Extra carrying capacity for the medically inclined.
March 17, 2007 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm not allowed to wear cargo pants at work but I need the extra pocket space. I really don't want to wear a bumbag. What're some options?

I'm a nurse and so a uniform goes with the territory. Unfortunately, the cargo pants that were so useful in the public hospitals have been kicked to the curb since I currently work at a private hospital and the higher-ups are more concerned with image than they should be.

I still need the extra carrying capacity though for pens, tape, various bits of paper, scissors, a multitool, a flashlight and various odds and ends that're far more convenient to carry around than to leave in a central location.

I'd prefer not to resort to a bumbag -- vanity I'll admit but I just don't like how they look!

What options are out there?

(I'm a dude, btw (or "murse" as my sister prefers), so purses and the like are out, too!)
posted by Silentgoldfish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can't put stuff in your white coat? Or are those reserved for doctors and scienticians?

If that answer doesn't suffice, have you thought about getting a belt along the lines of what security guards wear?
posted by furtive at 11:53 AM on March 17, 2007

Could you get away with some variation on a cruising vest or fishing vest?
posted by Rumple at 12:03 PM on March 17, 2007

If you can't wear a coat or cargo pants, how about a photographer or hunter's vest? They have a ton of pockets usually available in any number of completely inoffensive colors such as gray, khaki, light green, black and white.
posted by fujiko at 12:06 PM on March 17, 2007

posted by harmfulray at 12:10 PM on March 17, 2007

What do the other nurses do?

I ask because guys can carry bags, too! And if other nurses are carrying bags then you may be able to find a bag solution that works for you. (Though, as a bag-desiring guy I have to warn you that finding good ones that "work" is difficult.)
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:36 PM on March 17, 2007

How about a carpenter's apron? You can get a really inexpensive canvas one at most hardware stores.
posted by kitty teeth at 12:46 PM on March 17, 2007

Warm up jackets, they will give you extra pockets.
posted by 6:1 at 1:04 PM on March 17, 2007

Seconding furtive's recommendation of wearing a light coat over your scrubs, ie a scrub coat. This model comes with 3 pockets, which combined with one or two pants pockets might be enough. Much more convenient than any sort of man-bag, and distinct enough from the white coat doctors wear to avoid any confusion.
posted by twoporedomain at 1:05 PM on March 17, 2007

I use a small digital camera bag. They are usually pretty man friendly and have a long enough strap that I can wear across my chest and not have to worry about it falling off my shoulder.

I usually use it care my hipster pda, my regular pda, pens, knives, etc.

posted by Wong Fei-hung at 1:05 PM on March 17, 2007

Response by poster: Coats and jackets and vests are out, unfortunately. My whole problem is that it's a uniform so outword variations Ancan't be too drastic -- the higher-ups are ludicrously concerned about image (even over healthcare; they've rebuffed all the complaints from the medical staff that carpet's not all that hygenic in a high-care environment!).

Other nurses all either use bumbags or make use of the much larger pockets that volumnous skirts can provide. But skirts are not an option either! :-)

The problem with carrying bags is the carry part mostly: I need two hands free for most of what I do, and dangling things are not a good idea. Especially with the occasional violent and/or grabby patient!

So far I'm liking the carpenters apron but I'd prefer something that can be closed. And, preferably look a little more upmarket. Anything available along those lines?
posted by Silentgoldfish at 1:06 PM on March 17, 2007

Were your cargo pants scrubs cargo pants or just regular pants? Apologies if this is what you have been banned from wearing.

I would also look at white aprons made for restaurant use -- manly, uniform-like, practical.
posted by theredpen at 1:07 PM on March 17, 2007

What about belt clips? A lot of professionals have their phone, pda, or pager on their belt, thus freeing up pocket space. You can also get a sheath for the leatherman.

That said, the solution for me was to simplify and condense. I took my car door remote off my keychain, removed half the contents of my wallet, bought a Utilikey. You could also get a thinner phone, a flat pen, etc.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:08 PM on March 17, 2007

Response by poster: I should points out, btw, that we don't get to wear scrubs in Australia unless we're theatre nurses. One of the things I"m looking forward to about eventually working in Canada! My uniform is a blue, collored shirt and dark blue slacks. My mum reckons it makes me look like a plumber.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 1:09 PM on March 17, 2007

Browse the 511 Tactical site. Choose "Classical Tactical" at the left, and look for shirts.
posted by yclipse at 1:13 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Are non-bum bags an option? I'm pretty sure they make medic bags that are designed for this sort of thing — special slots for the scissors and tape and all that. Obviously the big duffel bags full of BP cuffs and drugs and ten kinds of bandage would be overkill, but I could swear I'd seen smaller ones that would be perfect.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:48 PM on March 17, 2007

(Oops, didn't see your follow up about dangly bags at first. Sorry, disregard.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:52 PM on March 17, 2007

eventually working in Canada!

In Ontario, please; we needed you yesterday...

