What's In My Paramedic Uniform
Left to right: ID badge, stethoscope, radio clip, shears/tough cuts, lip balm, tourniquet, alcohol gel and clip, pens and pen torch.
Here are my uniform essentials! Read on for where I position these items and the bits I did not include on the photo.
I put this on my collarbone where the loops are, you need your ID badge as ID (obviously) but also to get into the buildings. On your first shift you will need to tap it against the keypad and it will beep to let you in! Just a side note, some ambulance stations have really funny locks on them, so to get out, you may have to turn a grey knob to get yourself out (better to know than not!).
I use this Littman III Cardiology stethoscope (in orange, as you can see) and it is great because it's head twists to hear more sensitive sounds. I generally keep my steth in my knee pockets, however I have two points to make. Firstly, keeping it in your pocket can slightly disfigure it or it can get caught on things (so be careful with it) but they are really hardy so you would have to do something really drastic to break it, and also the light colour of mine has got a bit dirty and it does not come off (which is a shame) but I still love the orange colour!! I also have a purple case, which is really useful when you take your kit out of your uniform because it protects it.
These are police radio clips which can be found on eBay on this link. They are essential as usually there is a radio clip on your jacket, but this is impractical and uncomfortable. I clip my radio clip to my belt. Just an FYI, push it on normally, then twist 180 degrees (the wrong way up) to get it out.
These can be really helpful on all jobs... Cutting gauze for BMs, cutting clothes in cardiac arrest or cutting pretty much anything else open. I keep these in my knee pocket too. Do not keep them in your loops on your collarbones as there are reports of patients taking them out and injuring paramedics... Keep yourselves safe guys.
12+ hour shifts can be tough. Self care can be as simple as some lip balm. I keep this in my breast pocket.
So the trust provides you with tourniquets, however I prefer a fabric one to a nasty plastic one. Mine is pretty cool and can be found here or a whole load of them can be found here. Every so often or when they get dirty I put it through the washing machine, and you can use clinelle wipes on them in the meanwhile. I keep this looped onto my belt.
Alcohol Gel and Clip
You can pick both the gel and the clip from the stores in the ambulance station, do not buy them!! I love the gel, just be careful not to spill it on your uniform as it does not come off with wipes and means it has to be washed. When you use one up, save the lid! I always lose the lid which is how I end up getting it on myself. I clip this to my belt loop.
Pens and Pen Torch
The white pen torch you can get from your ambulance station stores and has a pupil size scale on it and the black pen torch is also a pen and has a stylus however does not have the scale on it. Pack so many pens! You will always need them. I keep these in my breast pockets.
Here is a list of the things not in the photo:
So many gloves.... Put a load which are your size in your trouser pocket, but also take a few which are a size up. When you are sweaty and stressy (ie cardiac arrest situation when you really need gloves) it is really easy to split your normal size gloves, so a size up can be a lifesaver.
I have a interchangeable fob watch which I pin to my top pocket. They do not have to be expensive, but I got a big pack of different colours and sizes here.
I keep my JRCALC with my shears in my knee pockets. I would have included my handy dandy bible but I have no idea where it is... Oops!
Obviously epaulettes go on your shoulders. Make sure you wear them! When you get into a serious incident, everyone looks at epaulettes and if you are not wearing student ones, they will presume you are qualified. It is really dangerous and you could get in a lot of trouble for not wearing them.
Keys and Phone
I keep my keys in either my breast pocket or both in my knee pockets. I used to keep them in the locker in my bag however a few bags get stolen here and there and I am not willing to risk that!
Check out the others in this series: