Paraphernalia

I started the acquisition of nursing “stuff” at orientation, though to date I have my hands on very little of it.

Our letter about orientation advised us that representatives would be available to take orders for items such as stethoscopes and PDAs. I pictured a row of vendors trying to sell us the most expensive version of whatever they had to offer. I imagined holding a stethoscope in my hand and trying to figure out how to tell whether it was a good one or not. I walked through Best Buy in search of PDAs so I would at least be able to identify one when I saw it. Turns out my anxiety was totally unfounded.

The Student Nursing Organization took our orders for stethoscopes (as well as bandage scissors and clipboards) and gave us one, count ’em, one option. And thankfully it was a good option (Littmann Classic II S.E. ). We did get to pick the color for the scope and the scissors, however. That was fairly easy to choose since I like navy and it matches well with the school colors. Though I have to admit to second-guessing myself afterwards. What if everyone gets navy? Should I have gotten a more interesting color? One that would stand out more? Very silly, really. Anyway, I’ll probably get to pick that stuff up when I go in on the 5th for my CPR class.

Our class will be the first required to use PDAs. The school is providing them (though I’m assuming “providing” in this case means “we’ll bill you” not “here is a welcome gift from the goodness of our hearts”). I know extremely little about such things, though it sounds like they’re pretty nifty gadgets. I thought they were essentially an overpriced electronic schedule book with solitaire, but apparently they’re much much more. The ones we’ll be getting (Palm T/X) are wireless and Bluetooth enabled, so we can check our e-mail, download files, etc. Plus they’re loading them with various nursing software packages. We’ll be getting those during the first week of classes and will have an orientation session on them then.

Tuesday I headed over to Portsmouth to order my uniforms before doing my impression of a pincushion (had to get my flu shot, tuberculosis test, and have blood drawn for a Hep B titre since I can’t find records for that immunization). We are limited to buying our uniforms from this one store, though I have to admit that they were very knowledgable and organized. When I told the woman what I was there for she went right over to a rack and started pulling things for me to try on. I was relieved to find out that our uniforms closely resemble real clothes. While the idea of wearing pajamas to work is moderately appealing, in practice I think scrubs generally look kinda frumpy and not terribly professional. I’m sure plenty of nurses out there would be quick to disagree with me, but I’m coming from an environment where up until a few years ago suits were the norm and even in khakis and sweaters I sometimes feel a bit underdressed. I was able to snag the last XS navy polo they had and got another one in white. Apparently the navy is a new option since students complained that the white were too see-through, although I’m not sure that I’m any more excited about a monochromatic blue outfit. They’ve also added a more “trendy” pants option which in my opinion looks far better than the drawstring or elastic scrub bottoms (here’s a hint, if it comes in unisex sizing, chances are it’s unflattering). Also ordered a warm-up coat which I must say definitely made me feel “nursey” when I put it on over top of the outfit.

My expensive outing at the uniform store was topped off by stopping in the shoe section. The Merrells and Danskos are both regarded as some of the better quality shoes. I’d tried on both in their more pedestrian versions at REI. The Merrells were okay, though something didn’t feel quite right about them. And the first time I tried on a Dansko clog I was befuddled by the fact that so many people seemed to worship these shoes. They seemed to me to be about on par with wooden shoes. Turns out that they’re just worn differently from what I expected. The heel isn’t supposed to fit, per se, they’re supposed to be able to slide up and down freely, “like a flip-flop” according to the saleswoman. I think the word “flip-flop” probably sold me then and there. And actually, knowing that, they did seem a lot more comfortable than during my first experience. So, $95 later, I’ve got official nursing shoes. And you know what? I wasn’t too far off on that wooden shoe thing. The sole of the shoe actually has a woodgrain design stamped into them. Huh. But hey, I’ve worn them around the house so far and they don’t seem too bad. I’ll provide an update once I’ve been on them for more than half an hour.

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