Trau·ma  Junk· ie  ( 'trau-m&  'j&[ng]-kE) n. Slang
  1. One who has an insatiable interest, devotion or addiction to responding and assisting people with serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.

Respiratory Care Program Orientation

Well, today I attended an orientation session for the program from 8-5. I'm even more excited than I was before, I guess because I know I'm one (small) step closer.

Let me just say that while I thought I had a pretty good idea of what RTs do, I really only had a small insight into the field. It's surprising how much you can learn in one day, because I swear I took in more information about respiratory therapists and what they do today than I have learned in researching the field in my free time for about the past year. The vast amount of information we covered today has only further increased my curiousity. If this makes any sense, I've always hated "introduction" days. You know, orientation for a new job, the first day of class where you cover all of the policies, learning a now policy at work during a mandatory inservice, and so on. But the more time I spent in orientation, the more fascinated I became. I really didn't want the day to end at 5, but I'm sure I was probably the only one.

There are only two guys in the program, including myself, but that's nothing new to me...I work at a hospital on a unit where I'm the only male employee. However, for some reason, I had a pre-conceived notion that the RT workforce was mostly comprised of men because the majority of the therapists I know at work are men. (Not that it matters, by any means, just something I learned today.)

I learned that we'll be doing clinicals at a lot of different hospitals (much more than the nursing program) and also a pulmonologist's office, the first one to ever come to Waco about 26 years ago and also our program's medical director & the ICU Medical Director where I work. Awesome doctor. I was told we go to so many hospitals (some of them 100 miles away) because only 5-10 students will have a certain rotation at the same time since it's not very logical for 3 RT students to follow one therapist around during clinicals. I'm glad they decided to send us so for away because I was worried about how clinicals would work since hospitals don't employ nearly as many RT's as nurses. I also love the way the clinical adjunct instructors are always in the hospital (even if they are on a different unit) and you can always call them on their cell phone or pager if you need help with anything or don't feel comfortable doing something you are asked to do.

Our program director is awesome. He talks about being a therapist since '73 and how much things have changed. He talked about wearing slacks and a tie (with a lab coat) when working in the hospital...hard to imagine. He's very smart. He told about meetings with the NBRC and other committees to determine the national curriculum for RT students and debating a 10-1 vote then convincing the 10 people to see his side and not having the curriculum changed. He decided to create the associate's degree program 5 years before an AAS/AS degree became the minimum requirement because he figured it would be that way one day. The guy has been with this college since he helped create the certificate program...so I figure he has a lot to offer.

Sometime in the next two weeks I have to shadow a therapist for a day as part of the program requirements. We have a choice between the hospital where I work (which has a very high census, so that means I will be exposed to a lot) or the other hospital in my town, which is a trauma center, but their census is low. I would LOVE to see some traumas and the RT's role in them, but there wouldn't be a whole lot to do until a trauma comes in (if one does), so it is a pretty hard decision.

I suppose since I want to work trauma or ICU after I graduate, I'll take the trauma hospital...if there is still an opening to shadow.

More to follow...

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