Rationale: Medical facilities are usually environmentally controlled very efficiently. This is an effort to make sure the patients are as comfortable as possible during their stay. Now, everyone is different, so we all adjust to colder and hotter temperatures differently. Your first instinct as a medical professional may be to wear a lab coat or a long sleeve shirt under your scrubs. This may be accepted in your medical facility. However, if you will be assisting the physician in any sterile procedures, long sleeve shirts are NOT recommended. Not only are they are source of bacteria that cannot be washed during a shift, but they can hold onto cotton pills from being washed. If those happen to fall into a sterile solution, it compromises the procedure.
Rationale: In the clinical setting, medical professionals shouldn’t be looking to make a fashion statement. We should be presenting ourselves in a more conservative manner that gives the patient as little reason to make judgments as possible. The make-up that people choose to wear can be very open to ridicule if worn too thick or too bright. This can be a distraction for the patient, and may even put them in a position to not take you as seriously if they dislike it. People can be prejudice about a great many things; the more aware we are of these this, the better we can avoid these situations. Make-up should be worn to look natural or very light.
Rationale: The stethoscope is one of the most common tools seen in medical facilities. The stethoscope allows the medical professional to listen to sounds inside of the patient for a number of different reasons. This is also known as auscultation. Physicians can use the stethoscope to listen to lung sounds during deep breathing, the different valves of the heart as it pumps, or the sounds of the intestines as they digest. The front line professional typically uses the stethoscope for listening to the arteries of the patient while taking a blood pressure reading. Once palpated, we place the stethoscope’s diaphragm onto the brachial artery to listen for the appropriate beats.
Rationale: The types of scrubs that are available differ by function and color. It is up to the medical assistant to find the type of scrub that works best for them. If you are inclined to keep your equipment on hand at all times, it will behoove you to select a scrub style that has more pockets on the top and bottom. These styles also carry with it a higher cost. The colors are typically selected to match those of the facility you will be working for. Surgical jade scrubs are generally used during sterile procedures. Other colors are chosen by the facility’s management team, or to denote a certain department that you work for.
Rationale: Our own personal fashion should not come into play in the healthcare environment. Nail length is one of the primary ways that we can protect our patients from bacteria. By keeping our nail length to a short and acceptable length, this limits the amount of residual dirt and bacteria we carry into an examination room with us. These bacteria could be passed at any time; the most sensitive of times is during lab procedures or during a sterile procedure. So, make sure that you touch base with your medical facility and determine the specific wishes of the physicians on staff.
Rationale: There is a lot of movement in the medical profession. While you are with a patient, you will only move within the confines of a small examination room. But, in the office of the medical facility there is a constant hustle and bustle performing lab procedures, taking information to the physicians, getting equipment out, returning equipment, filing patient information and answering phones. It is important to buy a pair of shoes that is both comfortable and functional. You will spend a lot of time on your feet, and you may encounter floors that become slick with bodily fluids or fluids used in a lab. For this reason, make sure you purchase shoes that are non-slip. These could help protect you from a fall.
Direct surgical intervention
Rationale: The types of scissors that medical assistants use won’t have any direct surgical intervention at all. Our scissors are more practical in nature. Because we tend to use a lot of tape and equipment that requires measurement, we keep special scissors on hand that can cut all types of material. These materials can be different types of tape (surgical, cloth or paper), casting molding material that is generally thick and tough, even Velcro straps when accommodating a specific need with a brace. Since all different situations can occur, it’s best to be prepared. Some facilities supply these, others require that you have your own.
Rationale: Hair cuts are subject that can be very open to judgment with patients. Men should keep the hair at a reasonable length and well combed. Women with hair of longer lengths should always keep the hair pulled back into a pony tail. This not only protects the patient from getting hit with your hair, it protects you from getting bacteria in your hair that can be spread around. Women with shorter hair must also use some form of hair restraint, such as bobby pins. Hair should always look clean and well kept. This can change with the facility, so always check in the rules and regulations.
Rationale: The sphygmomanometer (blood pressure meter) is a staple of the medical assistant’s tool box. This tool is comprised of a round, measured dial that gauges the blood pressure of the patient, a cuff that is made partly of Velcro to serve as a temporary tourniquet, and a bulb connected to the blood pressure meter by a long rubber tube. This device is used on every patient, during every exam. Certain facilities require that you own your own personal sphygmomanometer, others supply you with one. Make sure that you are always comfortable with its use, because it reveals some of the most crucial information about a patient’s condition.
Rationale: It is understood in the medical field that front line employees can wear lab coats while they work. However, just as with scrubs, there are sometimes color restrictions. Physicians generally wear white lab coats, and some institutions don’t like there to be confusion between front line medical staff and the physicians. The lab coat color is typically the same color as your scrubs would be. Lab coats allow you to keep equipment close by, and allow you to stay warm within the clothing parameters of your department.