Community Nurses - Transporting Equipment Issues

  1. Hello everybody,

    I would like to start off by explaining my situation, so please read through my post as I would really appreciate your help and input.

    First off, I am not in the nursing profession, I am actually studying Product Design at university, and am in my 3rd and final year, which I have a major project for which is aimed primarily at community nurses.

    I do know some community nurses in the mid-south of England, who have identified that they have a problem with transporting their equipment to and from clients for various reasons, ranging from poorly designed trolleys that break every 4 months, to unprofessional looking crates/boxes, and even methods that are unsuitable ending in loss of documents.

    I am therefore looking into designing a Modular Trolley (primarily aimed at community nurses, however there are other areas that it could be used in)
    For me to design this properly, I need as much information as I can get identifying the problems community nurses come across.

    I have an online survey set up on SurveyMonkey which I would really appreciate all of your feedback. And of course I will keep checking on here if anyone would like any other information on what I am doing, or even if you are interested and want to see where this is going.

    Below is the link to the survey, it is only 10 questions long and is completely anonymous and free, and would really help me with my degree.
    Thank you all for you time
  2. Visit H.R.Logan profile page

    About H.R.Logan

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 12; Likes: 1
    Student; from GB


  3. by   classicdame
    might help with USA audiences to define Community Nurse. I believe we might refer to them as Home Health or Visiting Nurses. Correct?
  4. by   H.R.Logan
    I believe thats right, they are usually called community or district nurses in the UK, basically nurses that will visit clients at their home ether because they have private healthcare or they are just unable to leave their home.

    Over here some district nurses will travel tens of thousands of miles a year visiting clients, and with the amount of equipment, information and documentation they may have to drag with them, it can be quite a struggle, often they will be forced to use unsuitable methods like shopping trolleys which break far too easily, are difficult to carry up stairs, have no organisation properties and are not suited to the amount of use they get.
  5. by   monkeybug
    I looked like a pack mule this morning trying to carry in everything. We have one large tote that gets the basic equipment taken care of, but if we decide to take anything extra it means more bags. Hate it!
  6. by   H.R.Logan
    Exactly my point monkeybug, I'm guessing the tote bag was supplied for you? Good for basic things I suppose, but I can imagine organisation often goes out the window. And depending on what you throw in there in a hurry, you can end up with holes.
    If you over fill it and it gets heavy, do the handles get uncomfortable?
  7. by   monkeybug
    Quote from H.R.Logan
    Exactly my point monkeybug, I'm guessing the tote bag was supplied for you? Good for basic things I suppose, but I can imagine organisation often goes out the window. And depending on what you throw in there in a hurry, you can end up with holes.
    If you over fill it and it gets heavy, do the handles get uncomfortable?
    The handles aren't long enough to carry it as a shoulder bag, so it usually goes on my forearm, which gets very uncomfortable. Yes, the bag was supplied for me. We got very simple canvas bags wth just a couple of pockets. Everything is a jumbled-up mess, and it's cumbersome and unwieldy.
  8. by   H.R.Logan
    What would your be your preferred method? like, would it be better if you had a trolley with ether a static/adjustable handle?
  9. by   monkeybug
    A trolley would be nice, but then it would be awkward when I have to walk up stairs. Maybe a trolley with shoulder straps and a retractable handle for pulling when the wheels are in use? Also pockets, because I hate just throwing everything in one opening.
  10. by   H.R.Logan
    I was considering stair climbing wheels, as they make easy work of stairs, but I can see how shoulder straps would also be useful. Organisation will be a main point of this, most likely smaller separate compartments/pockets as well as a bigger compartment.
  11. by   mclennan
    Oh my gosh, I was a Public Health Nurse and did home visits for 4 years around a major city. I, too, looked like a pack mule most of the time. One big bag with my most basic equipment. Usually I had another bag for a specialty item - a baby scale or Cholestek machine, etc. Plus another tote that held my purse, water jug and laptop.

    For a while I tried a luggage suitcase, like a pilot's carry-on with wheels and retractable handle. I had to walk some very patchy sidewalks and climb stairs and it ultimately proved too boxy and cumbersome not being able to use as a shoulder bag or backpack. Here are some basic requirements for my perfect home visit nurse gear transporter:

    1. We need our hands free. We have to be on our phones, pushing elevator buttons, knocking on doors, writing notes, holding a pepper spray and umbrella. It's gotta be a shoulder or backpack of some kind.

    2. It needs "feet." We have to visit some really filthy homes and the less of the bag that comes in contact with surfaces the better.

    3. With that in mind, it should also open farthest away from the feet - I'd love something with a stiff enough "form" to it that it would hold its shape while standing and open from the top. I know PHNs who have had cockroaches crawl into their bags!

    4. Options for compartments. Have a range of inserts available so we can decide how to organize our stuff.

    5. Lightweight, strong, waterproof and washable.

    6. A curve or flexible place where it comes in contact with a woman's hip. I have a brilliant laundry basket shaped like a kidney so you can haul it around comfortably on one hip.

    7. Padded , thick shoulder strap that's adjustable. A gel or memory foam pad would be great.

    8. Lockable zipper pulls. And metal zippers, the plastic ones ALWAYS split or break.

    9. Don't want it to look "too medical." Some of us don't want to be ID'd as nurses in some areas and it also protects patients privacy.

    10. Finally, a small outside pouch/pocket for quick access to pepper spray/cell phone.

    Hope this helps!
  12. by   H.R.Logan

    Thank you very much all very useful information, would you be able to fill out the survey linked on the first post? I need more surveys to show as evidence for my project.

    I've heard some horror stories about clients houses before, some are really grimy!

    I'm looking into modular compartments, so you can de/attach what you want to the trolley/bag.

    I really have a problem with the current shoulder straps that are out there, they are no where near comfortable for long journeys or heavy loads.

    I also know exactly what you mean with plastic zippers, they are rubbish!

    As for the 'look' of the product, I'm not trying to make it look purely medical, so it could be used in other professions, but will hopefully be customisable so you can get a kind of individuality about it.

    All of that does help, please if you get the chance, fill out my survey so I can have evidence in that format.

  13. by   mclennan
    Survey done - please keep us posted!!!
  14. by   H.R.Logan
    Thanks, will do!