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.

As the 02 Flows...

At the end of the first year of RT school, I remember several things:

Some of these things, very basic, but very important:

-Never withold oxygen from a patient who needs it

-Bronchodilators are intended to treat bronchospasm/bronchoconstriction

-Normal respiratory rate is 12-20bpm, normal heart rate is 60-100, normal B/P is 95-145/50-80

-Always wash your hands

-Central cyanosis, hemo-/hydro-/pneumo- thorax, and pulmonary emboli are very serious and require immediate intervention

Some of these things, slightly humorous, but slightly irritating:

-Patients who tell you they know how to properly use their inhalers and nebulizers (you know, they have been doing them at home for years), in fact prove to you that they cannot demonstrate the proper way to do them

-Almost everyone who is admitted with a respiratory problem, such as pneumonia, will have bronchodilators scheduled, even if they have no indication for this therapy (they aren't "wheezing" and have no history of asthma or reactive airways)

-Doctors, especially residents, don't always know how or when to properly order a neb treatment, including frequency and dosage ("Albuterol 4mg per neb TID and q1h PRN SOB," anyone?)

-Patients do not know why they take their breathing treatments, they don't help, but they just do it and have never asked why

-Some of the therapists you work with in clinicals will tell you all the wrong ways to do things

Some of these things, don't just apply to respiratory therapy:

-Everything that can and will go wrong, usually does (a variation of Murphy's Law)
-If you've got time to sit, sit. (An EMS thang)
-People live against all odds, people die with no odds against them
-Sometimes, all you can do is hold their hand
-Experience matters, but not always
-You will say things that make you sound totally stupid, and sometimes you'll catch yourself, but sometimes you won't (I once came to the "conclusion" that Sp02 could *ALWAYS* be calculated by adding 30 to the Pa02 on a pt's blood gas [if their Pa02 is 85, then this would make their Sp02 115%.] Yeah, laugh it up.)
-Sometimes, you know more than you give yourself credit for knowing. Sometimes you will surprise yourself, and sometimes you'll feel like you don't know enough
-You will question what you're doing with your life at least once during the course of your formal education
-Some days, you will know that you have chosen the right career field, and other days, you will find yourself wondering if you've made the right choice
-It is, in fact, okay to not know the answer. It is, however, never okay to not ask or seek out the answer in another way
-Some people are there to help you, others will try to hurt you
-You can't fix everyone, but you can sure try like hell

They say that the first year of RT school is the toughest. You learn basic concepts, formulas, laws, and equations that you will carry with you for your entire career as a therapist. The second year just consists of building on these concepts.

I have a wide base of readers for my blog. Some of you are new grad RTs, some of you have been practicing a while. Some of you are potential students, and some of you are right where I'm at in school. Some of you are nurses, doctors, and other health professionals. Some of you, are members of the general public.

I just wanted to take the time to thank all of you for sticking by me through my bouts of writer's block, stress, many questions and sporadic posting. I started my second year three weeks ago, and I'm in the home stretch. I've met a lot of great people, and even my significant other, through blogging and reading other blogs.

You have all been most excellent, and there is something about each of you that I either see in myself or would like to be like. I have one more year, then I can rock the RRT to my fullest potential.

It is my ultimate hope that I have at least helped one of you as much as you have helped me. Life really is all about paying it forward.


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