Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Medical "toys"

Toys are fun, and this doesn't just apply to kids!  In recent weeks, I've had the priviledge of buying some medical toys of my own. 

My first purchase was my stethoscope.  Much debate went into this, whether or not to get a simple "student model" basic stethoscope, or invest the money into the real thing.  On one hand, a basic model would probably suffice, given that we are starting from the basic level in our simulation labs (we're just allowed to practice on one another this term, and that is a very good thing...more about that soon!)  But I was also thinking that it's probably a good idea to have a good stethoscope in school, as this is the time to learn from our instructors as much as we can, and having the right tools is important. 

I talked to various nurses I know about it.  Again, the results spanned the spectrum of opinions.  Some people said that as nursing students, we just need stethoscopes to hear breath sounds, so we don't need a high quality one, while others stressed the importance of learning what we're listening for correctly, from the start. 

In the end, I decided I might as well invest in a good one now.  So I very happily brought home my "ceil blue" Littmann Classic II (for those of us who speak French, "ceil" is a typo -- it should be "ciel", which means "sky"). 

And that evening, everyone in my family got their heart beat and breath sounds listened to attentively, by a keen nursing student, who didn't really know what she was listening for...

The following week in simulation lab, we did blood pressures on one another.  Apparently I am somewhat of an "anti-talent" in finding the brachial artery, both by touch and hearing.  So off I went to get me my very own blood pressure cuff.  I am still working on saying the word, "sphygmomanometer" with a straight face and without stuttering too many "momamomoms" in it.  About half my simulation lab group was in the medical bookstore buying blood pressure cuffs, so that made me feel somewhat better, that we all need to practice. 

Finally, after last week's lab, I felt the need to have my very own penlight.  We had a lab on ear/nose/throat, and I have thoroughly inspected my lab partner's nose, probably like no one has inspected it before. 

I feel very professional now with my new medical equipment and scrubs.  Now we have to keep practicing and learning more, and by January, they'll let us out in the "real medical world".

Until then, my poor lab partner, husband and kids will continue to have their blood pressure taken regularly, and I'll practice whatever else the labs teach us to examine!!! 

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