white coat essentials: medicine wards

I lusted after the iconic symbol of a long white coat as a medical student. Well, now that I have it, it's nothing more than a nuisance (the same can be said for my pager). It's a pain to keep white and it's really inconvenient when I have to urinate (tmi??). Despite its annoyances, it is practical for keeping up with things, and I guess I am referred to as the nurse a little less frequently when I'm wearing it. I recently shared "what's in my white coat" on snapchat (elyse.love). Here's a summary with links - you can find all of the items together here.


What do you keep in your white coat for long wards days?

white coat essentials - what's in my white coat - medicine wards - long white coat

[ 1 ] the little green book

[Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine]

The color varies by year, so yours may be the little purple/green/blue/etc book. Pocket medicine is without contest the most important thing in my white coat - more important than my stethoscope! I occasionally used it in medical school, but it's literally a life-saver intern year. I joke with my co-interns that those four years of medical school were just to teach me how to read the green book.


[ 2 ] 3 pens

[Pilot juice 0.38 pens in 3 colors]

I typically do lab data in 2-3 colors (within normal limits - black, significantly high - red, significantly low - blue). It helps me to present patients quicker in the mornings - although at this point in intern year, I don't have to write as many things down for presentations. I do, however, still need to write things down to make sure I address them throughout the day. It's really easy to forget to replete someone's magnesium after 2 admissions and a code blue! The pilot juice 0.38 are by far the best pens out there - yes, better than the G2. The 0.38 tip size allows me to write small and fit more data on less pages (flipping through four pages of sign out is not efficient as an intern).


[ 3 ] stethoscope

[Littmann cardio 3]

We were given a lower level Littmann m1 year, but most people upgraded during third year. A good stethoscope doesn't make a huge difference in patient care (because chest xrays), but it makes a big difference in how impressive you are as a medical student/intern/resident. The cheaper the stethoscope, the harder it is to hear crackles/decreased breath sounds/rhonci. I've heard mixed reviews about the electronic stethoscopes, but it might be worth the investment for an internal medicine resident.


[ 4 ] hand cream

[Vaseline intensive rescue healing hand cream]

Hand dermatitis is common in health care workers compared to the general population. The frequent hand washing is necessary in the hospital, but I literally can not function with dry hands (could I be more derm?). I keep a bottle of hand lotion on me to use when I go to do administrative and academic work (which is most of my day).


[ 5 ] ruler

[Maxwell quick medical reference]

Cotton swabs, tongue depressors, and the Maxwell reference book all have rulers on the sides of them so I try to keep at least one in my white coat. I was much more of a stickler for accurate rash/lesion descriptions as a medical student than I am as an intern, but in general adding accurate size to a lesion is important because it's objective!


[ 6 ] peppermints

I like to chew on peppermints throughout the day, almost constantly. It's a courtesy to my coworkers and patients.


[ 7 ] lip treatment


Chapped lips are not professional.


[ 8 ] eye cream, concealer, and lip tint

I only carry lip tint, but eye cream and concealer would be clutch.


[ 9 ] iphone 6s plus

holy crap how did I forget this? Okay, there may be a contest for most important thing in my white coat - pocket medicine vs my iphone (winner: iphone). Epocrates is the only medical app I use, but I use it a lot! I use it for medication dosing, the medical calculator, and the really hard dermatology quizzes! I also use it to text bitmoji's to my cointerns. However annoying the white coat is, it is the only article of clothing I own that holds my phone, which makes it my favorite article of clothing.


What do you carry in your white coat?