And: a 'nerdy, but' idea?
posted by kmennie at 2:59 PM on March 17, 2007

Here is a probably stupid answer, but I'll put it out there anyway. Wear the cargo scrubs. First of all, if your direct supervisor and coworkers don't care, how often is the administration even going to notice? And if they do notice, you'll likely only get some sort of warning or write-up the first time it is noted, and that point would be a good time to find out what the potential fall-out would be if you continue to wear them. Maybe you're going to have to learn to nod and smile and apologize profusely when the suits come through and tsk-tsk at your attire.

Note: following this advice could result in the loss of your job if your bosses are crazy.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:02 PM on March 17, 2007

My husband likes these Dockers Mobile. They don't look like cargo pants but have a stealth pocket on the side, above the knee, at the side seam.
posted by selfmedicating at 3:12 PM on March 17, 2007

Can you put your tape on your stethoscope? Clip your penlight to your pocket on a scrub top, and put pen and scissors in bottom pocket of scrub top.

I only carry scissors, pen light, tape and pens. I carry a little case with some extra essentials like hemostats, Sharpies, etc, and leave it at my computer.

If you're working on a unit with rooms stock your rooms with paper tape, alchohol swabs, electrodes, etc. if you can. This cuts down on the stuff you have to carry around with you.

I never wear jackets, only a scrub top. Jackets are nice for the extra pocket room, but they're too hot when you're running your ass off and they get in the way. Good luck.
posted by LoriFLA at 3:31 PM on March 17, 2007

I should points out, btw, that we don't get to wear scrubs in Australia unless we're theatre nurses

OK, this changes everything. I would suggest to only carry scissors, pen, and penlight and stock your rooms. Do the rooms contain a cabinet for supplies? If not, consider going with the bumbag. They are godawful but very handy.
posted by LoriFLA at 3:37 PM on March 17, 2007

There are these 11 hidden pocket pants.

posted by beccaj at 3:41 PM on March 17, 2007

Have you looked into belt organizers for nurses, including a stethoscope clip? Redding Medical has some options.

Does your uniform shirt have pockets? I wear this top in navy blue. In a single front pocket I can hold my stethoscope, penlight, bandage scissors, tape, and a bunch of flushes and alcohol wipes. They have sub-pockets sewn into these front patch pockets to keep things separated, including small loops to hold your pens and assorted whatnots. Is your uniform provided by the hospital or is it a uniform guideline which you use when purchasing your own?

What do you think of "murse?" Isn't that a bit like "lady cop" or "aerospace femgineer?"
posted by chudder at 4:01 PM on March 17, 2007

Why don't you look into some of the holster-style organizers that EMTS wear?

I used to have one of these when I was a photographer. It's basically a long pouch that hangs from the right side of your belt, over your thigh. Kind of like the organizers from Redding Medical that chudder linked. The ones I'd seen were longer than that, and had a loop that optionally would go around your thigh to keep ti in place. Had room for everything an EMT could need from bandages and gauze to notepads.

I used to use something similar when I was a photographer to keep film.
posted by SpecialK at 5:57 PM on March 17, 2007

If you need a place to put some money or your wedding ring, safety-pin them to the waistband of your underwear. That was where my nursing instructor had us put ours (well, our bras, but we were all girls) because bacteria can hide under rings.

If you change scrubs at the hospital, don't ever pin things to your scrubs! There will come a day when you forget.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:23 PM on March 17, 2007

Response by poster: Once again: no scrubs! S'one of the (many) reasons I want to work in Canada cause I reckon it's ridiculous we don't. S'been many a time I've had to change into scrubs anyway when I've had body fluids spray on me. Uniforms are provided by the hospital at least.

What do you think of "murse?" Isn't that a bit like "lady cop" or "aerospace femgineer?"

Probably if it was someone other than my sister but I know how proud she is of my career (to hear her talk I run the hospital!) so in her case I know it comes from a good place.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 11:13 PM on March 17, 2007

royal north shore e.d. nurses are all in scrubs.

most stuff goes around their necks.

they seem to carry pen, tape, scissors and panadol. panadol in pocket.

...loving the murse....
posted by taff at 4:24 AM on March 18, 2007

Makeup artists and some hair stylists wear these tool aprons which you can attach to, or some with, a belt. Sort of like a carpenter's apron but maybe you can find one that looks nice?
posted by marylynn at 5:35 PM on March 18, 2007

Something like this?
posted by callmejay at 8:58 PM on March 18, 2007

Here's a little ditty bag that might work well for you. Mostly they're worn by ravers / geeks / goths. But I've seen high fashion ones as well. They're called "holster bags" because they hang in your armpit like a gun holster would, and then have the double loops that a detective holster has (with a single strap of cloth across the back). They're pretty cool and very convenient.
posted by zpousman at 1:52 PM on March 19, 2007

« Older Seeking One Laptop Demo Per Child   |   Best neighborhoods for general surgery resident at... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.