Nursing bag for hospice RN?

  1. I have been a hospice RN for about 3 months now, and am working on improving a few things. One of the main things I want to improve is the way I carry all of my paperwork and equipment. Working out in the field is completely new to me. As of now, I have an oversized tote with two separate sides, one for paperwork and one for my stethoscope, BP cuff, pulse oximeter, thermometer, etc. As my caseload grows, it's becoming a hassle to carry this bag around all the time. I know I also need something with three compartments to be compliant with state requirements. Ideally, I also want it to be something that looks nice, as we wear business casual as our work attire.

    The other day I saw an RN with another hospice who had a bag that seemed perfect, and I should have asked where she got it but I was busy. It was a rolling caddy, with at least a couple of side zipper pockets on the outside. When you unzipped the main compartment, the flap could be attached to the telescoping bars behind it to hold it open as you work. The flap also had multiple clear zipper pockets for pens, paper clips, etc. The main compartment seemed very spacious, allowing at least two if not three compartments.

    Any suggestions on a bag similar to this? I haven't had much luck so far searching online. Or does anyone have any suggestions for a different bag?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Visit crossingfingers10 profile page

    About crossingfingers10, BSN, RN

    Joined: May '10; Posts: 78; Likes: 21
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Hospice, ER


  3. by   curiousauntie
    I carry a bag that is provided by my company. It is about the size of a messenger bag with multiple zippered compartments, but no flap.

    The biggest compartment holds my clipboard (a lightweight one! The plastic ones or the old fashioned brown ones with the silver holder weigh a ton), a folder with blank clinical note(s) blank physician orders, blank narrative notes, a few copied pages for reference, blank time sheets and at the back of the folder, separated by a piece of cardboard, my completed clinical notes. My calender (a 12-month, a month at a time one, kinda like the ones teachers use. It is 10 inches by 13 inches or so, with days big enough for me to do my daily schedule for each day a week at a time. It is a lifesaver for me...I seem to be getting a bit forgetful as I get older). Oh yeah, the travel chart for the patient I am seeing at the time.

    The compartment to the back holds my stethoscope, BP cuff and a baggie with alcohol swabs to clean both.

    The smaller compartment on the back of the bag has a baggie with gloves, another with skin prep, another with hydrocolloid dressings (2x2 and 4x4) and one with tape, band-aides a few little foil packets of Neosporin and a couple of little bottles of alcohol gel for hand sanitizing.

    A small zippered pocket on the front of the bag has my pencil case with WAY too many pens bandage scissors, hemostats (which I have never used, I just have had them since graduation and they are like a good luck charm), my tape measure for MACs. Also in that pocket is a tube of hand lotion (in the summer it also has sunscreen as driving with the window down gives me a "trucker tan" on my left arm which is a bit unattractive, to say the least) and this pocket is where I put my keys. I also carry a reference from my company that has tabs for eligibility for the most common hospice diagnoses and the Karnofsky and PPS, BMI and FAST scales. Two little mesh pockets at the back of this compartment hold my calculator, a business card case for cards for outside vendors, home care companies and the like. Post-It notes (invaluable for making sure I don't forget to order meds, equipment, call for lab results etc...) and my pulse ox.

    There are 2 pockets on the side of the bag, one holds my glasses case and the other my cell phones.

    This is what I carry every day, into and out of each patients home, into the office (but never into my stays in the car!) And after re-reading the above, now I know why my shoulders hurt at the end of the day!

    We all were also given portable file cases where we keep our travel charts in our cars and I keep a big stack of blank clinical notes, physician orders and narrative notes along with more reference material and books. And even more pens

    I hope this helps. It is what I find I need on an everyday basis, but each nurse has their own needs. I used to carry so much stuff in my car that I never used, and after 5 years I have weeded it down to what I have listed above. I can start my day at a patients home without needing to go to the office, and actually except for needing to hand in time sheets, I could do my job without ever going to the office except to pick up more blank forms!
  4. by   curiousauntie
    Forgot to add...
    I wish I could have a wheeled case, but my company does not want the home care nurses to use one. I am not sure why, but I am sure part of it is infection control.
  5. by   Whispera
    The issue with the wheeled case is infection control for sure. Consider what's on the floors of some homes. However, the spots where you have to put your unwheeled cases can be equally as questionable.

