When I became an intern and moved into the hospital full-time, all that crap became just too much to lug around. I ditched the bag, and my short white coat (with interior pockets, thank god) became loaded down with tons of stuff: reflex hammers, pocket reference guides, photocopied research papers for reading, patient lists, a procedure log, a PDA with epocrates, a bit of a snack maybe, and more. The coat weighed at least ten pounds fully loaded. As a junior resident, I pared it down to the few references and gadgets I actually used frequently, and the coat got a lot lighter. With each succeeding year I have lightened the load somewhat, down to the absolute essentials. I shed the white coat years and years ago. Now the only things I bring with me to the hospital are:
Three items. It’s very liberating. Of course, I have epocrates and more on every computer workstation, so the references are there in the ER for me, but still, it’s something of a victory over inanimate junk and my own packrat tendencies that I can go to work with only three things in my pockets.
The downside is that if I happen to forget any one of these three sacred totems, it totally ruins my whole day.
*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*