For you to be a really good medical student and a good practitioner in the future, you really have to sharpen your skills in all clinical areas. This can be achieved not only by reading tons of books but also by clinical practice. Below are some of the essential equipment for a medical student;
As my lecturer always says, clinical examination is key to making a good diagnosis. As you know, the steps of clinical examination are inspection, percussion, palpation, auscultation. During the process of auscultation, a stethoscope is key.
You don’t have to own a very expensive one at first, but if you really want to build your clinical skills, ensure you get a good one.
This will not only help you keep time, it will also help in your clinical skills. For example, when taking a patient’s temperature, you need to take it for about 2 minutes. This also applies to checking the pulse rate and respiratory rate. In case you don’t want a watch, you can use a stopwatch. Plus, I think a wristwatch generally makes you look like an organized gentleman or lady.
This one is self-explanatory. Thermometers are used to measure a patient’s temperature. A patient can have either a high temperature, which we call a fever, or a low temperature, which is called hypothermia, in my terms.
There are two types of thermometers you can buy, either a mercury thermometer or a digital thermometer. The Mercury thermometer uses mercury, while the other one uses batteries.
The advantage of the Mercury thermometer is that it is very accurate(this may not be true, depends on the manufacturer). But the disadvantage is that it is very delicate, so take care of it.
A pen touch
A pen torch is particularly useful for Central Nervous System Examination. It is a small torch, with very low light. The light can be used to check if a patient’s pupils are dilating normally to light. It is often used to verify if a patient is dead, of course with some other test.
The is can be used to test a patient’s reflexes. Take note, it is not your regular hammer, so don’t borrow your father’s hammer, this will cause more harm.
A portable Oximetry
A spirometer is used to check a person’s SPO2 levels. SPO2 is basically how well oxygen perfuses into your body tissues and therefore is a very important tool for a medical student. We can measure SPO2 on the fingers, toes, or even the ear. I recently posted an article talking about this device, how it can be used, and how to interpret it. You can check it out for more information.
Just to give you a brief summary of what it does, it measures a person’s SPO2 levels. SPO2 shows how well oxygen reaches tissues (Tissue perfusion). A patient’s SPO2 can be low in diseases like severe pneumonia or bronchitis. The normal SPO2 is above 94%, levels below those can be life-threatening, and so those are a piece of very important pieces of equipment to have as a medical student.
Also read: What is a Pulse Oximeter