Clinical Year Essential Supplies
Updated: Jun 29
If you are reading this, then I’m assuming you’re one step closer to entering the awesome world of clinical year. Let me assure you that this was the year I had always heard I would dread but I personally think this is the best year of vet school. It’s the year that you get to apply ALL the information that’s been crammed deep into your brain and put it into practice. Yes, the days will be long, but they are filled with patient interactions, lots of learning, and building upon your foundation of being a doctor. I am so excited for you and hope that you use this year to learn as much as you can!
This post is dedicated to helping YOU get the essential supplies that will help you not only be prepared but efficient. I used most of these items listed throughout my clinical year, but I also added items that I wish I would have had. This blog includes supplies for both small and large animal tracks (I tracked mixed animal FYI)!
Pro Tip: If you are looking to buy any of these products online, save yourself some money by adding this to your browser and you will earn $$$ back on almost all online purchases. This helps me save money and feel less guilty about my online shopping habits LOL.
You all are in a unique situation where wearing masks is the new norm. Depending on your school, the policies may be different on this but I’m assuming and hoping that during this time you will be required to wear them in clinics. I’ve tried many different ones but I currently love the ones that FIGS came out with. These masks have a bendable nose piece that allows you to tailor the fit and have elastic ear loops. I also love that the masks come with replaceable filters and the product is machine washable. If you’re needing to stock up on masks, click here. Note—discounts do not apply to these but are worth the investment!
Each school is different and may require specific color of scrubs but luckily my school was not strict on color or style. Therefore, you probably already know my go-to company for scrubs is FIGS. Not only is the material comfortable, but I truly believe these scrubs maintain a sleek look no matter how much animal wrangling you do throughout the day. I love that almost all their styles have multiple pocket features. My favorite being the Zamora Joggers and Catarina 1 pocket top. I will say though, the only style that I’ve found problematic in the clinics are the Livingston pants, ONLY because the pockets are on your booty. There are none on the sides, so sometimes I’d be trying to put stuff there and end up dropping it on the floor. As for the men styles, I’m not too sure what’s the best but I’m sure any pick will be great. If you want to snag a pair, feel free to save some $ using FIGSxDogtorKristi (No, I do not get commission if you purchase a pair…just want to help you all out).
You’re probably already good on this one, but just in case you’re not, I’ve added my favorite stethoscope here. I have tried many different kinds in the clinics but this one has ultimately been my favorite.
This saved my life when working in the large animal hospital (you can also use them in small animal hospital too)!!! Let me just say that if you do not have one of these, you will probably be asking to borrow a lot of things from others or running back and forth to find supplies. This was hands down the best item to help keep me organized and keep supplies with me whenever I needed. I have included many different options here but ultimately whatever kind you pick will be so helpful. I would keep my mini notebook (or 2) here alongside pens, highlighters, bandage cutting scissors, an inhaler, and so much more. You just slip or velcro it onto you belt and TA DA, you have a tool bag ready to go!
You will be on your feet 90% of the day and it is crucial to find a pair of shoes that are not only comfy and offer good support but are also easy to clean. It took me almost a year to figure this out during my clinical year. I tried so many different pairs and there was always something missing. Until I discovered Clove. These shoes are specifically made for healthcare professionals and offer all the features you would want. They are liquid-repellent, made with stain-resistant fabric, provide support when it comes to comfort and safety (rubber soles that allow firm grip on all kinds of surfaces), and are just easy to clean. The price can be steep for a student budget BUT I must say they are worth it. I’ve gotten every type of bodily fluid on them and they’ve been able to be cleaned easily. I also ran them under water to see if they are liquid-repellent and it’s true. 12/10 recommend. Use CloveKristi at checkout for a free pair of compression socks with your order :) (make sure to add the socks to your cart too!).
Invest in a couple mini notebooks to help take notes in rounds, from clinicians, or just to keep yourself on track during the day. You do not realize how many tasks are asked of you, so writing it down as a sort of checklist will help keep you from forgetting things and feeling like a moron.
