Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nursing Procedures

Well, I've finished the second week. As I've said it's nice how the beginning to this program is so leisurely. I've been having fun.

I hope my Nursing Procedures class picks up. We've been talking about ethics, legalities and guidelines all week. To be sure, those subjects are critically important. And I've taking them to heart. Today we covered the Patient's Bill of Rights and the civil legalities involving them. It's dry stuff. The instructor seems to know this when she looks up with a wry smile.

I'm more a hands on kind of person. The true nursing labs are coming. More positioning class next week too. It'll be that way through August 25. I start my first clinical on Monday 28.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Defecogram: A fluoroscopy procedure in which the patient empty their bowels while seated.

The point of the discussion was to emphasize communication skills. The instructor stated that often the doc does not inform the patient what to expect. So it falls on the technologist to explain. This works because there is very little prep. They're usually done on women, because of suspected prolapse of the rectum.

Chuckles began. The instructor told us, “Yeah, there's not a lot of pamphlets on it.”

“How does the technologist induce the bowel movement?”

“It's a mixture of instant mashed potatoes and barium,” we were told. “The way we put it in the patient is with a caulking gun.”

Laughter erupted.

“So you have to hide the gun. But when you start they look down and ask, “Is that a caulking gun?”

One of the students works in construction. He said, “I'm going to have to tell the guys about this!”

“It's a fairly common exam is this town,” we were told.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The first days of positioning class were a real joy. I found that because of my volunteer experience (with J.,) I picked up the basic positions very quickly: RAO (right anterior oblique), LAO, right ventral decubitus ect. In fact, I was able to help out other students as they grasped the concepts. I have to admit that I was a bit a show off.

I know I'm bragging, but when I demonstrated the Right anterior oblique the instructor said, "excellent.” To my fellow students I'd say things like, “You need to keep the arms above the head so they don't obliterate the area of interest.” The instructor told me, “We aren't concentrating on the specific positions. We are learning the very general ones.”

She asked me if I'd done work in an X-ray department before. “Yes,” I said proudly, “I volunteered at X clinic with J.” It's occurred many times this week how much of a mentor J. was to my experience. And how I feel that the volunteering gave light to the concepts introduced this week, and ones to come.

One of the interesting thing about this quarter is that another community college is linking to our program. It's a little off putting to share the instructor's attentions with people that aren't even there physically. And the technology making this possible isn't without its many hickups and burps. It's funny to hear the distance learners reply in unison, “Yes.” When asked it they've grasped the concepts being presented.

I like how the quarter is being structured by introducing a little at a time. I probably wouldn't feel overwhelmed anyway, but it's nice that we're only taking eight credits to start. Fall quarter will be a full-time load, thirteen credits. One of the credits is a medical terminology course which I've already taken at another school. My credits matriculated so I'll have twelve credits for Fall.

Tomorrow I start the Nursing Procedures class.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

In anticipation of Monday

I expect what I feel now is beginner's jitters. I'm excited, and since so much of my life during the last 27 months has been spent in anticipation for the start of the program, I find I'm looking forward to Monday. Next week will start the two classes that will prepare me for the clinical that starts late August: Positioning & Related Anatomy and Nursing Procedures.

The director of the program told us on Monday July 17 that we could expect to do chest and upper extremities by the end of Summer quarter. Most of us sat in stunned silence. “Frightening prospect isn't it,” he said. We mutually agreed.

But that's just one reason I feel this is the best program. I don't think you can find that many programs in the nation that have you doing procedures the first quarter of the 23 month tour. Wow.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

More on the first week

It's an off day from school. I return to the Intro to Radiologic Technology class I have mostly finished. I've received one assignment: write a summary of an article from a medical imaging magazine. I chose an article about the new 64-slice Multi detector computed tomography system. It can acquire a large volume of images from the head to the upper femur in one data acquisition. This can save time in trauma situations and it reduces radiation exposure.

The subject of mammography came up. The instructor made the statement, “The female breast must be the most important part of the human anatomy.” This brought chuckles. He asked why we thought this might be so. One poor fellow said, “Because it provides food for future generations.”

Outright laughter erupted at this statement. We learned that it is a positive outcome of political lobbying in Washington DC. “What legislator in their right mind would vote against their key constituents by voting against women's health.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

First Week

Photo from my dinner table.

After a delightful weekend of outdoor music and sweet repast with my beloved, I began my adventure in X-ray school. The morning began like most beginnings feeling of butterflys, transportation woes, getting lost on the campus, plagued my first day. I have to say, I'm not in love with the campus: a little cold and little large for my taste.

But I do like my class; I've struck up, and been struck up in conversation. Mostly it's revolves around the usual questions: how'd you get here ect. I do like the people. They seem a lively and inquisitive group.

We started very typically enough, with a review of school and program policies. It has to be done. The instructor starts by saying something about expectations and resources and talk about the ramifications of teaching. It's called house keeping and it needs to done.

For the past three days I've been immeshed in the class called, Introduction to Radiologic Technology. I guess it's been going fine. I feel like I've been through it all ready. I try not to let on that I feel that way. The instructor asked, “What is influenced by source to image distance?” I said, “It's involved in the inverse square law.” The instructor scolded me, “You're not supposed to know that yet.” The correct answer is – divergence.

One thing I do like is how leisurely this start seems. Just the one introduction class for the first week.