Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had a great Christmas holiday and were able to find time to enjoy some festivities with your loved ones. My Christmas was especially amazing because I got engaged! My fiance proposed to me on Christmas Eve and we are both so excited to start planning our new life together. I expect 2015 to be a fantastic year because not only will I be getting married… but I will be graduating from college as a Cardiology Technologist. I’ve just completed week two of my practicum and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my first impressions of a working student. For those of you who are wondering about taking a program that includes a practicum throughout December, you’ll be happy to know that we were given the entire Christmas week off from work/school. This was a pleasant surprise and a much appreciated break, considering our only time off for the year was back in August.
My first week of practicum was both exciting and overwhelming. Every hospital throughout the province is very different so to predict the workload would be impossible. Everyone in my class also had no idea what to expect as far as what our schedules would be like. Each hospital site is responsible for assigning shifts and what each day includes. The majority of the class had to wait until their first day to find out these details, myself included. I believe I am one of the lucky ones, because for the entire twelve weeks I only work Monday through Friday with no overnight graveyard shifts. Again, this varies per hospital site but I’ve heard some of my classmates are working weekends and nights. My preceptor was kind enough to provide me with my entire practicum schedule within my first week. The majority of my shifts are in the daytime (6:45-14:45 or 7:30-15:30) and my only evening shifts (15:00-23:00) are when I’m assigned to Holter scanning in February. Basically I do three weeks of ECG’s, followed by two weeks of Stress Testing/Nuclear Imaging Stress Testing, followed by two weeks of Holter Monitor scanning, and it repeats until I’m finished. I’ve been given the final week as a “make-up” open schedule where I can decide which area I would like more time with.
Each practicum student is assigned to different mentors to help guide us through the process. The clinical monitor is employed by Stenberg and they contact us on a weekly basis for updates. The preceptor is a Cardiology Technologist employed by the hospital that you work alongside on a daily basis. I have two official preceptors, but because of the way the Cardiology Department works at KGH, I actually work with every Cardio Tech and not just the two of them. All of the Tech’s I’ve worked with so far are very friendly and helpful. They allow me to perform the ECG’s myself, and will offer tips or advice for difficult patients. Everyone is always happy to answer any questions that I may have and I’ve learned so much already in my first two weeks. The “patients” I’ve practised on in class were all pretty easy and straightforward. However, that is not often the case in the hospital. Some patients have scars on their chest from previous operations, or are covered in bandages from open heart surgery. Some may be able to move while others are too weak or unconscious. Every patient is a different case and you just never know what to expect.
KGH is a very busy hospital and so far every day has been different. I love that the Cardio Tech’s are always on the move and you can’t predict what the day will hold. I keep track of every ECG I do and have learned so much that the classroom cannot teach. I look forward to the next couple of weeks and I will update you all soon as I have a lot more to say!