Author: Kelly Gray-Eurom, MD, MMM, FACEP, Chief Quality Officer/Assistant Dean for Quality and Safety, Professor of Emergency Medicine UFCOM
Minimize the number of items you bring to work, which will decrease the number of items that must be decontaminated after your shift. Keep it simple — bring only the essentials.
Items to consider bringing to work
- Easily washable or easy-to-wipe bag
- Use cotton tote bags or plastic “stadium” bags, which work great.
- Change of scrubs or clothes
- Don’t forget socks and undergarments.
- Closed shoes that can be easily wiped down or laundered
- Scrub cap, personal protective equipment (PPE), and eye protection
- One credit or debit card
- Self-swipe when purchasing items, if possible.
- Driver’s license
- Leave it in the car, if possible.
- Car, work, and home keys
- Only bring the ones you will use during your shift; leave the others in the car, if possible.
- Cell phone
- Place it in a disposable bag to make cleaning easier post shift, if possible.
- Something personal that helps your well-being
Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to doff PPE during your shift to eat and hydrate. On-the-go snack ideas include:
- High-calorie, low-volume foods that are easy to eat quickly and with one hand, such as protein bars, yogurt in squeeze containers, and wrapped cheese snacks; and
- Drinks in closed containers that can be discarded when you are done or those in an easy-to-decontaminate reusable container.
Seriously consider whether any other items are necessary. Do you need it for patient care? Do you need it for your personal care? Can it be easily decontaminated after your shift? If the answer is no, leave it at home. Prepare yourself mentally and physically. Do the things that help calm your psyche before a shift. Try to keep the “normals” that you can keep. You are the most important thing that you bring to work. Keeping you safe, sane, and healthy is the best thing that you can do for your patients, your family, and your well-being.