Radiation Therapy Technology program celebrates #RadTechWeek 2020 with gratitude for clinical instructors
National Radiologic Technology Week is November 8-14, 2020, and the students of Wayne State’s Radiation Therapy Technology (RTT) program are celebrating by sending gratitude to their clinical instructors.
The Radiation Therapists I would like to give recognition to are Mary and Deb from Ascension St. John Hospital in Grosse Pointe. Mary has been a Radiation Therapist for 35 years, she graduated from the Wayne State University program in 1985. Deb began her career as an x-ray technician and was an x-ray tech for 16 years before becoming a Radiation Therapist in 1993. These two ladies deserve to be appreciated every day. I am currently in my first clinical rotation of the program and I went into that hospital on my first day knowing pretty much nothing. They were nothing but patient, kind, and encouraging to me every single day. They continue to help me learn and grow each day I am there, and I am so grateful for them. Not only do they continue to teach and help me learn Radiation Therapy every day I am there, but they also show me how wonderful this job is by patient interaction. They truly care and have love for every patient they see. They make connections with each patient and every patient absolutely adores them and personally, I believe, that is what makes this job so wonderful and was a huge reason why I chose this as my career. I cannot thank them enough for all that they have done for me these past couple months, they are incredible people and even better Radiation Therapists.
I would like to recognize 2 therapists: Marvin and Constance at Karmanos. I chose them because I got to witness firsthand the compassion for their patients and the love they have for this field. They took their time with me while I was in sim to make sure I understood each setup and didn’t hesitate anytime I had a question. I want to thank the both of them, not only for their hard work, but also for the dedication they have to their patients and this field.
I would like to take this time to appreciate Sarah Lim, a Radiation Therapist at Henry Ford Hospital in the oncology department. Sarah has been a Radiation Therapist for the past 4 years, she graduated from Beaumont's Radiation Therapy Program in 2016. She has been working at Henry Ford for the past 3 years and was first presented to me as "The Queen of HDR". Something I have noticed about Sarah that makes her special is the fact that she is the one go-to person when it comes down to a special set-up for patients. She remembers the little things the patients had requested, and she pays close attention to all the patients. The one valuable thing I have learned from Sarah is that she explains each step she is making and gives a thorough explanation, multiple times. In the future I'd like to reflect that kindness to students that may cross my path when I become a Radiation Therapist.
I worked with Debora Bunnell at St. John Main Campus for about two months right after students were allowed back into clinics. Debbie has been a radiation therapist for about 30 years, I believe. I was able to learn many things from Debbie, not just in clinic, but also in life. In clinic, she taught me to handle hard patients by knowing and understanding what is bothering them, and trying to help them. Despite the patient being rude to her, all she showed was care and compassion for that patient. During free time, Debbie always checked at patient charts to make sure everything is good and always looked after others. In life, she taught me to take life as it comes, and to be grateful for everything that life has to offer. She always treated me like I was part of the team, and made me feel comfortable to try different tasks. In one of our conversations, I told her how I had a hard time at another clinic which decreased my confidence. On my last day at St. John main, she got me fruits, because I really like fruits, and some other snacks, and most importantly she got me a wallet-sized card. The card says that “When it comes to awesome, you’re off the charts!” and then she wrote how I am the best and how they will all miss me. Debbie told me that she got me the card to make sure that I never lose confidence over anyone or anything ever again and even if there is a time when someone or something makes me feel any less confident, I can look at the card to tell myself I am doing my best. Debbie is an amazing therapist and overall a very caring and compassionate person and anyone who works with her are lucky!
In my short time at the Karmanos clinic site in Detroit I have already came across many therapists that deserve praise. One in particular had an impact on me early on. That therapist is Marco Lanni. I believe he has been working in the field for over 20 years. He was the first therapist I had an opportunity to work with. After the first day of clinic I must admit I thought; are these people here to teach me or are they just workers here to focus on doing their job? I believe it was as soon as the first day of the second week, Marco put that questions to rest. He pulled me aside and told me that he was there to teach me, and his job was to ensure I understand how to be a radiation therapist. Marco always encouraged me to ask questions and showed effort in making sure I understood what was going on. He would ask me helpful quiz like questions while working and made sure I understood and not just memorized the answers to them. Telling me his job was to be there for me to learn is what was most impactful. It made me feel like he cared, and it encouraged me to do my best every day as well as having me looking forward to go in to clinic. I will always be thankful for him for doing that.
During my time here in the WSU RTT program, I have had the privilege of rotating between awesome clinic sites, but one stood out in particular. Over the summer semester I rotated at St. John Ascension Webber and worked with some of the best staff ever. I learned the most of my knowledge in this field from my rotation here and couldn’t have been happier to be a student there. As for specific therapist, Mark was the greatest teacher any of us could hope for. I believe he mentioned being a therapist for 7 years now and attended Baker College. Not only was he awesome with us, he was awesome with the patients as well. From my personal experience working with him, he pushed me to do so many setups that I found complicated until I was confident enough to do a comp. Mark also put in effort to get to know us as individuals and used this as a way to teach us to our own learning needs. As a student therapist, it can become really difficult to feel welcome in some clinics, so being able to work with a therapist like Mark becomes super beneficial when you want to do more as a student without feeling like you’re in the way or causing a setback in the schedule. I hope I get the chance to work with him again in the future to express how appreciative I am for all his help. I have gained so much confidence in my abilities as a student therapist because of him and couldn’t be more thankful!
I will be doing my report on Mark Fowler at Ascension Macomb, who I believe has been doing radiation therapy for around five years if I remember correctly. Mark is an amazing therapist in that he not only does his job well but he also puts so much effort into making sure the students learn. Over my two clinical rotations at that hospital he has countless times given me lessons on various topics I was confused about, giving me tips on how to do what I do better as well as explaining why I should do it that way, etc. and he did so much of that on his own time like over lunch or after hours. He also let me be so involved in treatment including running the machine for essentially every patient every day from traditional electron setups to SRS brains and even simulations. The most important part is he treated me like a colleague instead of just a student. Sure I’m not a certified radiation therapist, but he trusted me to do a radiation therapists job every day and my time working there was the closest feeling I could get how an experienced radiation therapist works every day. That experience was so valuable to me and I owe so much to mark for being such a large part of the process that got me where I am today.
I would like to recognize Gerard from Ascension Webber. He has worked in the field for quite some time and is special because he makes treatment fun. He makes patients laugh on a daily basis and is always thinking of ways to lighten the radiation experience. I have seen him go above and beyond on a patient’s final day of treatment, to send them away on a happy note with best wishes, and he also goes above and beyond with RTT students. He taught me a lot during my clinical rotation at Webber such as how they used to take films when films were not digital, and how they used to make electron blocks themselves, and also many things relevant to radiation therapy in today’s world. He has a great heart and I hope someday I can be the kind of therapist Gerard is!
I am currently completing my second clinical rotation at Karmanos. My first rotation was in SIM. I had two great therapists, but one was more inclined to allow me to actively participate in the simulation procedure. Marvin is the therapist that I would like to commend. I believe he has been in the field for almost three years. He has such a laid-back personality that makes it easy to learn under his supervision. Marvin taught me to tattoo and gave me tips for doing so.