Echoing Kevin's message ...
As a fellow nurse (critical care, code team, bio-hazard, ECMO, emergency/disaster nurse, etc., blah blah blah)
and future anesthesia provider, I'd like to chime in. My recommendations, based on carrying tools/knives in healthcare for years, my dream work-knife would include:
1. Oxygen-tank key-hole
- It would have an E-cylinder key built into it. Many nurses already carry some kind of knife or cutting tool. As mentioned earlier, this is the same thing as an oxygen wrench, but not mentioned is that an e-cylinder tool not only opens life-saving oxygen tanks, they also open other types of medical gas tanks such as nitrous oxide and medical air (like the emergency tanks on the back of anesthesia gas machines)
- as nurses are seeing delays in access to equipment or help from other staff due to COVID guidelines. Having this tool built into a knife would open up a market that doesn't really exist (high-quality knives with healthcare people in mind)
. Knowing I have this special tool in my pocket (one I probably will never need to use)
would give me peace of mind and warrant the decision to purchase.
- if possible, it would be best if this was incorporated into a traditional knife design and not added as a gimmicky extra piece. I agree that putting this hole where the spydy-hole exists could present the potential for injury, it is the right idea (should be steamlined)
. May I make the recommendation of incorporating it on the spine as a metal backspacer? If I was able to apply some of my college years studying engineering, this could be a strong solution, further reinforced by liners and scales. If I could make the further recommendation of putting the hole off-center along the spine, so that the knife handle could achieve more torque but be gripped similar to T-handled tools? This would allow gripping the knife in a way that the tool should remain in a closed position under normal circumstances. (another option: put this tool hole inside the pocket-clip, but I think this is an inferior design prone to failure).
2. Lightweight/Skeletonized liners
- Any weight savings are appreciated by healthcare workers, as they are already masters of the EDC: carrying shears, hemostats, flashlight, stethoscope, knife, stethoscope, medications, NS flushes, etc.
3. Slim design (smallest profile possible from scale-to-scale)
- Scrubs are made of thin and often stretch material, thick knives and their handle edges can irritate the skin over the course of a 12 hr. shift (often 13 hours)
- flat with a slightly chamfered border (see above)
5. Deep pocket clip
- The last thing we want to do is advertise to our patients, whether they be the mentally ill, a convicted felon, or a victim of stabbing is that there is an easily accessible knife in our pocket. Fun fact: public hospitals take care of inmates in standard hospital rooms (they get transferred to us when they become too sick to take care of)
. A pocket knife can be easily grabbed during many tasks (bending over a patient to adjust a monitor, helping them eat, helping them up to use the restroom etc.)
- Here are some real-life examples of we care about this:
Exhibit A: corrections officer has his own gun turned on him in an MRI scanner - he was murdered and the prisoner escaped https://www.deseret.com/2007/6/25/20026 ... om-custody
Exhibit B: nurses raped/tortured at gunpoint while security guard hid: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... hides.html
Exhibit C: 1/4 nurses are assaulted on the job https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-p ... violence2/
-I've personally been kicked in the head and consequently received a concussion that necessitated an MRI-scan. (Sedatives aren't perfect; it's hard to notice the previous MMA fighter's shin quickly advancing towards your temple when that shin is attached to a patient you weren't assigned to. But hey, you're bound by a code of ethics and decided today might be a good idea to follow them i.e. you're walking by a patient room and notice they have their hands around their endotracheal tube and say to yourself, "Hey, maybe it's a good idea to prevent this patient from ripping that breathing tube out of their airway so they won't kill themselves".)
- point is: our jobs are risky enough, we don't need to advertise our tools could be used as weapons against us.
6. Pale-Blue / Pale-Green / Gray / Black pocket-clip options
- The most common scrub colors are light blue or light green, but varies depending on the facility. See above as to why we want these tools to blend into our uniform. Black is always in style and my EMS brethren love their All-Black-Everything tools, but if a company really wanted to help in this front, they'd make available the option to purpose a light-blue, light-green, and grey pocket clips.
