A few people have asked me to share what I carry around in my bag so I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a look myself and empty out all of the rubbish I had accumulated at the bottom! I am currently on my placement with the district nurses so a few things in my big rucksack are more related to this practice area.
- The first thing, and most important thing, that I take with me everywhere I go is my placement book from the university. This book is huge (236 pages to be exact!) and heavy to carry around all of the time but it is so precious! All of my hours, experiences and progress is documented in this book and it lasts for the whole three years. So, of course, I look after it well! I can’t manage how devastated I would be if I spilt something on it or lost it, especially this far into the course.
- My diary. This diary is the reason I am so organised! It is important to be organised so that I can manage my time effectively between placement, university, my job, working out, appointments and free time.
- Hand sanitiser. This one is fairly obvious. I don’t always have the opportunity to wash my hands out in the community so it’s good to have hand sanitiser as a back up, however, it does dry out my hands.
- Hand cream. Following on from the above, constantly washing my hands or applying hand sanitiser really drys out my skin so I regularly apply hand cream to keep my hands soft.
- Lip balm. Not so much for this placement, but I found working in the warm hospital made my lips go very dry so I top up with lip balm often.
- A calculator. For when the fluid balance chart requires you to keep adding 0.6666mls an hour!
- Pens. So many pens! Most of my pens were free from reps or nurse fairs.
- A notebook. I have had a new mini notebook for each placement. This helps me to remember what I have done/what new skill I have learnt/what I need to find out more about for the day. I also think they will be nice to look back on in a few years to see how much I have progressed and how what once was a new skill is now part of my daily routine.
- Leaflets. These are often leaflets that we give out to patients but I like to have a read and be clear myself on what information patients are exposed to so that I can support their understanding.
- A water bottle. It is so important to stay hydrated! I take a litre bottle of water every day and make sure I finish that during my shift. I may also be offered a drink from the patients.
- Lunch and snacks! I usually take a salad, a breakfast bar and some fruit!
- A wound book. A newly qualified nurse I worked with one day recommended this book for my community placement and it’s brilliant! It’s pocket size so I can carry it with me to revise and refer to.
- A tape measure. I was given this when I started this placement to measure wounds.
When I am out with the nurses we carry bags with all of the equipment we may need, such as a stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, thermometer and other things such as catheters, dressings, bandages and paperwork.