My clinic must-haves (AKA: organization 101)

Clinic Must-haves
 Pictured: Clinic Must-haves by weebles featuring tech accessories


Organization is key in the juggling act we call dental school. Here are some of the things that make my life a lot easier in clinic and it just so happens that they all fit into scrub pockets!

1)     A good planner

Paper planner (Pocket-sized so you can keep in your scrubs)
– Smartphone calendar (My absolute favorite: Fantastical; see #9 below)

2)     Two pens

– Why two?  Someone will always ask to borrow one and not give it back right away, and that will be the precise time you need your pen.
– The ‘7 year pen’ is supposed to last 7 years (I know what you’re thinking: “If I don’t lose it first…”)

3)     Business cards

Info to include:
– Your name, clinic location, phone number (see below)
– Other side can include Appointment information (Date, time)
Sources for printing:
– Your school may print them for you
– Order cheaply through websites
– Print your own using free templates online

4)     Google voice

– Call and text patients (and vice versa) with a different phone number from own phone
– Voicemail accessible remotely, automatically transcribed for you

5)     Documentation of paperwork

– Snap a photo with your phone to ‘scan’ them
– Keep track of what you’ve turned in with Evernote or a spreadsheet

*Remember, anything with patient information should be encrypted and password protected to be HIPAA compliant, there are lots of resources online on how to do this.  Check with your school about specific policies.

6)    Scrubs, scrubs, and more scrubs

– Discount scrubs online
– Great fundraiser to sell ASDA scrubs at your chapter

7)     Lip balm

– My personal favorite: Aquaphor (very moisturizing, long lasting and not too glossy so guys can use it too)

8)    Mints

– More professional than smacking gum around your patients and faculty
– A dentist with bad breath is never good, even when you wear that mask

9)    Timesaving smartphone/iPad apps

– Free checklist maker for multiple lists like ‘Classes’ or ‘Clinic’
– Email any of your checklists with one click
– Share lists with other people for group projects, etc.
EvernoteFree notetaking app
– Attach and open PDFs, Word docs, spreadsheets easily
– Cloud system that syncs/saves automatically
Fantastical (Apple products only)
– Calendar app around $5
– Type out agenda item such as “Lecture Thurs 8-9” like a text and the app automatically figures out what you mean

These are, of course, just my opinion for what I find helpful in clinic.  What are your ‘must-haves’ for clinic or pre-clinic?  Are you more of an old-school paper planner and pen kind of a student, or do you use your smartphone for everything?  Do share your tips here!

~Jiwon Lee, Columbia ’14, president





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Comments (8)

  1. Ashley Phares - Contributing Editor

    I wasn’t loving my current app for “to do” lists, so just downloaded your suggestion for Wunderlist. SO much better than my old one! Thanks for the recommendation, Jiwon 🙂

    • Jiwon

      So glad to hear that Ashley! I was skeptical that one to-do list maker could be so much better than another but it really is so easy to use. Feels so good to check those boxes off!!!

  2. Rob

    I have a binder with a zipper. I’d be in serious trouble without it. In it I keep my schedule (day planner), pen, pencil, competency forms and such (copies before turning the original in), and blanks of several forms that I know I will need (block switch forms, cashier forms, patient assignment forms, and the like). With the binder, I’m a well-oiled machine. Without it, I don’t know where I’m supposed to be after lunch.

    • Jiwon

      Binder with a zipper? I’m picturing one of those old school TrapperKeepers but those definitely had velcro…I digress. That is so true about needing not only your records, but blank forms! Blank forms save lives during competencies:) And you know I love that you called yourself a well-oiled machine like a cool robot Rob!

    • Jiwon

      Tell me how you like it! It is super cool how you can just type it out like a text and it knows that you mean THIS Thursday 6 pm to 7 pm even though all you write is ‘Th 6 -7.’ And it is stylish like you Eve, which of course is most important 😉

  3. Eleanor Harper

    Perfect timing for this article, we start clinic in mere months! Can’t wait to try some of these things out 🙂

    • Jiwon

      Thanks Eleanor! Pre-clinic requires a lot of organization too, I remember it was such a pain when I lost a sign-off sheet once and that’s how I learned the old wise ye lesson of taking pictures of stuff. You are super on top of it already though so I’m sure you have some great tips of your own!

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