Now I have been working for my clinical for approximately eight weeks. I am happy to report that things have been going well so far. I have gained experience in all areas of the cardiology technology program, though it is not without its challenges every week. I have come to learn my favourite areas to work, the areas in which I need to continue to practice my skills, and begun to plant the seeds for my future career.
The best part of clinical preceptorship is seeing all the things you have learned in theory for the first time in practice. Spending so much time working in the environment allows you to see even the obscure aspects that are discussed in our courses. Working closely with doctors and other Registered Cardiology Technologists has allowed me to ask questions that I may not have considered had I not seen something happen in real time. For instance a coronary artery spasm presents quite like a heart attack. I was able to inquire about the differences I need to look for from the doctor performing the stress test and I learned from it. This sort of practice is invaluable.
Some of the challenges I have encountered throughout my preceptorship have included learning from a few different preceptors who do things differently, not feeling like I am getting enough practice and working a lot of extra hours. The most difficult part has been trying to learn from different teaching styles. I find some preceptors are better at teaching, while others have little patience to teach a student. My method for handling this issue has been to discuss the issues with my monitor (who has been absolutely fantastic!) and using her advice to get the most out of my practical experience. This is also a benefit in a way because I have been able to watch everyone’s different methods for parts of the job such as skin prepping, patient interaction, and what is considered a quality tracing. From seeing everyone’s different methods I have been able to discover what I consider the best way of doing things and learn tips from everyone.
My favourite so far has been the tip of using two alcohol swabs to prep the skin for Holter monitors to make the stickers stay on better (it really works!). The other benefit to working with so many Cardiology Technologists is that almost all of them have taken the exam we will be taking in September. I have been picking their brains to see which parts they found most difficult, what they think is important to be studying, or how they prepared. It has been extremely helpful to hear their opinions because I am able to better identify my weak points and perhaps improve on them through the hands on experience that preceptorship provides. My next steps are to get some hands on experience in areas such as pacemakers and pharmacological testing. Hopefully I learn something new to help me along the way! I will let you know!