Introduction and disclaimer
MDpocket asked if I would like to review some of their products, and I did after I looked at their site. The company provided me with these items free of charge, with no guarantee of a positive review. I am not being paid for the writing of this post.
MDpocket is one a bazillion companies that sell gizmos and widgets to healthcare professionals, but it is in the smaller group of companies that make truly real-world-useful products. This post focuses only on those geared toward nurses.
The full-size nursing clipboard ($25.95) is the best idea I've seen in a long time. It folds in half, so you can carry a lot of loose paper around securely attached by the clip and all tucked in. The company sells flat bands in different colors to wrap around the pages to secure them, but unless you are working in a stiff breeze, the pages stay put anyway. Add the available add-on pen clip at the top, and you have a winner. I carried this thing around for 2 weeks and saw a lot of interest from other nurses. The clipboard I chose has stickers on the outside with cheat sheets for labs and such, and I got it engraved, which adds no practicality at all but is kind of fun. It comes in a dozen colors. I chose silver. This is an extremely sturdy clipboard. It has a nice, solid feel, and the hinges and clip feel as if they will hold up long-term.
The full-size clipboard, despite its overall utility, is not a good tool for staff nurses who wear scrubs and would use the clipboard for their “brains,” unless they wear pants with fairly large cargo pockets. Even folded in half, it is too big to fit in patch pockets on scrub tops. Perhaps it is called the “white coat” clipboard because you literally need a lab coat for pockets big enough to put the clipboard in.
The company makes other sizes, though, and they look extremely handy for collecting all the bits and pieces of paper nurses end up stuffing in their pockets throughout a shift. I did not review any of the smaller models, but the measurements indicate they would fit just fine in my scrub top pockets. They come with one pad of paper, and you have to buy refills. Having to keep a clipboard supplied with specially ordered paper might be too much for some nurses, but I would use the smaller ones to collect scrap papers I already scribble on, so I don't see this as a huge issue. I often use a letter-sized blank paper folded in fourths anyway, and a clipboard would provide a hard writing surface.
Having said the full-size clipboard is of limited use for your average nurse needing something to fit in scrub-top pockets, I will now go on to tout its utility otherwise.
This clipboard, folded in half, slips neatly into all of my bags except the smallest mini-clutches. It is the size of a very skinny hardcover book. I've found myself using it constantly in situations for which previously I would have had to carry a separate bag with a folder in it or, worse, fold a bunch of paper in half and stuff it in my bag. The clipboard is much neater and also provides a hard writing surface for taking notes in meetings and such. The clipboards come in designs that are not covered with the information stickers, so they could be useful to just about anyone.
Nursing students will want to immediately go buy one of these. Student lab coats will allow the clipboard to go in the pockets, and with one of these clipboards, students can have their hands freer during clinicals. The stickers on the outside are a really good reference, and again, the hard surface provided by the unfolded clipboard will make many a student's day.
Nurses who wear lab coats
Nurses who do wear lab coats will be thrilled with the full-size clipboard. For that matter, the clipboards do fit in scrub jacket pockets, but mine felt awkward. The jacket sagged way down on that side. I dragged out an old lab coat and had no such issues.
The clipboard can be naked, or you can dress it up a little. MDPocket sells a flat rubber band ($4.95) designed for this clipboard that holds pages flat. I thought at first that this would be a necessity, but the pages never slid out so I took the band off. If you need to hold your pages down, I think a normal rubber band would work just fine.
Conversely, the pen clip ($3.95) that attaches to the top is a must-have. Nurses are well known for losing our pens, and I haven't lost mine since I've had this clipboard. There is something satisfying about clicking my pen in place and snapping the clipboard shut, too. It all feels very solid.
MDpocket makes reference cards ($1.99 to $9.99) for various specialties, and these do fit in scrubs pockets. I chose the immunization cards because part of my job is making sure kids are on schedule with those. The smaller cards will fit on a badge retractor, and the information is printed so it faces you when you look down at it. Particularly if you are already buying something from this company, there's no good reason not to throw in some cards. Nursing students will really love the lab values cards.
The NPpocket Medical Reference Guide: Nursing Edition ($19.95) is extremely basic, and I mean that in a good way. It contains information that students will need constantly, as well as information that the rest of us might have forgotten (eg, what color lab tube do I need for coags? or What size needle should I use for an IM injection?). I don't think I will carry it on me all the time, although I could, size-wise. I have given it a permanent home in my work bag. It has edged out several larger references with extraneous information I no longer need.
MDpocket has created practical and useful items for working medical professionals. It has medical staff and takes requests from working professionals, and it shows. These items are practical and dead-on useful. They are very clearly designed by working professionals who saw a specific need. If you are looking for big, comprehensive reference books, find another company, but if you want the Cliff's Notes version that (probably) will fit in the pockets of your scrubs, go to MDpocket.
I think their best product is the folding full-size clipboard, and you don't have to be a medical professional to see its utility. I may buy a few for gifts, because it's the kind of thing you pick up and think, “Wow. This is cool.”