Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Folding Clipboard for Nurses by WhiteCoat Clipboards: Is a clipboard really worth thirty dollars?

Folding Clipboard for Nurses by WhiteCoat Clipboards: 
Is a clipboard really worth thirty dollars?

Whitecoat Nurses Clipboard- Lilac - Nursing Edition
available on Amazon and other retailers

Price:$30.00 @ Amazon                                                                    
When I saw another nursing student with a foldable clip board, I knew I wanted one just like it. A semi circle of students gathered in awe around to see the new nurses gadget.  I was one of them. After clinical, I promptly returned home and googled "nurses folding clip board".  And, it wasn't long before an image popped up on the screen indicating it was available on Amazon. After some strategic "hints" to my husband, weeks later, a clip board was delivered to my door.  I was pretty excited.

Yet, I  cannot understand why in the world so many students are willing to pay $30 for a thin foldable aluminum clipboard. It looks more impressive in the picture, but when you get it out of the package you soon realize it is a thin, overpriced aluminum clip board covered in stickers.  I also feel, it would be better if this cheat sheet was affixed to the interior rather than for the outside of the clipboard for everyone to see.  The stickered outside basically announces to the world that you need a cheat sheet to perform your role as a nurse.  If I was a patient and saw my nurse or my nursing student using this clip board I would be scared, with the belief that she was not competent! In fact, during clinical, a skeptical patient eyed the conspicuous clipboard in my pocket and interrogated me as to what was inside.  I pulled it out and assured him it was only a clipboard and nothing more. On the other hand, another patient, also in the healthcare field was quite impressed and asked where he too could purchase a folding clipboard.  My instructor liked it too.

There is nothing special that justifies the $30 price tag at Amazon. True, this clip board is very useful, as it folds in half and can fit into an oversized scrub pocket. Instead of folding and scrunching my clinical papers in my pocket, pulling out what looks like a pile of trash from my scrubs each time I step in to see a patient, I can simply pull out the clipboard, unfold and my papers are neatly opened.  But, as useful as this item is, the stickers on the outside are too conspicuous.  Additionally, the selected tid-bits of information are arbitrary or not very useful.  The conversions and volume equivalents are not rounded to the nearest whole number.  Therefore this is basically useless when we need to memorize the equivalents for med calc.  The pupil size chart is pretty ridiculous.  It is not as if we will be holding up this clipboard with the other hand while we assess the patient with a penlight in the other hand.  The pain scale of five faces is cute but useless considering we use a standard 1-10 pain scale.  I can't picture pulling out this clipboard to have a patient identify his pain visually.  If the patient could not respond I imagine the hospital has a standard visual chart for such purposes.  The only possible useful graphic is the injection sites.  But it includes the dorsogluteal site which nursing students are discouraged from learning and not tested on.    There are no pockets, grooves or slots  for a pen. Overall I don't feel it is worth $30.  Had I seen this clipboard in a store and actually folded it and unfolded it a few times,  I would never have purchased this item for $30.  I was certainly underwhelmed. In my opinion, I'd rather have one of those traditional nursing clipboard with the built in calculator. 

Overall, I found this clipboard useful during my clinical experience.  I wouldn't be complaining if it weren't so overpriced. I suppose the only thing I can do now is keep it and get my money's worth. I've personalized it by placing blank adhesive labels on the inside and using it for writing notes such as passwords and pass codes so I don't lose them.  I also plan to cover up the useless conversions with white labels - since they only serve to confuse me when trying to memorize conversion factors.

 I can keep a bunch of papers tucked neatly inside as the ultra- tight clamp holds the papers in for dear life. The clamp is so tight I can secure a wrinkled, balled up wad of papers inside as well.  It is certainly much better than keeping a wad of crunched up papers in my pocket. I could clamp off my finger too if I am not careful- a tongue too, and don't ask. If you are the type that doesn't mind spending $5.75 for an overpriced Vente coffee at Starbuck's, then you may find this to be a worthwhile purchase as well.  If you consider this clipboard will "only" set you back about five Starbuck's coffees, I guess it isn't so much money after all.

Advertised "features" include:
  • Full size folding nursing clipboard- thin and flimsy
  • Lightweight aluminum construction- thin and flimsy, poor paint job that has tiny bubbles
  • HIPAA compliant design to hold sensitive patient documents- doesn't really mean much except it folds so you cant see patient data, your pocket  can also be HIPAA compliant if you fold sheets of paper
  • Great for nursing students- nursing students are willing to try any gimmick or gadget advertised to make nursing school easier
  • nurses or any healthcare professional- no real RN would be caught dead with this clip board covered with cheat sheet styled notes with no real application for real patient care. The fact that these stickers are on the outside will not give patients confidence when they think that their RN cannot function without a cheat sheet.
  • Powder coated finish for long lasting durability- spray paint finish covered with fine bubbled texture
This WHITECOAT nurses clipboard is available on Amazon in a variety of colors. I also noticed that the college bookstore carried it too for $25- still overpriced but $5 cheaper than Amazon.

So it is now my final semester and I am in preceptorship wearing REAL nursing scrubs.  I have discovered this clipboard to be totally useless as it can not even fit into the oversized pockets of my real/ authentic nursing scrubs. I don't think standard scrubs come with bigger sized pockets. Not only that, on several occasions I nearly amputated my finger when I opened up the clipboard enclosing a piece of my finger inside the joint in the center.  I got rid of the student folding clipboard and replaced it with a "professional" and more user friendly three ring binder just like all the real nurses in the hospital use.  With continued use, not only did I find this clip board to no longer be practical but it is a danger as well! 

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