It’s safe to say I could, in a pinch, probably take an adequate chest X-ray now.
This is the first week of my third quarter, and I am in my first positioning/laboratory class. This class meets three nights a week instead of just one, like my other classes, so it’s a 9-hour course. I also have a psychology class on Thursdays. We spent part of Monday night, and most of last night, in the lab, learning and then practicing chest X-rays.
I found it to be very interesting, and it’s definitely more fun to be up and doing something, hands-on, rather than sitting listening to a lecture. Of course, this also means that the playing field is more even now – my 4.0 and high test scores don’t mean much outside of the classroom. We get tested every week on the stuff we learn in the book, and we also have a clinical test every week on whatever body part we have learned to X-ray. So next week I’ll get graded on my competency to take a basic PA and lateral chest X-ray. We’re graded not only on whether we position correctly and set up the machine correctly, but even on the details like asking the right questions of the patient and our general bedside manner. There is a checklist with about 25 things that we are checked on.
The good thing about practicing in the laboratory with your classmates is that you learn very quickly to get over the natural embarrassment that comes with putting your hands all over someone’s body, asking people (particularly those of the opposite sex) to remove their clothes, including underwear, and asking women when their last period was. There is only one other man in my class of about 11 or 12 people, so pretty much all of my practice is on young, attractive, 20-something women.
God is a good and generous God.
Seriously though, when doing X-rays of women who are in child-bearing years, it’s standard operating procedure to ask them if they are pregnant, and if they are not, then to probe further and ask them about their last menstrual period. That’s just something I’ll have to get used to, I guess.
Oh, and another thing – when doing chest X-rays, if the woman has large, pendulous breasts, you have to ask her to pull them up and out to the side so they don’t obscure the image. Can’t WAIT to get a 50-year old grandmother in there with triple-E cups and have to ask her to haul them babies out of the way. Yikes. Not sure which is worse: that, or putting on the gonad shield.
All in all, though, I really like this class, and although I’m intimidated by the amount of information we have to learn, I’m excited about getting into the hands-on portion of this program, and I’m excited about the prospect of starting clinicals in a few months and then eventually being able to get out and work in this field.