- it'd be really great if this could be accomplished without the color flaking off overtime i.e. cheap paint. Perhaps powder-coating or anodization could be used.
7. Easy to wipe/wash, impervious to body fluids, and resistant to rust
- Unlike what some others mentioned, most tools in this trade get wiped down with a sanitizing wipe at the end of the shift (similar to chlorox wipes)
. The active ingredients in these wipes are often the following: bleach, isopropyl alcohol, n-Akyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chlorides, or n-Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides. I'd bet that a smooth g-10 scale to be the ideal material for scales; copper might oxidize when subjected to cleaners.
- It would be an extra cherry-on-top to be able to autoclave it, but very few healthcare workers have access to this method of cleaning. Nnonetheless would lend to the knive's marketability.
8. Reasonably priced
- Not cheap, but not prohibitively expensive ($50-150). Hospital equipment has a tendency to get "borrowed", lost, broken, or just plain gross. When buying any tool for my job, I often look for the Goldilocks equivalent. An example would be buying a mid-range stethoscope: I want to be able to hear everything that's happening inside my patient well, it should be reliable, and if it disappeared, I wouldn't be out hundreds of dollars. All healthcare tools should be considered dispensible to some degree.
9. Easy and quick one-handed opening and closing
- There's a reason I recommend the paramilitary 2 and it's compression lock to colleagues (it works great for me and I'm a lefty)
. Often we're already holding whatever it is that needs to be cut with one hand. Rarely can we afford to use one hand for any simple task during an emergency (if we could grow a 3rd arm, we would)
10. Blade Steel = high-edge retention, low corrosion, and a decent toughness (S110v, M390, s30v, etc.)
Mostly we're cutting soft plastics and cardboard, but we have an appreciation for laser-sharp steel that could also pry off various types of plastic fittings/connections. Most healthcare workers leave their tools-of-the-trade in their lockers, never to be brought home. No one wants to bring home their tools that have been contaminated in blood, sweat, sputum, vomit, feces, bed-bugs, MRSA, C-Diff, prions, etc. As such, blade steel with high-edge retention is desired
11. Blade shape: pointy with a belly and a flat-grind
- Don't round the tip, often we need to puncture things with a tip (if we need to cut something off of the patient, we'll use shears/scissors and never a knife)
. Additionally, there are times I've been grateful to have the wedge shape of a flat-ground blade; using the edge as a wedge to pry open a plastic connection (connections on gastric-tubes, various respiratory tubing/connections, etc.)
12. Full-size blade
- Just shy of 3 inches (to avoid any legal trouble in differing jurisdictions/states and to make it less-intimidating to the knife-averse)
If I could take a production Spyderco knife and incorporate these features, I'd start by looking at the paramilitary 2 or 3: make the scales thinner and smoother, make the blade just less than 3 inches, have a deep-pocket clip available in many colors, and incorporate an E-cylinder hole somewhere. To add a little flash to it, laser-engrave the scales with a Caduceus symbol or Red-Cross symbol
I think if you could provide this to us, you'll find difficulty keeping these stocked and on the shelves (word spreads fast in healthcare)
. This would the gold-stand healthcare knife to which all others are compared to. Not to mention the enormous, but softly spoken appreciation from the healthcare community. This knife could: 1. make our lives easier, 2. help provide better care to our patients, 3. bring us an extra level of protection and safety.
While I'm hopeful something will come from this long-winded soapbox distraction away from my anesthesia studies, I'm not holding my breath. Sal or Spyderco, if you do read this and are interested in my thoughts, please find a way to email me through my account registration. It's likely I won't be checking this forum often. I'm a huge fan of your products: the paramilitary 2 has been my go-to healthcare knife for years. I've used it care for victims of Hurricane Harvey and it has been my companion in many life-saving tasks. Unfortunately, I've replaced it this month with a thinner knife by a competitor (it fulfills some of the characteristics listed above that the paramilitary 2 does not)
Thanks for coming to my TED-talk.
Name redacted: SRNA, BSN, and some other fancy titles