What Are the Different Types of Medical School Supplies?

Clara Kedrek

Students attending medical school need a number of different supplies in order to receive the proper training and experience needed to become doctors. Medical textbooks are one of the most important supplies, although with the growth of the Internet, many reference materials can be accessed online. Proper clothing — including professional clothes, scrubs, and lab coats — are also important medical school supplies. Tools such as a stethoscope and reflex hammer are also items required to properly learn and practice medicine.

A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used for performing surgeries.
A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used for performing surgeries.

Textbooks and other educational resources may be considered critical medical school supplies. Traditionally, students would buy many textbooks at the beginning of the semester and read them as their different courses progressed. With the advent of increasingly available electronic resources, many students can utilize online textbooks that their medical schools subscribe to. Some students rely on professor-derived syllabi as their primary resource for learning the course content.

A stethoscope.
A stethoscope.

Other than textbooks, many medical students invest a significant amount of money on exam review materials. Specially-designed review books often help students study for end-of-course final exams, and also help the students excel on certification tests. Many students buy practice questions, either available in book form or online, in order to familiarize themselves with the types of questions that might be asked on exams.

Basic medical school supplies include a reflex hammer.
Basic medical school supplies include a reflex hammer.

Another type of medical school supplies is appropriate clothing. During the clinical parts of their training, students interact with patients and need to dress professionally. For some specialties, business-appropriate clothing is worn. Other more procedure-based fields such as surgery or obstetrics require students to wear scrubs. Often, medical students wear short, white laboratory coats, as opposed to the longer white laboratory clothes worn by doctors.

Medical students also need to buy equipment that will help them properly perform a physical exam on patients as part of their medical school supplies. Basics include a stethoscope, a reflex hammer, a penlight, and a tuning fork. Although in many cases more elaborate equipment such as otoscopes or ophthalmoscopes are provided for use in hospitals or clinics, some students buy these supplies for further practice and familiarization with their use.

Laboratory equipment represents another category of medical school supplies. During anatomy classes, medical students traditionally dissect cadavers in order to understand the mechanics of the human body. They might purchase the scalpels, gloves, and scrubs needed for this field of study. Participating in microbiology labs might require that students buy supplies, such as glass slides, microscopes, and reference books. In some cases, however, the cost of these supplies is included in the tuition.

Many schools have students pay lab fees in order to offset the costs of supplies.
Many schools have students pay lab fees in order to offset the costs of supplies.

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