Medical bags are extremely important in helping students and medical professionals be their most productive by acting as a convenient way to store important medical supplies, equipment and other items that are used on a daily basis.
A good medical bag is one that is easy to carry, can hold everything you need to get through the day, is easy to clean and fits your personal needs without compromise.
While choosing a good bag may feel a bit overwhelming there are a number of things you can do to help you decide on the appropriate medical bag for work and/or school, which we’ll discuss in detail in this post.
Identify your needs ahead of time
When you’re looking to purchase the perfect medical bag, whether for school or work there are a number of important factors you should consider based on your personal/work needs.
The amount of storage space and compartment options the bag has, the material it’s made out of, it’s overall durability and practical options for carrying the bag can make a huge impact on whether or not the bag be useful for your particular situation.
Storage space and compartments
When choosing a medical bag determine what items you’ll need to carry on a regular basis and make sure the bag can comfortably accommodate those items.
Based on your situation the items you carry may differ and can include items such as medical supplies, a stethoscope, laptop, writing supplies, notebooks, PDA, pocket guides, books, snacks and various other items.
While you’ll want to choose a bag that can accommodate your needs try not to choose a bag that’s too big or bulky as it can become difficult or uncomfortable to carry around, especially if you find yourself moving from place to place throughout your school or work day.
Material and durability
The material and durability of your bag can be equally important to it’s size as your ability to clean the bag, maintain it’s condition and handle it comfortably will depend largely on the material.
Many companies use soft fabric, nylon, polyester and/or leather materials to make their bags, so choose one that’s easy to clean and comfortable to carry around.
Also consider the long term durability of the bags material and if necessary look for a bag that offers a good warranty or return policy in case it doesn’t live up to its promise.
Carrying methods and options
Another important aspect to consider is how you plan on carrying your bag.
If you aren’t fond of handle straps or tote bags than maybe a backpack would suit you better.
Likewise if you don’t want to wear a backpack or carry your bag over long distances than look for a bag with wheels that you can easily wheel around as you move from place to place.
If you do like totes or shoulder straps choose a bag with comfortable and adjustable straps that will fit your carrying needs.
Over time the way you carry your bag will play a big role in whether you enjoy your experience with the bag or not and whether it feels like a convince or a chore to carry around.
Function vs fashion
Choosing a bag that is both fashionable and functional is great if you can find a bag that fits those requirements, however if you only have the option of choosing one or the other go with a bag that is functional and choose a color that works for you and your wardrobe.
Picking a bag based on how it looks and not how will it functions can end up costing your money and time if you end up not being able to use the bag because it doesn’t fit your medical supplies, is too heavy to carry around or gets dirty or torn to easily.
Pricing and warranties
The cost of a decent medical bag can vary anywhere from twenty dollars to several hundred dollars based on numerous factors such as the brand, the bags material, overall durability/warranty, features and size, and where you choose to buy the bag.
The best way to determine whether or not a bag is worth the money is to consider the options we mentioned above.
Look for a functional bag with the appropriate storage space (based on your needs) that is going to be easy to carry and clean, and is fairly durable, so that it will last you years.
If the bag comes with a warranty that may also be something to consider as it may allow you to put the bag through its paces without being too concerned about money if the bag breaks.
Purchasing a bag that’s 25% – 50% higher than you’d expect to pay for a good medical bag may actually save you money and truly be worth it if the bag lasts you 2x, 3x or 4x longer than a less expensive, but less durable bag would.
What is a medical bag?
Before you choose a medical bag it’s important to understand what qualifies as a usable medical bag and what is considered a ”dedicated” medical bag.
Depending on your work or school needs a medical bag can be any bag (tote, school bag, messenger bag or duffel bag) that is effective and efficient at carrying your medical equipment and items.
In other words you can dedicate a bag as your medical bag as long as it is able to meet your requirements and perform well for medical purposes.
In certain professions such as nursing there are a number of nurses that will choose a non “dedicated” bag that’s both functional and fashionable for their daily work needs because it’s durable, comfortable and can carry all of their medical and non medical items throughout their work day.
There’s no need for them to carry a heavy duty medical bag as they don’t need the extra storage space and bulk that goes along with it, and they can get away with a sturdy bag that’s fashionable and useful both inside and outside of work.
Likewise a nursing student or working nurse may choose a sturdy travel backpack to carry all of their equipment rather than go with a heavier duty “dedicated” medical bag.
A paramedic or EMT on the other hand will likely choose a “dedicated” medical bag that is designed for maximum storage capacity, durability and offers excellent compartmentalization of important and necessary medical items.
The primary difference between a usable medical bag and a dedicated medical bag is whether or not it is designed specifically for medical purposes or if its designed for another purpose such as fashion, carrying books/laptops and other non medical items.
- Usable medical bag = Any functional bag that can act as a medical for basic work purposes
- Dedicated medical bag = A bag that is designed specifically and solely for medical purposes
Either type of bag can be an excellent choice, however choosing the appropriate bag will depend largely on the demands of your work and the policies set by the healthcare center you work for.
Backpacks, Tote Bags, Messenger Bags and Duffle Bags
When it comes to the types of bags medical professionals use there are typically four different types of bags that are popular within the medical community which include backpacks or school bags, tote bags, messenger bags and duffle bags.
These bags can vary greatly in terms of design, carrying methods, functionally and storage space.
For example if your a registered nurse and you work at a hospital you may prefer to carry a tote bag or shoulder for all your medical items, however if you’re a student you may want a backpack with wheels that can accommodate your books, laptop and other nursing gear.
If you’re an EMT than a duffle bag or tote bag may be your best options as it can store a lot of medical items and be carried and deployed easily and quickly.
Nurses or doctors that work in more administrate roles may want to choose a lighter/smaller messenger bag to help them carry what they need to fulfill their role.
While these are specific examples any bag can be used for any of these fields, it just depends on what you plan to carry with you and what you’ll be using it for daily.
See what others are saying
One of the best ways to decide what medical bag you should buy is to see what other people are saying about the bag.
You can learn a ton of information about choosing a good bag by searching for medical bags on Amazon.com for example and reading the reviews of customers who have purchased the bag to see what the pros and cons of the bag are, so that you can make an informed decision before you buy a bag.
You can also ask your colleagues what medical bags they use and see what they like or hate about their bag.
Being able to speak directly with someone who has had personal experience with their bag can be greatly beneficial in helping you make decision as you narrow you choices down.
Lastly create a check list of what your must haves are when it comes to a good medical bag and strike off the bags that don’t meet your needs.
While you may be swayed by a bag that exceeds some of your must haves, but struggles in other departments you may be better off with a bag that hits all its strides and is reasonable in all categories, just make sure that your must haves are must haves and not would likes.
7 Questions to ask yourself when buying a medical bag
If you’re still struggling to choose a bag that meets your needs than ask yourself the following questions to gain more insights into what might be holding you bag for buying a great medical bag.
- Will this medical bag solve my daily work needs?
- Will this be my only bag or do I plan on owning more than one?
- What bags are my coworkers using and do they like their bag?
- Do I plan on using this bag outside of work?
- What makes this bag stand out from the others?
- What don’t I like about this bag?
- Would I recommend this bag to a friend?
- How would I change this bag if I could change it?