    This past weekend I saw an interesting wheeled case on either QVC or HSN. It was by their designer Joy Mangiano, and looked perfect for what you're talking about. I think it was about 90 dollars, which is kind of steep, but maybe worth it. Check out QVC's and HSN's websites.
  6. by   crossingfingers10
    Thanks for the replies so far! I may check out some more messenger type bag options and I'm going to hunt through QVC and HSN as well.

    Exactly my thoughts with the infection control; some places where unwheeled bags are placed are not necessarily going to be any better. Technically, according to our state requirements, we're supposed to place a paper towel down under our bags whenever they must come in contact with a table, floor, etc. That isn't realistic but if if everyone did this 100% of the time, then the infection control issue would be lowered and the type of bag wouldn't be much of a concern.
  7. by   kids
    I'm 5 years into using this bag and love, LOVE, love it.
    The zipper failed on my first one (by my own fault) about a year and a half in and Hopkins shipped me a replacement free.|5673&id=18456
    It has a red-tabbed zipper compartment on one end that holds a 1 qt sharps container (keeps it seperate per OSHA regs).
    Two 'big' center pockets and 2 thinner outside pockets (one of which zips open flat) and all the zippers have eyelets for locks (for HIPAA). I've been able to jam a crazy amount of files, supplies and equipment into it.
    Last edit by kids on Jan 1, '12
  8. by   kids
    Oops double post.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    I used an EMT type bag from Hopkins for 15+years that worked well when I was doing ton Infusion and home care. I really like above bag kids suggested.
    Link to Hopkins Nursing Bags & Totes

    They have a rolling case

    Wheeled Home Ca
    re Bag
  10. by   Whispera
    I was told to carry a newspaper with me when I entered a home, and put that under where I put my bag. Supposedly the ink in newspaper has a germicidal quality to it... And, it's less obvious, almost as if you were carrying it anyway and forgot to leave it in the car, that it would be to pull out paper towels to put things on.
  11. by   Ginapixi
    I don't know about other people, but don't ever come to my house and put news paper on my couch to put your bag down! especially if it is a rainy day.....
    We are supposed to use news paper as well, i cannot stand it! however i have plenty of plastic bags from the grocery store and will gladly put that under my bag - and put all my trash in before i leave and throw it away;
    i have used chucks at times;
    as for bags, i did buy a nice wheeled one, however they are too much fuss for me to put in the car (too heavy to heave to the passenger seat, too cumbersome to put behind the driver seat on a rainy day and no access to my phone and note book i put in) and it got way too heavy once you climb several flights of stairs, the wheels don't do so well there; also hated dragging wheels through dirty streets so i would always carry it; yes it fit every thing including a pal top, but my back did not appreciate it; i found the same with any bag and now carry 2; one with all the tools and one for papers and lap top and i am balanced and depending on the visit i only take one in;
    if this helps.....
  12. by   tdrynelle
    I use this same bag (|5673&id=18456) and love it. Highly recommend!
  13. by   iluvlu
    Did you look into the Zuca bag? It comes with plastic compartments and is light weight and you can sit on it if you need to. It hold up to 300 lbs! You can remove the outer layer and throw it in the wash if you want. I use it to travel and always get tons of complements on it.

  14. by   nurseprnRN
    check out these great bags at tom bihn (disclaimer: no financial relationship to disclose). they're pricey but the one i got six years ago still looks brand new since it wears like iron. my daughter had a couple of them in various sizes-- backpack, laptop carrier, travel bag... love 'em.
    tom bihn bags - laptop bags, laptop backpacks, laptop cases