Radiation Therapy Technology class holds difficult discussion under sunny skies

RTT students hold class outdoors
RTT students pictured from left: Madison Murray, Taylur Friend, Monisha Sanders, Melanie Mileski, Trever Henderson, Jessica Giese, Julia Seng, Isabel Lee, Khouloud Moussa, Jena Muflahi and Nadine Elayan.

By Radiation Therapy Technology Program Director Jeannetta Greer

On May 17, my Radiation Therapy Technology class and I went outside to discuss a topic that may be considered sad and depressing by most. However, it is an important topic that needs to be discussed: “Cultural Perspectives of Death, Grief and Bereavement.”

Having this conversation outside in the beautiful sunlight seemed to help with talking about a subject most would rather not consider. How we grieve and the different ways grief affects each of us is important to understand — especially in the medical field. 

As radiation therapists, students will have to face patients and their families dealing with death, grieving the loss of loved ones, or grieving themselves for a patient or their own loved ones. Understanding this process allows the students to deal with grief, death and bereavement in ways that help those going through the process.

Although our hope is to cure as many patients as possible, some patients do not survive. We want students to be equipped to handle this when it occurs. During the class, we each shared our perspectives on this subject and learned from one another.

This is something we all have to deal with. It is important we understand it’s okay to grieve, and that we all do so in different ways. I have learned that when you love hard, you grieve hard. The best we can do is support our patients, their families and one another when death occurs.

Radiation therapists have a unique opportunity to blend the knowledge and skills of mathematics, science and psychology in their daily work. Radiation therapists operate sophisticated radiation equipment to treat malignant tissue, assist in designing cancer treatment through the use of 3D computer-generated calculations, recognize when a patient is having additional medical problems that require a doctor's attention and provide psychological support for patients who are dealing with the stress of their illness. The bachelor of science in Radiation Therapy Technology is offered through Wayne State’s Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences with an application deadline of Nov. 30

An anchor in urban health care

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is built on more than 100 years of tradition and innovation in the heart of Detroit. We have grown deep roots in our city, harnessing its powerhouse hospital systems and community service organizations as vibrant, real-world training grounds for students, with an ongoing focus on social justice in health care. And our research at all levels – from undergraduates to veteran faculty members – translates into creative solutions for healthier communities.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 25,000 students.

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