I rattle when I walk (or, what’s in my scrubs pockets)

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

My beloved and I went out to dinner the other night. I was still in scrubs, so when the check came, I started searching various pockets for my wallet.

Beloved grew increasingly concerned and curious as I kept pulling bits and pieces out of my scrubs, until I finally just laid everything out on the table.

In the top pocket of my scrubs, I keep two pens and a penlight.

In the bottom right pocket, I have trauma shears, alcohol swabs, a packet of ancient but still fragrant fruit-flavored gum, tongue depressors and a cotton swab with a wooden handle, broken in half. We do a lot of cranial nerve testing in my unit.

In the bottom left pocket, I keep my personal cell phone.

In the large pocket on the right leg of my scrubs, I have a reflex hammer and tape measure. In the large pocket of the left leg, I usually have the hospital’s cell phone and the emergency response pager (both of which, magically, I had remembered to return before leaving work.)

In the smaller pocket on the left leg of my scrubs, I had an IV start kit, two saline flushes and three IV cannulas of varying sizes. I get called on to start tough IVs.

You’ll notice that I did not mention pulling my wallet out. Beloved ended up paying for dinner, though he did try to talk me into trading my stethoscope for burgers and drinks.

What’s in your scrubs pockets, fellow nurses?


Agatha Lellis

Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at askauntieaggie@gmail.com.

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14 Responses to I rattle when I walk (or, what’s in my scrubs pockets)

  1. Elizabethanne

    Oh my God…I cannot believe you would go out for food in your work clothes. In the UK you are not even allowed to go to the supermarket in uniform, for infection control reasons. I also cannot believe you put all your work items out on a restaurant table, potentially sources of infections, God forbid MRSA etc. Do you wear the same scrubs for more than one day, or do you just transfer all these items into your next set of scrubs at home, just out of interest? Is it really a good idea to walk around with cannulas in your pocket, being sharps, used or not? I think it would be mightily frowned on to remove such items from the hospital in the UK. I don’t wear uniform anymore in my post, by the way, and all I take to work is my taxi fare home and my locker key. I keep handcream in my locker, which then goes in a cupboard for use during the day. I carry a bunch of work keys on a keyring round my wrist, and keep a pen on my desk and drugs trolley, that’s it. I don’t take any items home, for infection control reasons.

    • tiffani71

      Geez Elizabethanne REALLY? Can’t you just see the humor in it ya killjoy? (Damn boring English…….smh)

      • Elizabethanne

        “smh”? What does “smh” mean? Damn boring English? You can’t even speak English! Damn Yanks wrecking our language “24/7”. And no, I don’t see the humour (there’s a “u” in “humour”, by the way) in spreading infections around the community. Furthermore, it’s “you”, not “ya”. Hope this helps. xx

        • clucito

          Wow you could really use to lighten up a bit! It’s a fun humor piece – yes I did just spell it without your beloved ‘u’ but us “damn yanks” spell things a little differently! Get over yourself & have a good laugh instead of being so negative!

    • becila

      I was thinking along the same lines maybe not quite as strict I keep my stuff in my bag because I’m a student nurse so I don’t have a locker to keep my things in. I can’t imagine what would be said if you got caught with all that on you! I only ever have pens, scissors, pen torch, tape measure, my mobile and a handover sheet in my pocket (which goes in the confidential waste at the end of the shift).

  2. NottsNurse

    Top Left Tunic Pocket – Pen light, small scissors, two Bic four colour pens, a few Tempadot thermometers, tongue depressors.

    Bottom Left Tunic Pocket – Stethoscope, large dressing scissors, trauma shears.

    Bottom Right Tunic Pocket – ‘Brain on chain’, mints, chewing gum, Post It notes, a handful of non sterile gloves, a couple of packs of sterile swabs, dry wipe pen, Tegaderm IV.

    Left trouser pocket – Mobile phone (chock full of nurse friendly apps).

    Right trouser pocket – Coin wallet (to feed my caffeine habit).

    Hanging from lanyard – ID, another pen, a roll of Transpore.

    • NurseVooDoo

      What is a “brain on chain”? I am intrigued.

  3. isis82

    From top to bottom!
    Around my neck: Pulse-oximeter, stethoscope
    Breast pocket: Badge card sized quick reference pack, 2 pens and a Sharpie marker
    Bottom left shirt pocket: Forehead thermometer, alcohol swabs, mints
    Bottom right shirt pocket: Scissors, hemostats, wrist BP cuff
    Back pants pocket: Medical Spanish quick-reference
    Small side pants pocket: Pen lights
    Large side pants pocket: Wound size/staging ruler and cell phone

  4. Jean McDougall

    I’m with Elizabethanne on this one. It is horrific to think that someone is out for dinner in scrubs! Humour or no humour.
    In my uniform I have two pens, watch, lanyard with ID, post its, notebook, work mobile, memory stick for all my forms I need to print off, car keys.

  5. Skipper1

    I come home with lots of crazies in my pockets but never go in public after leaving the hospital & would never go to dinner in my scrubs.

  6. NurseVooDoo

    I am with you here. I go out in public with scrubs; sometimes I have no other option, people really need to lighten up. I hope some of you holier than thou types strip naked before going into your homes as well.

    Top Breast pocket: 2-3 different colored pens, pen light, hospital quick reference cards/lists
    Right side pocket on scrub top: more pens/markers, trauma shears, bandage scissors, hemastats
    Left side pocket on scrub top: alcohol swabs, flushes, medications I pull from the Omnicell/Pyxis, items to complete cranial nerve and NIH Stroke Scores
    Right and left scrub pant pockets: personal cell phone. I usually try to keep these free just in case I would need extra pockets haha
    Right and left leg pant pockets: a few wound care supplies such as saline “bullets” for irrigation, disposable rulers, packed rolls of gauze, 4x4s etc

    I also have a small pocket above the large right leg pocket that I do not currently use.

    Around my neck on separate clips are my work keys, my ID holder and ID, my locator (used to automatically turn off call bells when entering the room and to alert others as to where you are), hands free, voice activated work phone.

    And of course my stethoscope.

  7. Thanh Phan

    Yes I hate to see people walking in a restaurant in scrub from work. We all know how nasty our scrub after work is.
    I always empty my pockets before leaving work to avoid forgetting any drugs or PCA key. Usually I have my locker key, multicolors pen and alcohol pads in my top pocket. My lower pockets usually have my patients paper, salines and stethoscope.

  8. Magickdawn

    Around the neck: ID badge, timecard, phone list, 10 code list, watch, bandage scissors
    Right shirt pocket: 2 pens, alcohol swabs, hand sanitizer, roll of tape, pulse ox
    Left shirt pocket: Sharpie, penlight, angiocaths, gum. Radio clipped to the pocket
    Right big pants pocket: insulin and TB syringes

  9. prison nurse

    How do I buy direct?
    Want to see special stethoscope.
    Want more options on view at home do you have mailed magazine?