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.

The Beginning of my Journey as an RT Student

Well, I finished the first two days of classes, and I feel like I could write forever. Unfortunately, I'm too busy studying right now, just trying to get a routine down and figure out something that will work for me.

Monday morning I had Respiratory Care Pharmacology, which is taught by the program director. My impressions? I loved it. Of course, a lot of what we did was just covering the syllabus and class schedule, but we spent a half hour or so getting into Chapter 1, General Pharmacological Principles. For the first time in a while, I can actually say that I'm not bored with the course material. We basically covered simple concepts like chemical names of drugs vs. generic names vs. trade names, and we learned about the FDA and their role in regulating drugs. I also learned a bit on drug resources (the United States Pharmacopoeia and the Physician's Desk Reference, etc.) By the way, any of you who are starting the program soon need some help understanding any of this as you come to it or you'd like to bounce study tips for this class back and forth, just send me an E-Mail.

Today I had Fundamentals. I knew this class was going to be difficult and cover a lot of information, but let me just say that is an understatement. We have six books total for that class, granted I don't think we will be using a few of them until later in the semester. But the main textbook, Egan's Fundamentals of Respiratory Care, is around 1300 pages long. We covered infections and infection control today, mainly about how to prevent the spread of infection and what makes someone or something a susceptible host. Pretty interesting information and I took a lot out of the lecture. I've been working in healthcare for about the past 5 years, and I only thought I knew enough about dealing with patients on isolation precautions... Anyways, for this class, it's about 85 pages of reading before the next time we meet, which isn't too bad. Plus, I'll need to read ahead to the next unit we're covering, which is about 50 pages. Again, the E-Mail thing applies to this class as well.

I know I've only been going at this for two days now, but I'm so fascinated at the vast amount of knowledge that I've come to learn a respiratory therapist must possess, and this is just from the information covered in the past few days and skimming through all of my books for the semester. A lot of RT blogs listed on my Blogroll mention terms such as "vent jockeys," or, "button pushers," to describe lazy or non-motivated therapists and I'll admit, for a while there, I really did assume that all RT's did were sat checks, neb treatments, and push buttons on a vent. This is because although I worked on units with them as a nurse's aide, I really did not see them very much. I know that this will be both a demanding and rewarding job, and I'm looking forward to the amount of information I will cover throughout the duration of my program, as well as finally being able to practice as an RT.

I know this blog seems pretty busy and skips around a lot, but let me just point one thing out to the prospective RT students out there:

What I'm trying to say is that, if you are anything like I was, you were probably bored out of your mind with the pre-req's: English, Psychology, A&P, or whatever else is required of your program. I never had to study for these courses (with the exception of Anatomy & Physiology-- see my advice on that class if you need to) and I thought they'd never end. It also didn't help that I was taking nursing pre-req's because my initial plan was nursing school (there are 10 pre-req's for the ADN program, and four for RT), which I'm sure some of you have also done (When I have the time, I'll post a blog about my reason for switching from wanting to go to school for nursing to RT). I'd keep saying to myself, "If this is what college is like, I don't know if I want to do this." I was seeking a challenge that wasn't there. But rest assured, my mind is challenged now, and I'm not even done with the first week. It's stress, and I don't know what else to call it, but it's a good stress, if that makes any sense.

As always, more to follow. Thursday evening I have Advanced Cardiopulmonary A&P and I have Fundamentals lab on Friday afternoon. I'll post a recap of the week and perhaps some tips I've found helpful in the past week.

P.S.- Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement in comments made regarding my most previous post. They couldn't have came at a better time.

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