Doctor, What Do You Always Keep In Your Lab Coat?

Nicole Karlis on 12 Apr 2013 at 9:00am

Twenty doctors reveal what they "must-have" when they're seeing patients.

Doctors rely on great patient relationships to build successful practices -- and a few tools that can never leave the pocket of their lab coat. That is, of course, if they actually wear one.

From iPads to rulers to reminders, every doctor we spoke to has at least one must-have in their medical quiver:

“I have to have my reader glasses since as I have gotten older my up-close vision is just not the same!” - Dr. Pamela Henderson

“A tape measure." - Dr. Robert Grenley

“I have neither owned nor worn a lab coat in my 30 years of practice. I introduce myself to patients by my first name and try as often as possible to speak in everyday terms rather than using impressive sounding medical terms that often are a mystery to my patients. I wear slacks and a nice dress shirt or sweater, no coat and tie. I feel no need to impress my patients with my doctor-hood. I impress them with my genuine caring that they receive the results they are looking for in a safe and friendly environment.” - Dr. Ron DeMars

“I don’t go anywhere without my camera and marking pen. Being a Plastic Surgeon everything is about precision and my marking pen goes everywhere with me. Other things include a pen, ruler, internal hospital phone.”  - Dr. Alberto Di Giuseppe

“My magnifying loupe so I can always examine one's skin very closely!” - Dr. Bruce Katz

“My ‘must have’ is my iPad mini, and that's for a number of reasons both professional and personal. The iPad mini is the perfect size to tote in my lab coat pocket and it is linked in to our electronic medical record system and also serves the dual clinical function of a quality camera with which I can quickly snap before and after pictures of patients. On a personal note, I can even call my wife.” - Dr. Michael Jones

“The thing I use most often in my lab coat is a dermatoscope and it’s a special type of magnifying light that allows me to see a little bit deeper in the skin when I’m looking at moles and skin lesions. It’s not just a simple magnifying glass. It’s a special light that allows dermatologists to see the features of moles and skin lesions a little bit clearer and deeper. It’s my favorite thing in my lab scope.”  Dr. Narin (Dr.Joe) Apisarnthanarax

“I always have a ruler. It helps me measure lesions and map out locations.” - Dr. Dina Strachan

“Since I'm a plastic surgeon I like to keep my white coat stream lined and nicely pressed, so I don't overload my pockets. I keep a black pen and a red pen to write notes and diagram procedures for patients and a prescription pad. Sometimes my staff will hide little chocolates in my coat pockets because they know how much of a sweet tooth I have.”- Dr. Donald Yoo

“In my lab coat, I have to have constant reminders to treat my patients the same way I would treat my loved ones or my family members. I have to have patience, integrity, a caring attitude and enthusiasm for my work that benefits my patients.” - Dr. Devinder S. Mangat

“I have a tape measure that I use to measure breasts.” - Dr. Lane Smith

“Smart phone…that’s about it.” - Dr. David Archibald

“My iPhone -- it contains: my schedule, email, texts, contacts, music for operating room, you name it.” - Dr. Joseph Alkon

“Well, I haven't worn a lab coat in 28 years!  I wear a suit to the office, and I don't even own a lab coat. But if I *did* have one, I'd always have a pen or pencil. I'm always wanting to jot down notes or ideas, and I'm almost never without a writing utensil.” - Dr. Steven Denenberg

“I mainly just keep a pen in my pocket, and occasionally a headlight to look in the nose.  I like to keep my pockets relatively empty.” - Dr. Nima Shemirani

“I need a tape measure and a camera  to get through my work day.  I take measurements all day long, and the tape measure reminds me that my art form is tailoring people’s birthday suit.  I take lots of photographs.  I find that as I study my photos at the end of the day I make observations that I did not necessarily pick up in person.  Suddenly I notice that one shoulder may be higher than another or that the spine has a slight curvature so that the two sides have subtle differences. These tools are indispensable for my individualizing each person’s procedure.” - Dr. Mary Lee Peters

"I would say at this time of technology I definitely need my smartphone." - Dr. Rami Ghurani

"I don't typically wear a lab coat. The one thing I always have handy is my iPad. It is loaded with before/after photos and keynote presentations. I use these to illustrate expected changes relevant to the patient at-hand." - Dr. Peter Bray

“I keep my prescription pad, a ruler to measure things, pens, a surgical marker to mark the areas, and a dermatoscope, which is a surface microscope, to look at things more closely, that’s what I keep in my pocket.” - Dr. Nelson Novick

“I keep my iPhone and [a] photo of my kids all the time.” - Dr. Wilberto Cortes

*Additional reporting by Nicole Fukuoka

Now it's time for you to answer: What can't YOU go a day without? Sound off in the comments section below!