What I pack for overnight call.

We all like to pretend we are low maintenance, but the reality is that many of my peers comment on the amount of things I bring to the hospital on a call day.  Let’s break down my (maybe not so light) bags:

The essentials: These items you MUST NOT forget for call

  1. Your pager.
  2. Your cell phone and charger (26 hours is a long time without a charge, even with a good battery).
  3. Your stethoscope, and any other specialty related tools (I bring a reflex hammer and pen light to all my shifts).
  4. Fluids: I pack at least 2 litres of fluids from home, a refillable water bottle, a small tea, and a small flavoured water or juice!
  5. Meals and Snacks!: I pack 2 main meals, that don’t require a lot of preparation or refridgeration. I eat my “main meal” at lunch, so it has less time potentially unrefrigerated. A typical day on call in food for me may look like: Breakfast – oatmeal, yogurt, fruit. AM snack- nuts. Lunch- Leftovers from previous night’s supper. PM snack- sliced veggies and hummus. Supper-Peanut butter sandwich. Late PM snack: trail mix and usually a small chocolate treat.
  6. A pen and a back-up pen. And a back-up back-up pen.
  7. Your evaluation sheet (if required).
  8. Your ID badge.
  9. A positive attitude! 🙂 Call is a great learning experience!

The optionals (to other people): These are items I still consider required for call comfort

  1. A change of underwear, socks, and comfortable shoes.
  2. A watch. (It looks rude to take your phone out in front of a patient).
  3. My laptop and a notebook. (You never know when/if downtime will hit!)
  4. My glasses. (Even if you use daily contacts, they will not feel pretty after 26 hours).
  5. A sweater. (The hospital feels colder when you’ve been awake for a long time).
  6. A clipboard-keep organized.
  7. Note pad. When called, jot down the patients name, vitals, location, who’s calling and a call-back number.
  8. Another back-up pen (not joking).
  9. Toothbrush and tooth paste.
  10. Facial wipes and lotion.
  11. Lip chap.
  12. Hair comb and tie.
  13. If you’re female – always carry emergency hygiene products.
  14. A condensed pocket handbook for the rotation you’re on.
  15. Some over the counter analgesia if you’re prone to headaches when tired.
  16. A credit card AND some cash.

Have fun on call!



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