What’s In My Bag: The Medical School Edition

Hey guys! This post is about what is the bag I take with me to medical school. I thought this would be fun way to give those of you approaching your time on the wards, or in medical school, some advice on what to bring!

  1. Notepad! I often have a variety of sizes with me; an A4/5 for making notes in lectures or any free time, and an a6 notepad, that can fit in my pocket or a small bag, for jotting down interesting points while actually on the wards.
  2. Hand-in-hand with above: pens! This seems pretty obvious, but I would advise you to also invest in a pen torch. Finding one of these is normally impossible, and interrupting an examination to go and get one is never fun!
  3. Lanyards are great for ensuring that you don’t lose your ID, and also for notifying everyone on the ward of who you are. These are especially useful when you’re a student, as you can avoid the awkward moments when people assume you’re a fully qualified doctor!
  4. I often carry a diary with me, simply because, when you are assigned a bunch of clinics over a week, remembering where and when you should be can be pretty impossible. Mine also has credit card slots, meaning I’m always prepared if I have 5 minutes spare for a coffee break.
  5. Also, don’t forget your stethoscope…I think it’s pretty obvious why you’ll need that.
  6. Water bottle and a snack: if you’re on a surgical placement, there may be days when you simply don’t have time to get lunch, these will help tide you over until you eventually get some time off.
  7. For girls especially: a mini/cross-body bag! For some reason, women’s clothing rarely comes with practical additions like pockets. Having a small bag to stick a notepad, snack bar, and some pens can make up for this; the last thing you want is to be stuck with a giant handbag, or juggling loads of loose items while trying to attend to a patient.
  8. Laptop/textbook: there are times when you may be left with nothing to do, maybe due to a cancelled clinic, or a break between surgeries. Having something productive to do while you wait is good idea; I like to do practice exam questions, or read over some notes, when there is a particularly large gap in my day.
  9. Finally -drum roll- a giant bag to fit everything in to! I cycle to and from the hospital, so find a backpack is the best option for me.

So there you have it! (Almost) everything you will need to lug to and from the hospital, as a medical student.

Let me know if there’s something you think I’ve missed, or that you like to bring by commenting below!

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