Monday, February 20, 2006

Of Friendship and Mentoring

Have I told you how much it means to me to be a protege of a seasoned Radiologic Technologist. No? Then let me explain: I volunteer approximately once a week at an x-ray department in an inner city medical center.

It's been wonderful, working side by side, with an example of a complete professional of her field, J, the x-ray technologist. She's been in the field over forty years.

It's more than an educational experience. J. has taken me under her wing, so to speak: She's taught me how a medical center works, politically and logistically, including the dynamic of staff relations and how to listen to patients and coworkers. I've seen the big picture of interdepartmental interactions and the small picture of localized departmental work.

She's been able to give me a complete verbal description of a chest x-ray, for example, while doing it. This has been very valuable. Generally, I was her assistant in the room. It's been very exciting not just observing, but operating equipment under direct supervision, of course. I feel that I'll have a great advantage when I begin my RT program this July.

I was able to get into my RT program because of my volunteer work with J. What I've learned, is to trust yourself and your instincts. Mind you, I have little experience to base my instincts on; But I'll learn.

At times, I've said to patients and staff, “I'm just the volunteer.” J. says, “You're not “just” anything,” meaning that she values my contribution, how ever small. She introduces me as an x-ray student.

I've enjoyed working with her very much, not just because she is a massive figure, in my mind, of her art, but also because she's a fun person to be around. And she makes my experience enjoyable.

Moreover, any professional that seeks out opportunities to educate, train and mentor beginners in her field, has reached outside of herself, showing the highest examples of occupational altruism. We as students, often see the reverse in other clinical educators. In contrast, my observations show me that J. sees her work with students as a duty and a privilege.

It's been wonderful to be in this environment to listen and observe the art, practice and philosophy of patient care in the RT field. It's really a gift, one that I appreciate very much.

Monday, February 06, 2006

About this blog

If you're new to the blog and X-ray, I suggest starting from the first posts and working your way up. That way you can read how my experience of school and the direction of x-ray started. I also assume the reader has read earlier posts and can understand related terminology.

What is this blog about? It's about me primarily, a student of Radiologic technology in the Pacific Northwest. I tend to have a dead pan manner, which is seldom overtly humorous.

Twenty months ago I realized I needed to make a change. But I asked myself often, “What combines my skills and experience with my passion for serving others?” I have a background in graphics including photography and design. I've worked in retail for many years. I also taught preschool classes to very young children. My finance made the suggestion that I look into Radiologic Technology.

This path started when I went back to school for my prerequisites. Anatomy and physiology was very enjoyable; I had a superlative educator in my professor. I think many folks in mid-life are concerned about going back to school. Questions abound: How will I make time for other things besides work and school? I'm an artist. I take photos, record music and write. Having time to play is important.

What is more important is finding work that is challenging and rewarding. I interviewed several technologists. They all recommended the school I've been accepted to. I'm very exited to be in this position. The only draw back is that I needed to wait for a year. During that time I ended up taking College Algebra, Chemistry, and Physics. It was a blast. I kept sharp and learned valuable skills in problem solving. I also have foundation courses under my belt that might help if I choose to pursue higher education than an AS degree.

I volunteered in an x-ray department for nearly two years. It was fun but hard because I wanted to do the positioning! I did get a lot of experience in patient interaction though which was wonderful.

See this post.