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Sunday, November 2, 2008

This RT not a fan of the labcoat

The Anonymous RT over at Respiratory Therapy 101 posed a great question recently regarding lab coats. Do you wear one?

Okay, so it's a boring question, but I'm sure there's one or two RTs out there that care what RTs at other hospitals do or don't do.

Most students are required to wear one. And, actually, our hospital policy says that we have to wear one. But I never do. I hate wearing a lab coat. All it is is a big bulky thing that makes you hotter in an already hot place. You know, old people like it H-O-T.

So usually I walk around in scrubs only. I have to add something else to this. I hate wearing my stethescope around my neck, so I carry it in one of my pockets -- 99% of the time the left pocket.

My meds go in the right pocket. That's my system. Now, some of my scrubs don't have pockets. If I have a lot of patients, I try to avoid wearing these scrubs. But, when I'm on a lazy streak and have not done my laundry, then I have no choice but to wear these pocketless crubs.

So on these days I have no choice but to wear the stethescope on my neck, or carry it over my clipboard, and store my drugs at randoms spots around the hospital. You know, I just stash a stack at a few random spots. Unless, that is, I have a chest pocket, then I plop some amps in there -- one of each (obviously I can't do this when it's busy. On those days I might be forced to wear the lab coat.)

The anonymous RT says he quit wearing a lab coat because he kept getting confused for a dr. While that has happened to me on occasion, at this small hospital there aren't enough random doctors for people to get THAT confused.

But, on those nights when I have few patients and the workload is low, and my metabolism slows way down, it can get quite cold. So, I tend to keep in nearby.

Still, when I do wear it I travel light. I keep as few drugs on me as possible. Usually I stock up on Duonebs because that seems to be the drug of choice by Dr. Q1, of whom I usually get stuck working with, and then a few of the other bronchodilators (depending on what the floor patients require).

I also might stock of few other RT essentials, like nipple adaptors and o2 connector tubing.

I honestly HATE wearing my stethescope over my shoulders. I got out of this habit the first time
the tubing on my Littman got hard and snapped in half. The company explained to me the oil in my skin dries out the tubing. I had to pay to get it fixed, and from then on it stays on my pocket.

Of course I could pay for a stethescope cover (one of my coworkers makes them), but I hate wearing on my neck anyway. (So, how did I get from lab coats to stethescopes. What a lame post this turned out to be.)

It's funny how each RT has his or her own system. One of my coworkers carries her meds around in a ziplock bag. Another wears a shirt and tie and dress clothes under his lab coat.


my-rt-life said...

I've already come up with a system I'm using for clinicals. Since it is so hard to read the drug name on the unit doses of nebs (you know, the name etched into the clear plastic ampule), I'm going to write like "AL" for albuterol, "AT" for atrovent, "L" for levalbuterol, "D" for duoneb...well you get it.

And yes, we have to wear lab jackets for school. Well, I wouldn't consider them that. What we really have to wear is a white scrub jacket with no collar, and snaps instead of buttons-- so we don't get confused with doctors. The RT's where I work also can't wear lab coats with a collar and buttons for this reason, but they can wear the scrub jackets.

Glenna said...

Interesting about the lab coats because I went to some kind of accredidation review at my school as an alumni to give input on the program and one of the questions we were asked was "Do you wear a lab coat?" When we all said "no" we were asked "But don't you feel like you get less respect from patients by not wearing a lab coat?" We were all confused. I never even thought about it. Our response was that respect comes from self-confidence and bearing, not from a lab coat. We rarely wear them either but a couple of people do for the pockets so it's no big deal either way.

I get cold so even in the summer I wear long sleeved t-shirts under my scrubs and half the time in the winter I wear hoodies over that. Unless I'm in the NICU and then I try for naked (kidding!) because it's damn hot in those isolettes.