EMS Tips Health and Wellness Operations

Morning Trip to the Dentist

I just finished my second of two annual teeth cleanings. As the hygienist examined my teeth and gums she was making notes in my chart. Next to me was a tray of sterile instruments and she was wearing gloves and mask, but each time she picked up the pen (which I could only hear her doing) I wondered about the cleanliness of her pen.

When she was done I asked her about the procedures for making sure the equipment and surfaces in the exam room were cleaned for each patient. She carefully explained the process.

“What about the pen?” I asked.

She responded, “In ten years as a hygienist you are first person to ask me about the pen.”

She continued, “The pen is cleaned with all of the other surfaces, like the chair, computer keyboard, and computer mouse between patients.”

When was the last time you cleaned your pen?

Do you clean your pen, all surfaces in the ambulances, and ensure that every patient has clean equipment like blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes?

Other healthcare professionals do.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.