18:20 To Denver One Student's First Clinical Experience
- Posted on: 6/19/08
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While in Denver, a SimSuite training unit came to SAC. I administered medications, ran the catheters, cannulated, rotoblated and stented. I was put into the driver’s seat as the “doctor” (minus the extra years of education). Cannulating was much more difficult than I expected and made me appreciate the previous case I assisted when the physician seemingly took forever to cannulate the right coronary artery. I remember my inner monologue calling out, “What is taking so long?! It’s right there!” This training opened my eyes to the woes and joys of physicians’ tasks, giving me more appreciation for the skill and technique they employ every day. I even received a souvenir Taxus stent bouffant out of the experience, which I proudly donned the remainder of my time there.
For my first hands-on experience in the cath lab, panning, manipulating movable core wires, keeping up with the experienced physician and calling out to the monitor was a little too much for me. My assigned preceptor helped by always keeping one hand on the table, whispering tips and tricks into my ear, and stepping in for the in-depth, beyond-my-scope moments. Every staff member at SAC shares duties, including circulating, scrubbing, and monitoring. Therefore, physicians and staff tend to be more forgiving and patient, taking on the “everyone has to start somewhere” mentality that every hospital encountering students should have.
In the short time I have been in the field, I have met some outstanding people and some bullies. After my awesome educational and upbeat experience at Denver, I have since gone elsewhere, thinking my experience would be the same; unfortunately, that has mostly not been the case.
As a student, I am required to learn other technologists’ methods, but staff should be willing to let students know where there is needed improvement without belittling and sticking the student behind the trash can when they do not want to “deal” with you. Even Dr. Jarvik had to be a student before he developed the artificial heart.
In all honesty, I have had dozens of great experiences for every bad one, but unfortunately it is the bad experiences that students tend to remember. Being a student should not be like boot camp. You do not need to tear us down to build us up. I try to learn from all the experience I have undergone and plan on being the type of technologist who is not suffocating with my students, but still there to give a helping hand when they are feeling alone and out of place, as we all have felt sometime in our careers. There is a happy medium between being the “mother” in the lab who holds your hand while putting a nasal cannula on and being an insensitive dictator who questions your competency. I urge staff to find that spot and remember what it is like to be a student when one shows up to learn from you. Being a student is tough, no question, but a good experience, a friendly smile and two willing parties can make a student blossom into a fellow tech. My 3 weeks at St. Anthony’s went by quickly and I wished I had more time. Not only did I have an eye-opening and educational experience, I made new friends and became a small part of one of Solucient’s Top 100 Cardiovascular Hospitals. I would be fortunate to have the opportunity to train at St. Anthony Hospital again and complete my degree.
Cassidy Lilienthal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org