Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Whats in your pockets? Are you a Prepper or Macgyver?

In a previous post (The RT Hoarder) I mention that I carry very little on me when I'm at work. 
Yes, I believe in being prepared, however I try to practice the "Macgyver" philosophy [1], versus the "Dooms Day Prepper" mentality [2].

This post presents my Everyday Carry (EDC) [3] from when I first started in the field of respiratory therapy to what I carry now. I will describe "what is in my pockets" and why, also notice the progression throughout the years.

What items do I get rid of & what do I always need to practice the profession?

EDC as a RT student & new graduate.

RT Student & New Graduate EDC
  • Pen- for documentation, taking notes for shift report, physician rounds and writing down things to look up. 
  • Reference book- I carried or stored a reference book for easy access for continuing my education. I had 3 favorites that I would rotate.
  • Stethoscope- The pictured stethoscope is a high quality one that I received as a gift (I probably would have not bought). I would highly recommend  starting your career with a high quality stethoscope it is well appreciated when learning to differentiate the various lung sounds. This is a must skill for RT's.

EDC for a few years after graduation

1-to 2 years Post Graduate EDC
  • Pen
  • Stethoscope
  • Ti-83 Calculator- notice I ditched my reference books and traded up for my programmable calculator. I put multiple equations into this and used this daily in the ICU. Before ventilators had waveforms & smart calculations I would use this to calculate; tubing compliance factors, E cylinder duration,  respiratory time constants (to set I-time appropriately), resistance, compliance, etc.

EDC 2-to-3 years out. 

2-to-3 Years Practicing
  • Pen
  • Stethoscope
  • Ti-83 
  • Cheat Sheet- I made this sheet for pressure control ventilation. It was a quick way to view time constants to set I-time, and to determine 1:1 ratios for various inspiratory time settings and multiple respiratory rates. It was ideal in a ICU where there were ventilators without waveforms & vents from various companies. 

EDC 4-to-10 years out

4-to-10 Years Out EDC
  • Pen
  • Cheaper Stethoscope- I actually down graded my stethoscope for a few reasons; I became proficient at differentiating lung sounds and use my hands to assess for tactile fremitus (identifying secretions),  I got tired of misplacing the other one. 
  • Enhanced Cheat Sheet- this small sheet easily folds up & fits in my scrub pocket and replaced my calculator. 

Current EDC
Current EDC
  • Pen 
  • Stethoscope- I actually use the yellow Isolation stethoscopes now. It seems like everyone is on isolation & I do not have to worry about cleaning or losing mine. 
  • Moleskine 8 X 5 note book- I use this to take notes, sketch, brainstorm, etc. This size is ideal for fitting in scrub pockets. 
This year will be my thirteenth year as a Registered Respiratory Therapist and before becoming a RRT I was a NREMT-P. Over these years I have acquired a priceless amount of knowledge & skills.  As you notice I have cut done my EDC significantly since I started the profession this has been directly related to my knowledge acquisition and advances in technology (eg. ventilator waveforms). 

Conversely, what item/s have always been a necessity for the job?

The stethoscope- you will always need this for a proper patient assessment.

SO Whats in Your Pockets?


[1]. Macgyver- "main asset is his practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items" (Wikipedia

[2]. Dooms Day PreppersSurvivalist, prepared for the "end of the world as we know it". I not making fun of these guys. Actually a friend of mine was on one of the episodes.  

[3]. EDC- "refers to a small collection of tools, equipment and supplies that are carried on a daily basis to assist in tackling situations ranging from the mundane to the disastrous" (Wikipedia)

A interesting EDC gear head link: http://everyday-carry.com/