OKAY! THIS. IS. ESSENTIAL. One of my classmates had sent out an email with a google doc to bulk order slip leads prior to clinics. I’m not kidding you; I am so glad I joined in and bought a lot of them because you will lose them throughout the year. Trust me when I say it sucks having to scramble for a leash when your patient needs to go somewhere and there’s none to be found. Do yourself a favor and buy at least 10. I bought 6 and ended up losing them all by the end of the year. Opps. Here are the ones my entire class had.
Another staple of clinics that I’d recommend buying multiple thermometers. You will 100% have to do physicals daily which includes taking rectal temps. I cannot tell you how many thermometers I and the rest of my classmates have gone through. So just invest in a bunch from the start and write your name on them! I’ve included some super cute ones that I owned (LOL) and some basic ones that you can order a bunch of.
Scissors + Hemostats + Clip
I had bandage cutting scissors which came in super handy because many of your patients will have bandages from catheters, surgeries, etc. There’s also a 11/10 chance that clinicians will ask to use someone’s bandage scissors, so it doesn’t hurt being prepared!
I’d also recommend investing in suture cutting scissors. I didn’t have these, and I ALWAYS had to ask someone. I really needed these in the large animal hospital when removing jugular catheters and also with a lot of my small animal patient suture removals. Hemostats are another tool I failed to have, and I found that I often needed in the large animal hospital. Here are some of my favorite ones that are great if you're ballin on a budget.
If you’re going to invest in these tools (highly suggest you do), I’d also recommend getting a clip like this. That way you can keep them all together in one place and clip them on your tool belt or keep them contained in your white coat. This is a pro tip that I did not use but saw a lot of my classmates doing!
Pens + Sharpies + highlighters
Do not even question this one. Just go ahead and buy 1000000 pens. You will at least lose 5 a day. Trust me. Next up, highlighters. I know each school’s way of doing treatment sheets is different but I’m assuming that many of them involve highlighters. INVEST IN A BOX OF THEM (or 2). You will be highlighting A LOT of papers (at least if you are at Purdue). Same goes for sharpies. Get these and have them in your pocket because you’ll always be labeling tubes, collars, containers, etc.
You’re going to be touching so many animals and objects in the clinics that you want to make sure you have some sort of sanitization method with you, especially with this pandemic. So, I recommend having some disinfectant wipes to wipe down your phone, tools, etc.
& speaking of dirty phones, I had seen a human physician recommend this product on her Instagram stories once. I have not used it in clinics but am planning to at my new job. It’s a portable UV Smart Phone Sanitizer Sterilizer Cleaner. Who knows how well it REALLY works but it helps me sleep better at night lol. Moral of the story is to always use disinfectant wipes but you can also throw in this bad boy too!
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this and I’ve tried a couple pairs of boots. I had bought a pair of Caterpillar steel toe work boots in undergrad for a trip to Africa and STILL use them to this day. They do have some weight on them (not too much),but protected my toes from being smashed by cows/horses. These boots are also good in water even though they aren’t advertised as being waterproof and have great ankle support. I’ve also included other boots that my friends recommend here!
This is an item I didn’t own but wish I did. Although I didn’t have many rotations in the large animal hospital, I did have to clean my patient’s feet daily on the large animal rotations. So, bite the bullet and invest in your own so you don’t have to run around everyday looking for one.
You definitely need a watch! I use my apple watch and I like it because I can see texts and emails throughout the day in addition to using it for physicals and the time. BUT the apple watch is annoying because the clock face turns off every 10 or so seconds (if you know how to fix this LMK). As long as you have a watch of some sort you'll be golden!
Well, I hope you found this helpful and it allows you to be get prepared and stay organized during your clinical year. Have the best time in clinics guys!!!!!
If you enjoyed this blog or found it useful please like, comment, or share! Any supplies you'd recommend that's not listed? Drop it in the comments below :)