Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Honey Moon is Over

The honeymoon is over, this according to the main instructor. She was joking. But the statement is important because it shows that expectations are higher. She was referring to the natural acceleration of positioning practicals and the corresponding clinical comps, as it should be.

The way it works is you must show that you can do the exam with minimal help from the technologist. You must then show your ability on the same exam no less than one week later. Only then do you fully comp an exam.

This week I got my second comp on CXRs (chest x-rays.) I then flew solo with CXRs.

In positioning classes, we finished up the upper extremities and are into the shoulder girdle. On Monday I have a chapter quiz on the forearm, elbow and humerus. Later that day I'll have a practical on the whole upper extremities. I'm looking forward to it because I can then ask to comp those exams.

We finally dived deep into radio technique. The lecture on Friday began with an IT worker setting up the distance connection. I have to say that the link worked better than I thought. Call me a big baby, but I was initially a little put out that our class would be the distance element as the instructor is an employee of our campus. It's called sharing. The students at the originating end usually are the distance students. That's the way it should be. I signed up to this program because it wasn't a distance link. Okay, peeve relieved.

Yes, the technique portion was very basic. But I found that there were gaping holes in what I knew. No big surprise there, only I found I was having a hard time with mAs and the whole remnant beam thing. I'll see if I can meet with an instructor next week.

Clinical was a blast as always. I liked how the six view spine exam I observed a young tech do really served to cement my understanding. The standing t-spine a-p and lateral reminded me a lot of a CXR. The tech did something else that reinforced my experience. She did all her a-p's and then did all her laterals. That is helpful to the patient because you don't need to move them much between projections as they are already centered to the bucky. I wonder who showed me that concept first?

I also observed several Fluoroscopy exams. Fluoroscopy is a technique for creating "live" X-ray images of a living patient. The Radiologist presses a foot switch to control an X-Ray beam that is transmitted through the patient. What's interesting is that they're often video images displayed on a monitor. Occasionally the radiologist will freeze an image out of the video. I was told by an older tech to watch the exams carefully as I'll be doing them significantly later in the program. I found that watching the action was helpful.

Friday, September 22, 2006

My First Comp

What a week! I've had fun just doing chest radiographs. I should say that I comped the chest PA and Lateral. My first comp ever, on the third week of September 2006. I love the sound of that.

I think I must have done about twenty chests this week. A lot of them are TB screens. I have to smile here because the techs like to hand the chest exams to me to make their load lighter. I'm okay with that, but I have other exams to comp as well.

As for the didactic learning, we covered a broad spectrum of topics. From the model of an atom, to the anatomy and positioning of the elbow and forearm, to computed radiography. This morning I awoke with a smile. I'm in love with this experience.

Overall, the hospital experience is growing on me. I feel like I'm at my third home. Seriously, I know it will pass, along with my infatuation with the classroom, but I love the hospital at which I'm fulfilling my clinical. My second home is my workplace in retail.

Nearly all the techs are women, which is great because I primary prefer to work with women. I like their temperament generally.

These techs in particular are personality plus types. One has been very helpful. I'll call her Mary. She treats me like an equal with respect and interest to my involvement in the process of acquiring the image. She understood when I explained that I am a kinesthetic learner, that I learn best by doing.

Two of the others are from eastern an European countries and speak in their lovely, lilting language to each other. One of them has a fantastic sense of the absurd; she's fun to be around. She clutched her ears during a particularly lively exam with a pediatric. The child had a healthy pair of lungs. The child was expressing her extreme displeasure at the indignity of being held down for each radiograph of a bone study.

I'm finding it difficult to submerge the impulse to say, “I know,” when a tech says something to me. I recognize I should just nod and say, “okay.” I'm here to learn first, and secondarily to demonstrate knowledge with comps. Just don't step on the toes of techs. The last thing I want is have tech say to me, “Just listen, Okay?”

Finally, I love the patients. Even the ones who are so out of it that all they can do is grunt when I ask them a question. It's a tremendous rush to produce a radiograph of diagnostic quality. I know I am adding to the total contribution in a positive way to the patient's recovery.

Thanks for reading and do add comments.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fall has sprung, Uh.

Gosh, I love my town in late September: clouds race by like pigs from a gun. Oops! Frazzled.

Today was the first day of Fall classes. First, what a gawd awful commute I had coming into school today. It seemed like everyone thought to get on the interstate at the same time. It took me two hours to go 22 miles.

Anyhoozle, we studied the positioning of the humerus, elbow and forearm. It was great fun. The lab was a farkin three ring circus. I have to smile here because it felt like high school: they Shepard us around from class to lab and back. We saw demonstrations of positioning and looked at films. I got to meet two new instructors. One teaches technique, the other computed radiography.

One of the newbies teaches my radio technique class and she had bad cold. She's also about 200 pounds over weight, which some of my readers will think is irrelevant, but it added to the overall affect. She seems nice enough. But she went though pages of power points with nary a pause. This won her little in the way of first impression points. But she's got personality and spunk. With the frequent smart ass comment.

The other newbie was in the military forever. And made a late career change. I really found him interesting and energetic. I like stories of mid-like career changes; any guess why?

I drank a cup of coffee this afternoon, which I not supposed to do, doctor's orders, so I feel a little wired, and the overall tendency to write run on sentences is somewhat overwhelming, so I should probably sign off. You've all been in my thoughts. Stay well and keep in touch. Wait, who does that remind me of.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Today I visted the college I wanted to take a look at all the clubs. I got a free burger and chips for my trouble. I took the image of down town Seattle.

Monday, September 11, 2006

One-Week Summer Vacation

My one-week vacation has begun today. I appreciate that we only have a week off; it keeps what we learned over the summer from running out our ears like juice from a squeezer. Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with myself. Some of you know that I'm an artist. Perhaps it time to create.

Fall quarter starts next Monday, September 18.

Yesterday, I picked up the book I'll need for my techniques class, RADIOLOGIC SCIENCE FOR TECHNOLOGISTS by BUSHONG.

By the way, I got a 3.88 GPA for Summer quarter.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Radiology File Room.

Thursday and Friday I worked in records. They call it the file room. What's different about a hospital with a totally digital work flow? No paper.

As I've noted earlier, we've been rotating around the hospital learning how the various jobs relate to each other. The idea is to see all the departments that work as a group to support radiology. I had fun. The staff were friendly, patient, and they put us straight to work.

We digitized old films both days. I had fun knowing that it was only for a day or two. Although the full time records staff there have mountains of films to process.

I always approach data entry with a zen-like calm; I find it very relaxing. We imputed the patient information for each film or series of films. What made the experience interesting was that we looked at some very old films from the late eighties and early nineties. I made note of different pathology represented in the films. It was interesting to note how digital radiography really changed the image quality.

Someone brought in some tequila flavored chocolates. They were quite rich. We stated to talking about recreational alcohol consumption. We did so in hushed tones though.

I've been meeting several of the technologists that will likely be involved in my education. What I've noticed is how the HR values diversity. The technologists are from many backgrounds. They're all interesting people in their way.