Off Duty: When I travel ... always take a cheap stethoscope

Surely holidays are about escaping work, so why would you want to take a reminder of it with you?

I first took a stethoscope with me to Asia on my medical school elective, and was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that I quickly passed through security and custom checks once it had been discovered in my luggage.

The stethoscope certainly appears to be an international symbol of a doctor.

It overcomes language barriers to explain to people what I do, which normally results in a positive response.

Of course, taking up valuable packing space, it should have additional uses. It can make a great toy to entertain young children. If you were having a sleepless night due to excessive noise, you could even use your stethoscope as emergency ear plugs, or indeed use it to help communicate to people who are hard of hearing. And of course, you might even find it useful if you needed to examine fellow travellers or locals if unwell.

I take a basic and cheap stethoscope with me, so that I do not have to worry about it getting lost or damaged. In fact, I usually take a stethoscope that I have obtained for little or no cost. Sometimes at the end of my trip, I have left it behind with someone who will benefit from it.

One of my friends used a stethoscope while attending to an unwell passenger during a flight, and now as a result, he tends to be automatically upgraded when he flies on the same airline.

- Dr Shanker Vijayadeva is a GP in Middlesex.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Practices face £50,000 pension cost hike under plan to raise employer contribution to 20.6%

Practices face £50,000 pension cost hike under plan to raise employer contribution to 20.6%

GP practices could face a five-figure hike in pension costs under plans to increase...

What medico-legal challenges will GPs face in 2019?

What medico-legal challenges will GPs face in 2019?

The MDU's head of advisory services, Dr Caroline Fryar, predicts which medico-legal...

GP practices providing online consultations doubled in 12 months, survey suggests

GP practices providing online consultations doubled in 12 months, survey suggests

The proportion of GP practices in England providing online consultations has almost...

Dr Nikita Kanani: Why peer support is the key to building a stronger general practice

Dr Nikita Kanani: Why peer support is the key to building a stronger general practice

NHS England's acting director of primary care Dr Nikita Kanani says connecting with...

Next-day GP appointments three times as likely to be missed as same-day bookings

Next-day GP appointments three times as likely to be missed as same-day bookings

Patients are nearly three times as likely to miss appointments booked with GP practices...

Outsourcing GP services overseas could be 'legal minefield', experts warn

Outsourcing GP services overseas could be 'legal minefield', experts warn

Using digital technology to outsource GP consultations overseas could leave the NHS...