contributing to Shakespeare’s Sister. I, too, am at the other end of the political spectrum from you, and I think that the only way out of this mess we’re in is for people of differing viewpoints to reach out to each other in spite of the differences of our worldview. People of good will have more in common than not. Thanks!


  • About the same time you posted this, coincidentally I was posting about my required costume, ur…uniform. This post cheered me. :)

    Hh


  • Kim
    Kim

    October 1, 2005 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Alicia. I was glad I was able to pitch in for Sis!

    Hannah, I am on my way to your site now!

    Unicorn! I loved your post! It sounds a lot harder to pass the German nursing tests!


  • Heather
    Heather

    October 1, 2005 at 8:42 pm

    I haven’t worked on the floor in a while, but you described what I used to carry in my pockets perfectly!


  • Susan
    Susan

    October 3, 2005 at 1:50 pm

    I totally agree with your pocket assembly, with the following revisions:

    right pocket: add a penlight and carpuject. Subtract calculator and notepad.

    left pocket: subtract the palm pilot. Used it in Chicago, but not in KC.

    Also, it’s nice to see that there is another left-handed ER nurse around! Love your blog!


  • very cheap
    very cheap

    January 27, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    You are doing a wonderful thing here on the Internet. I wish you the very best. Kindest regards.


About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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