If you’re an RT student who will be doing clinical rotations next semester, you probably have a lot of things on your mind.
What will it be like going into the rooms of real patients with respiratory conditions? How will you react the first time you witness true suffering? Do you have what it takes to deliver hands-on care?
According to Allan Gonzales, MEd, RRT-NPS, director of clinical education at Platt College in Alhambra, CA, one question you should also be asking is: How can I make the most of this opportunity?
Put your best foot forward
“RT students need to put their best feet forward during their clinical rotations because this is the time that they will showcase their talents and knowledge to their potential employers,” Gonzales said. “Their clinical rotations are ‘job interviews.’
While students are wondering what it will be like taking care of patients, hospitals are wondering just how those students might fit into to their organizational culture if they were to offer them a job upon graduation.
Students who want to stand out from the crowd need to go into the experience with some definite goals in mind. Gonzales tells his students to follow what he calls the “three C’s.”
Curiosity, courtesy, commitment
“First is curiosity,” Gonzales said. “Being curious means being inquisitive. This leads to asking questions, investigating, and researching answers to add or acquire knowledge about a certain disease, treatment, or procedures.”
He advises his students to speak up about anything they don’t understand or want to know more about when they are at the bedside with their preceptors and absorb as much of the information as they can.
“Pick their brains,” he said.
Second on his list is courtesy.
“A positive attitude is contagious,” Gonzales said. “Good bedside manners are one of the hallmarks of a good clinician.”
It’s important to show courtesy to the families of your patients as well, and to any co-workers you meet or deal with in the hospital setting.
“Kindness goes a long way, and potential employers will notice this,” Gonzales said.
Lastly, he cites the need to show commitment.
“Having commitment to excelling in the respiratory care profession means continuous improvement in oneself,” Gonzales said. Students need to find ways to seek out professional development opportunities, show they want to further their own educations and step up to help other students understand the material being taught at the bedside.
“Commitment is professionalism,” Gonzales said.
Set yourself up for success
Follow the three C’s throughout your clinical rotations and you just might find the job seeking process is a snap when your program ends and it’s time to go out and practice respiratory care for real.