Considerations for a nurse’s pouch

Pocket_Dump.jpgNurses need to have a number tools at the ready when on the floor to be efficient.

In general these include a roll of tape, scissors, pen, and a strip of paracetamol. In addition you may also need alcohol wipes, pen torch, note pad, and some even like to have alcohol hand sanitiser. In no time you are weighed down with more accessories than Wonder Woman. If only my abundance of tools included her Lasso of Truth!

Like a tradesman needs a tool belt, a nurse’s pouch is a clear favourite amongst many nurses for organising and easily accessing all the necessary tools while on shift. It is something you can wear and remove at the end of your shift with contents organised in place ready for the next shift.

Alternatively, if you are like me and love pockets, then deep pockets and cargo pants might be more your style. This comes with its own set of problems – when it comes to laundry day, things can get interesting.  Not to mention the entertaining and slightly frustrating pocket searching dance when wanting to find something in a hurry.

It’s known in the industry as ‘a pocket dump’: you quickly have a pile of variously useful equipment and probably someone else’s pen and some useless plastic bits from an IV fluids or line that you collected when you couldn’t find a bin handy.

So let’s consider the idea that a nurse’s pouch is something you are thinking about. 

The Pros

  1. Firstly they are very cheap at less than $30 on eBay or eNurse, and available in any colour of the rainbow you may desire.
  2. They have a strap that is adjustable to go around your waste or over your shoulder like a handbag.
  3. They are specifically designed to hold the equipment you need.
  4. If your hands are full mid-procedure then someone else can grab a tool you or they need from your handy pouch.
  5. You will be organised in a second…Shazam!
The Cons
  1. The infection control risk is high with pouches being worn at hip height – the same height of sheets, bins and patients. Also, your hands are in and out of them all day. The need to disinfect and sanitise the pouch regularly is a must.
  2. Your equipment is on display, so you can’t claim you don’t have your favourite pair of scissors when the person asking can literally see them on your person. Some pouches seclude your equipment as they wrap around you tightly.
  3. When wearing an apron a nurse’s pouch can be difficult to access.
The choice is yours: each nurse will no doubt use what works for them the best in the time, area and type of nursing care they deliver. For some great nurse’s pouch options check out eNurse – they have a great range of various types of pouches available. Just remember to decontaminate your pouch on a regular basis for good nursing practice.
By Liz Coffey

The Nursing Drama!

Medical needs in the fictional world of film and television certainly entertain us. We have experienced the high drama of nursing at County General Hospital, All Saints Western General Hospital, Stanton House and the trenches of the Korean War. Hospital dramas and movies have been blessed by many memorable characters that are nurses. Some inspire us (true story: my hair style is inspired by Terri Sullivan the early years) while others infuriate us. Watching a medical drama, no matter the era in which it is set, we can all find faults. Unfortunately many patients often believe what they see on TV as being a true reflection of a hospital experience. If only! I remember explaining my first hospital placement to a friend via text a few days in: ‘It’s going well. It’s kind of like a bad episode of All Saints with a cast that didn’t fall out of a modelling magazine lol’. It’s the dramatic arc of many characters over the years, although fictional, which in my eyes shows some element of truth. These characters and their development show that the role of a nurse is challenging and demanding and can often mould the person that you become. So in tribute to some of the many nurses (fictional) that have graced our presence on screen, here is my list of top 10 female nurses characters in drama series and movies:

Abby Lockhart – ER (Maura Tierney)Abby A dedicated, patient and passionate former medical student, Abby turned to nursing when she had to drop out of out of medical school. She later drops the RN for an MD when she completes her medical studies. She is well liked and respected by all staff. Why we love Abby: She has a very personable nature and is able to engage with her patients while maintaining a high clinical standard. She battles her own demons in dealing with a mother who has significant mental health issues and she herself is a recovering alcoholic. Perhaps due to these hardships in life, she conveys an understanding and empathy of her patients’ experiences.

1507200758627Therese ‘Terri’ Sullivan – All Saints (Georgie Parker) Terri is the Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) on ward 17. A nun – hence a true ‘sister’ – she later leaves the sisterhood and finds love with a doctor!  She is highly intelligent and very down to earth. When there is a difficult patient or challenging situation she is there to support her team. Why we love Terri: Any new nurse would enjoy her leadership on a ward; you can see yourself confessing your sins to this compassionate and caring nurse, while wanting to please her and (Cates first film debut). not let the team down.

