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Essential equipment

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Kara47, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Kara47

    Kara47 Active Member

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    Hello All,
    I'm a student looking at purchasing some tools over the coming year, prior to graduating. What do you find the most useful or wouldn't be without? Thanks.
  2. Nat Smith

    Nat Smith Active Member

    Hi Kara,
    It depends where you're going to be working. If you go to work in the public system or as an associate in a private practice, it's highly likely you would use all of their instruments and equipment. Possibly no need to buy anything in that case.

    However, if you're going out on your own, you will then need all your own stuff. Yet again, that depends on what you will be doing...

    Doing Aged Care, you would need your basic instrument sets, a foot stool, dom case etc, not to mention your own autoclave at home.

    In your own private practice, you need your patient chair, operator chair (i would highly recommend a saddle chair for yourself), cabinet, light, autoclave, instruments etc.

    It all gets very pricey. You can buy things outright or choose to lease equipment. Various pros and cons either way.

    If you are going to work as a private pod, before you do anything, I would suggest you get a good accountant to advise you how to run things and what to spend money on.

    All the best,
    Nat Smith
  3. Kara47

    Kara47 Active Member

    Thanks Nat. I'm looking at working for someone in private practice short term, ultimately setting up my own. Have been self employed in another industry for past 10 years, so have some skills (but always willing to take more on board). I'd like advice on hand tools mainly - do people use Blacks files in every treatment/ what type do they prefer? I've used a few different types of clippers & found some definitely lighter & better cutting action with less wrist strain than others( of course the more expensive ones!) How many people use Beaver blades & how often?
    Another student showed me Size 9 scalpel handles (we use Size 3 at Uni) - size 9 was much smaller & fits in the hand nicely (better for women pods?) I'd like to buy some bits & pieces during the year & try to have 10 sets by the time I finish. (I've been told I need at least 20 sets by other pods - thoughts on this?)
    Any input greatly appreciated!!
  4. Nat Smith

    Nat Smith Active Member

    Most of your instruments will be personal preference to a certain degree. My "basic set" consists of:
    - 1 pair of clippers
    - Blacks file
    -# 3 scalpel handle
    - burr

    I personally like the traditional double barrel big-ass clippers for those thick gnarly nails (the ones that scare some patients who think you've pulled them out of the garden shed)...Westminster's are the most expensive, but I think are the best..I have 2 pairs that are still going strong after 15yrs. I tried buying cheaper ones and have had some fall apart with fatigue fractures & screws falling loose all the time. Don't waste your time trying to save money here..buy quailty.
    As for Blacks files, I recommend going as fine as possible...many patients don't like it very much.
    As for scalpel handles, I like a #3. I only ever use #10 or #15 blades to fit. I find the #9 handle ok for ID corns, but not for working on thick callused heels.
    Burrs are a definite personal preference. I still love the Ruby burr. I got some off Ebay for about $3 each. Many people love the tungsten burrs, I personally think they can be too aggressive and don't leave a very nice finish..but, as I said, they are particularly a personal preference type thing.

    Overall, I would say you're looking at approx $200 a set give or take (based on my version of a basic set)...so do the math on that...

    As for needing 20 sets? Yet again, depends on your workload and ability to sterilize during the day. 20 would be plenty if you're just in a clinic. I currently rotate through 40 sets with mainly clinic work and one day of ACF's a week. If you do ACF's, I'd recommend more than 20 sets, just to keep up with sterilizing.

    Having 40 sets allows me to do 20 at an ACF one day and then go into my clinic the next day and do 15, without having to get them all sterilized the night before. I do a few loads throughout each day, but without the stress of running out because you haven't had time to get things cleaned and re-bagged overnight.

    As for Beaver blades, I only use them during a PNA. I have one "PNA set" (because I'm not likely to book more than one in single day)
    My PNA set consists of:
    - 1 pair Thwaites clippers
    - Beaver handle
    - Forceps
    - Small spatula
    - 2 x small galley pots
    - 1 small curette ( a tip I picked up on here for administering phenol effectively - works a treat).
    - 2 sizes of Tournicots

    You'll find that once you get out there, you'll work out what you need and what you like. If you're going to work for someone else first (highly recommended also, before going it alone), I would say wait and see what they have available for your use and try things out to find your own preferences before you buy...
    Good luck,
    Nat Smith
  5. Kara47

    Kara47 Active Member

    Thanks again Nat - excellent advice. The expensive set of clippers I have are Westminister, they are great to use, so I will definitely buy more after hearing how long they last.
  6. Mr C.W.Kerans

    Mr C.W.Kerans Active Member

    Best of luck in your future career.
    Best to buy the best you can source when you are confident that you need it. A common mistake is to overspend initially on instruments that you think you need, or a well-intentioned colleague recommends you to get. You will know in a short time what suits you best - its personal, and there is nothing to beat holding a new nail nippers (stainless steel, cantilever, leaf spring is my preferred choice) in your hand to feel its weight, balance, comfort in your grip, etc rather than looking in the podiatry supplies catelogue. Multiple sets of instruments are essential but you can build up sets as your workload increases - basic set plus special instruments for particular purposes. It is an expensive time but leasing is a tax-efficient way of getting surgery furniture. Costs - rent, commercial taxes, utilities, dressings and other disposables - all need to be factored in to start-up costs, and a good accountant will in most cases more than repay the fee you pay them.
    Enjoy yourself! If you stop enjoying what you do, time to do some serious thinking. A lot of us just run out of enthusiasm in time and this is reflected in declining standards of practice and patient care, sad to say; enjoy your work and make sure you learn something new every day.
    Good luck.

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