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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Medical Clerk's Battle Gear

I was once a medical clerk 5 years ago, and this friday, a new batch of medical clerks or should I call Junior Interns will be rotating in the hospital.

First of all, welcome to the new junior intern, if you're a junior intern reading this post.  You feel so excited that after 3 years of reading and studying in medical school, you can now apply all the theoretical information in medical school.  Everybody will look up to you, since you're a senior when you were in 3rd year, and all the medical students will look up to you now that you are a junior intern.

To start off, I'll be putting up a disclaimer.  The tips that you will find in this post are all my personal opinions that you may need in your clerkship.  You would likely benefit from this post if you're a Thomasian, since I had my clerkship/Junior Internship in UST.

Let's start of with your battle gear:

  1. Have a decent stethoscope 
This is one of the fundamentals of being a junior intern, so INVEST on it, meaning, buy a quality grade stethoscope.  Of course having the brand of stethoscope depends on your personality.  If you're the type of person who loses a lot of things frequently then I would recommend you get NOT a Littman stethoscope.

If you're the type who takes time before you'll lose something or you never loses things, then I recommend you get a standard Classic Littmann Stethoscope. 
Personalise your stethoscope, there's a man who goes around hospitals who can engrave your name into your stethoscope and that's great since most of you will have the same color etc.  You can also place any accessory into your stethoscope so you will not lose it.

2. Sphygmomanometer 
A great part of your junior internship life will be on measuring blood pressure (BP) of your patients. Buy something you can carry around with you.  You can buy the usual sphygmomanometers in Bambang.  No need to buy the expensive one.  Have it calibrated in Bambang when you buy one.

3. Pulse Oximeter
When we were junior interns before, we were required to just have 1 in a duty group, but I think this is one of the basics at present. You can buy in Bambang, if you can't go to Bambang, you can order at MD Gadgets

4. Thermometer
There are different types of thermometer, there's the axillary thermometer, which is the cheapest, and which I recommend as well.  They come in different kinds, choose the 1 minute thermometer since you need to work fast in monitoring all your patients.

There's also the infrared ear thermometer which is more expensive.  I don't recommend using the infrared ear thermometer unless you're the type of person who never lose anything.  In the hospital, when there's a "code blue", then you have to drop whatever you're doing and go respond to a patient and do chest compressions (CPR) to a patient. You can forget your things and you might lose them.

5. Med Bag
This is where you will put all your equipments, you can either have a waist bag or a shoulder bag.  It's very popular in Bambang to have the black OB bag, but in my experience, I only used it during the first day and during revalida.  That's the bag where I put all of my medical supplies.  The first three are the very basic things, you'll be needing them in ALL rotations. Choosing the right bag depends on your personality/preference.  I first started using the waist bag, the Le Sport Sac replica, because I find it lightweight and many things I can put in that bag, but over time the waist gave some sort of strain to my lower bag due to the heavy weight.  So eventually I switched to a shoulder bag, at around last 3-4 rotations.  

6. Special Equipments
Here are some of the supplies you'll need in certain rotations.  Meaning, it's ideal to have them all, but if you could borrow, I think it's cheaper that way.

You should have a sterile tongue depressor in your med bag, just in case you have a patient that you'll have to check their mouth.  Have tuning fork at hand. It's recommended that you have Diagnostic Set within your reach, to check for the ears and nose.  I recommend the Welch Allyn Diagnostic Set since it's more durable than the other brands, although pricier than the other brands.  I would recommend you borrow this diagnostic set, if you're not planning on going to ENT, Paediatrics specialty.

This is one of the major rotations, you should have a mini notebook with you to list down the things that you have to do and to write notes on the lectures of your consultants and residents.  Have a reflex hammer &  penlight at hand, just in case you need it.

This is also one of the major rotations, and you'll be needing a lot of special supplies here since your patients are children.  Have a paediatric BP cuff, penlight at hand.  Bring lots of bling-bling and put it in your stethoscope, so that children can play with them while you examine the patient.  Have some candies in your pockets as well to give to the children.  If you're at the pedia OPD, have mask always, those kids are highly contagious!

Have clean gloves always at hand, because you'll never know when will be the next time that you have to hold a wound or any trauma patient.  Have a penlight at hand to check for the pupillary reflex and GCS of your neurosurgery patients.

It's important you have a good quality stethoscope so you can listen to fetal heart sounds.

This is one toxic rotation, since your patients are toxic as well.  Bring your tuning fork, reflex hammer, mini snellen's chart, penlight, coffee granules, cigarette stick, vinegar (to check for the senses).

Mini snellen chart, penlight

This are the things I could think of as of now, just comment down below if I forget anything or any rotation I failed to mention.

Enjoy your clerkship/junior internship!

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