If you’ve just been accepted into nursing school or recently graduated, congratulations to all your hard work getting to where you are today, the journey to finding out what you want to do in life isn’t easy. Now, get ready to deliver patient care.
Back in the day, it was common for doctors to travel from house-to-house carrying their famous little black bags diagnosing and treating patients at their bedside. Today, in-home health care isn’t just for doctors anymore.
In 2019, countless nurses and therapists found themselves making more and more house calls to render care to homebound patients. With this increased volume of care, clinicians should prepare themselves for whatever medical situation may present itself.
With all the heavy medical equipment on the market, lugging it around can make you exhausted at the end of the day.
So, it’s important to store only the essential items in your clinician bag to ensure each visit goes off without a hitch. So, what specific things should go into their clinician’s bag? There could be a large variety of stuff, but we’re going to breakdown what they should bring, at a minimum.
Developed by French physician Rene Laennec in 1816, the first stethoscope was made from a rolled-up paper tube that funneled the acoustic echoes from a patient’s chest into the doctor’s ear. 25 years later, George P. Camman created the first stethoscope with an earpiece.
Stethoscopes are used to auscultate the lungs and heart, as well as checking blood pressures.
Due to how precise this device is for checking the heart and lung sounds, it’s one of the essential items to have in your clinician bag.
The blood pressure cuff (BP cuff) is a device used to measure the strength of a patient’s heart using a millimetre of Mercury. When a BP cuff is wrapped around a patient’s arm, the clinician will pump air into the device while measuring it on the cuff’s dial.
Once the stethoscope’s diaphragm on the patient’s inner arm, the clinician can hear the heartbeat drift away as the cuff squeezes against the brachial artery. Once the clinician is unable to listen to the heartbeat, this is called the”systolic” measurement
When that occurs, the professional will record the number on the dial. From there, they’ll slowly allow the air to escape the cuff and listen once more for the heartbeat to return, and once again, drift away. That’s called “diastolic” measurement.
Testing a human heart from strength is crucial, so that’s why it’s in our clinician bag.
Since we live off of breathing oxygen, it’s essential to know how much we have in our blood while taking vital signs.
The pulse oximeter (pulse ox) measures the amount of 02 we carry on our red blood cells via our nail beds using a specialized light. This test is measured in percent, and it’s best to pass it with a 90 or higher.
With so many types of medications on the market, it’s near impossible for a clinician to memorize how every single pill or injection gets administered. Sometimes, the patient will tell their nurse that they started taking something new that isn’t documented on their paperwork. It’s rare, but it happens.
A pocket pharmacopeia holds the answers to all the medications and how to administer it — eliminating issues with medication reconciliation. Take note, in-home health nurses won’t give medicines without the proper paperwork in place.
If you need to track extra information and there isn’t enough room on the OASIS packet, having an extra notepad will be optimal. Many clinicians see so many in-home health patients during a workweek; a notebook helps keep track of what they spoke about the last time they meet.
This also helps to build a special bond with their patients.
It’s always a good practice to let the patient see you wash your hands before rendering care. This practice not only protects the patient but clinician, so drop a bottle in your bag.
Sometimes, using the same color ink for documentation can stop specific notes from standing out. 6-in-1 multi-color pens allow you to separate annotations using different colors. You might want to make Monday’s visits in green and Tuesday’s in purple. Many clinicians like the ability to create their workflow without having to lug around dozens of pens.
Trauma shears are very much like a regular pair of scissors as it cuts through objections. However, trauma shears come with a blunt guard build into the front tip, so a clinician can avoid poking the patient if they need a bandage removal. Clinicians are there to care for a patient, not injury them more, so let’s place a pair in our bag.
Lastly, when a patient needs a dressing change, the clinician should have disposable gauze and other sterile medical gear that they will toss in the bio trash afterward. Most of this inventory is supplied to them by in-home health agency, so stick a few extras your clinician bag.