Practicum Prep

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This entire year has been centred around one thing, preparing for practicum and the beginning of a new career in health care. For those of you who aren’t aware, I moved to Surrey in the summer of 2013 for the sole purpose of school. Now that classes are over, I’ve moved back to the Okanagan and am living in Kelowna while taking my practicum at Kelowna General Hospital. It’s nice to get away from the big city noise and traffic, but starting my practicum has been an entirely new experience.

As I mentioned in my last entry, during the weeks leading up to practicum I felt nothing but excitement. I couldn’t wait to get out of the classroom and into the hospital. I couldn’t wait to start putting my knowledge into practice and gaining patient care experience. I wish I could say that I still felt this way the night before my first day, but the truth is I was terrified. I had nightmares about showing up two hours late and forgetting how to do an ECG. My stomach was so tied up in knots that I could barely eat anything on my lunch break. I originally planned to spend some time reviewing old material before the move, but unfortunately the time just got away from me. My last week in Surrey consisted of packing, moving boxes into storage, finishing the last online course, and more packing.

As far as practicum preparation goes, I wish we had more of it. The main job of the Cardio Tech is to perform ECG’S, which I felt confident about back in June when I learned how to do it, but it’s December now and that’s a long time to go without any practice. I wish we had the chance to brush up on those applied skills in the weeks leading up to practicum. There’s nothing worse then showing up on your first day and not remembering proper placement or protocols. Thankfully this didn’t happen to me, but I could have avoided a lot of my nervous energy if I had a refresher day.

All that being said, now that I’m a few days into my practicum I am feeling more confident and my nerves have subsided. It helps that if I have any questions there’s always an experienced Cardio Tech nearby willing to offer some advice. I’m really enjoying the challenges and learning opportunities that come with working in the hospital. The best advice that I can give to students preparing for their practicums, is not to wait around relying on others to get you ready. In the end the responsibility is your own and you need to put in the time and effort to practice as much as you can. Take advantage of your lab time and treat every guest as if they are a real patient. I found it most beneficial to do my lab ECG’s on my classmates guests because they were strangers to me. It was the closest I could get to experiencing the real thing and how I would approach the patient and speak to them throughout the procedure. Time flies by in this program and the best thing you can do is stay focused, keep yourself on track, and not lose sight of the end goal.

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