Susan Macarthy – Paradise Road (Cate Blanchett) – based on a true story (movie).Paradise-Road-cate-blanchett-12646559-768-432 Susan is a member of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps captured by the Japanese Army during World War II. She is young and somewhat naïve yet shows leadership and integrity in challenging circumstances. What we can learn from Susan: Nursing is not a job, it’s who you are. Also, comradery can get you through the most dire  events. (I highly recommend this film to anyone, as it is based on a true story and is Cate’s first feature film role)

 JULIANNA MARGULIES SET TO LEAVE ER TV DRAMA.Carol Hathaway – ER (Julianna Margulies) Nurse manager of the emergency room at Chicago’s County General Hospital, from the beginning of the series Carol struggles with her mental health issues, financial problems and later finds love in the handsome silver fox of Dr Doug Ross (George Clooney). What we can learn from Carol: Life has its ups and downs but Carol’s passion for nursing is strong. Not only can you find love at work, it’s acceptable to have your long curly hair out in the County ER!

Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan – M.A.S.H (Loretta Swit)MASH Major Houlihan is a member of the Army Nurse Corps and in charge of all the nurses at the MASH 4077 unit. She is devoted to her army career, having been born into the tradition. She has the challenging job of serving in a remote army station though a very dangerous war. What makes Hot Lips so special: Her resilience in dealing with the constant jokes at her expense and being forced to endure the male orientated and dominated world of the army. Hot Lips was certainly someone who was a firecracker and we loved to watch her soften the brutality of war and keep the men on their toes. Her character was baised on a real nurse who served in the Korean War.

Matron Margaret ” Maggie” Sloan – A Country Practice (Joan Sydney)joansydney[2] Maggie was the Matron of small medical practice in Wandin Valley. The rural country town is no stranger to drama and has many medical needs! Maggie is the no fuss, yet delicate nurse who shines through the adversity of remote medicine. What we can learn from Maggie: Every rural town needs a RN like Maggie to dig in and roll up their sleeves!

Bronwyn Craig – All Saints (Libby Tanner)bron Bron is a fun and loving nurse turned ambo, and later agency nurse, who’s father is a successful doctor. Her energy and compassion is engaging, her colleagues respect her and she also has a gambling addiction. Why we love Bron: Her clinical competence is balanced by her smile and charm meaning that she is liked and respected by her patients and colleagues. You know that a shift with Bron would be memorable to say the least.

Kitty-Foreman-70s-show_lKitty Forman – That 70’s Show (Debra Jo Rupp) Kitty is a classic, dedicated and focused nurse and mother. Her passion for youth health  care – and not doing drugs –  is front and centre when the 70’s show gang are not falling off the water tower. What can we learn from Kitty: Every nurse needs a poker face and a sense of humour!

Yvonne ‘Von’ Ryan – All Saints (Judith McGrath)von Von is an EN who later completes her studies to become a RN. Her mature and straight-laced character shows resilience in getting on with the job and not letting your emotions – or gossip – get in the way. What we can learn form Von: Having life experience is vital to the career as a nurse; we will all most likely have a nurse in our careers that remind us of her. You know you would hear her say ‘Stop the gossip and get on with the job!’

love childMatron Frances Bolton- Love Child (Mandy McElhinney) Frances is a strict, no-excuses matron who presides over Stanton House, a home for unwed pregnant young women. What we can learn from Frances: Getting down to business and working hard is what you are there for. And everyone has a past.

By Liz Coffey

A Book Review – Get Well Soon! My (Un) Brilliant Career as a Nurse

Get well soonI am aware I am no longer in grade 3…however if you are a nursing student or new nurse you must stop and read this review. Keep Calm: it’s not a text book! You wont need a highlighter and there is no in text referencing involved.

Think ahead a few years to when you are an experienced nurse, and perhaps a bit jaded by your experiences on the job, and you want to share your story. If you were honest, it would probably sound a lot like this great read.

Kristy Chambers unloads with the reality and hilarity of what being a nurse is really like in Australia.  Get Well Soon! My (Un) Brilliant Career as a Nurse delivers the goods. I laughed, cried and now have some cracking one-liners up my sleeve thanks to her great writing.

Portraying the role nurse in print is no easy task and Kristy successfully resists the temptation to gloss over the gritty, unpleasant and sometimes downright disgusting but real details of the actual job. The educational value of this book is outstanding; I often found myself stopping and googling a procedure or term and increased my nursing vocabulary. Kristy’s ability to write an account that has you believing you are on the ward with her is amazing.

Thanks to this book, on my first hosptial placement I found myself being wary of agency nurses that jingled like the tooth fairy adorned with headlamps and other superfluous equipment and the mere suggestion of the word melina made me hide.

Some may find this book bewildering in its directness and failure to make it sound like your on the set of ER or Grey’s Anatomy. As many nurses suggest that to do the job successfully you need a sense of humour, this is a great way to test the water. My well-thumbed copy has been read by more than 5 friends who really enjoyed its honesty and humour.

This is an incredibly funny and easy-to-read book that had me laughing out loud. Kristy shares stories of patients that have touched her in ways you would never imagine. She tells the untold but very real story and you won’t be disappointed.

Get a copy here at UQP or as an eBook at Amazon. 

Happy Reading!