Semester 1..and Beyond!
The first semester is a huge hump to overcome, so work hard! But looking forward, the program still has a lot to ask of you. There are projects, papers, presentations to be done! But you can do it! Don't let the work pile up!
The classes and material are tough-It's a new language to learn, so be diligent of studies and retain as much as you can in the classroom and at the hospital! Because I was well organized, I became a master of the juggling act and time-management of husband, 3 kids, home, work, classes, clinical, schoolwork, etc... I felt truly confident & empowered once I finished x-ray school and so will you!! You can do this!!
Over the summer intercession you are expected to self study the skull projections, as well as facial bones and sinuses. Much of the advice I got when I entered my summer intercession is to start early, and it's VERY good advice! There is a lot to know when it comes to head work, so get your anatomy down and know your central rays, entering points, exiting points and topical landmarks (if you've started the program you know what that means, if not you soon will!)
First semester gets you acclimated to the program, and by winter intercession you should be feeling good. Working with the second years will continue to boost your confidence. As second semester begins, keep the momentum going. The class work definitely gets harder, and the Rad Tech II final is notoriously the hardest final in the program! So keep your game face on!
Flash cards were key for me.. For positioning class.. I would write the projection on one side and on the other, where the central ray entered and exited, and the criteria of the radiograph. For physics, questions and answers. I would keep these in my pockets at all times.. whenever I had a spare second I quizzed myself.
Study a little every day. Get a group together and meet at a regular time every week.
Summer intercession into third semester is like you never left school! Summer pours into the fall, and you feel like a seasoned tech. Clinical at this point should be getting easier. The introduction of the Physics class at school can be challenging however. You will also be introduced to pathology and cross-sectional anatomy. The coursework is not too difficult, but a lot of projects are due this year. Third semester you must do a presentation, and fourth semester their is a 10-page research paper, a service project and a paper on professionalism. So make sure you keep yourself organized!
After every class I would review the material we went over. Even if it was for just fifteen minutes or a half hour. That went a long way in terms of seeing the material twice, further implanting it in my head. Also, I would talk to my clinical partner and classmates about certain things I was unsure about just to get a different perspective on it. Sometimes they would see things a little differently or have some sort of pneumonic device that would help me remember.
I didn't quite know where to throw this little section in, so I figured here would be good. In x-raying you use what we call "markers" to mark the (L)eft and (R)ight side of patients. The school will provide you with a set of markers, but they are not of the best quality and the lead letters will eventually fall out. My second clinical site got us two pairs of markers with our initials on the and I love them, the letters are inside the molding: (The school provided ones are on top, my personal set on bottom with my initials)
You usually use tape around them so they will stick to a cassette or the bucky. There are also clips which look like this:
I like the markers with my initials on them, just because sometimes it's fun to see your initials on a really good x-ray! But you will find what works best for you!