As first year Radiation Thearpy students here a The Michener Institute, we are currently in our 4th week of clinical placements! As promised, here’s a little update about the experiences Jennifer and Ori are going through at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Jennifer: I’ve been placed in Unit 10 which specializes in treating patients with Genitourinary, Gynae and Lower Gastrointestinal cancer.
Ori: I’m on Unit 14 and we treat breast cancer and palliative cancers.
We are proud to say that we are enjoying our experience here. Our duty as students in training is to follow the radiation therapist and learn what they do. The job of a therapist is to treat cancer using a machine called Linear Accelerator (Linac) to deliver ionizing radiation. Patients will typically come once a day for the next couple of weeks, so we see the same patients every day and therefore really get to know our patients well. There is a fair amount of patient interaction, which is one of our favorite parts of the job. Along with patient interactions, we also get to use the equipment, which mainly includes operating the Linac machine (the machine that delivers the radiation) and taking X-rays or CT scans to make sure the patient is in the right position. Every day is a new experience and we are constantly learning new skills. We get a better insight of the patient’s perspective during the entire span of their radiation treatment. For example most patients in unit 10 are required to have a full bladder and empty rectum. Having to hold their pee can be quite difficult for some patients, especially when there are delays, which pushes Unit 10 to be a very fast paced environment. Overall our first 4 weeks of clinical has been an exceptionally valuable experience and we’re looking forward to our next 4 weeks!
Until next time!
Jennifer and Ori
(Kingston City Hall)
It has been a month since the start of summer clinical placement, and I am currently
completing my placement in Kingston General Hospital (KGH) here at Kingston, Ontario. Kingston is a nice beautiful town located at the north side of the entrance of outflow of St Lawrence River from Lake Ontario; it was the first capital of Canada when Canada was still a province of British colony.
KGH host one of the most eastern cancer center in Ontario and it has a beautiful view because it is situated by the side of Lake Ontario, its front entrance open to the water. It is a perfect place for lunch and enjoys the sun during summer time.
(KGH cancer centre front entrance)
Park by water, in front of cancer centre)
The past month was phenomenal, words cannot fully describe the knowledge and experience we gain from clinical practice. The transition from purely academic to hands on
practice is eye-opening and a bit hectic; because each patient is unique and no knowledge from books can prepare you how to interact with all patients. It is interesting to learn from the therapists, the way they educate patients on their first day of treatment, the type of approach to each patient base on the assessment they do during the conversation with them. It’s amazing how much compassion the therapists have for patients and how much they care for them.
During the first two weeks in CT simulation unit, I made my first mask and had my own mask made for treatment to head and neck regions. The mask is made of pliable plastics. They come in as a sheet of plastic in a frame, and are put into a warm/hot water bath for 2-4 minutes to makes it pliable, after the mask is taken out of the warm water bath there is a 30-60 seconds window before it hardens. The therapist takes out the mask, tower dry it as much as possible and covers it on patient’s head as fast as possible. The therapists are very efficient at their job, but what is amazing are the patients going through the process; imagine a warm and moist piece of plastic cover you face, harden in an instant and lock your head into position, and afterword you cannot move for 5-10 minutes for CT scan. I never had thought of the discomfort till I experience it myself.
(My 1st mask, can kinda see my face print)
So far the experience here is amazing, and hopefully the coming June will be equally fantastic as well.
Till next time.
What is the Michener Institute? Where is the Michener Institute? As students here at the Michener Institute, we get these questions a lot! So let’s start with a brief introduction. The Michener Institute is located right in the heart of the Toronto hospital district, just behind Princess Margret Hospital. It is an applied health science establishment specializing in many health related disciplines. These include chiropody, respiratory therapy and radiation therapy, just to name a few. Jennifer Vuong, Gordon Wang & Ori Wiegner, the three amigos, are all part of the Radiation Therapy program!
People have many misconceptions when it comes to radiation and its applications. The first thoughts that come to mind usually relate to atomic bombs or microwaves. People rarely think of the medical applications of radiation, such as cancer treatments, diagnostic x-rays and CT scans. The variety of uses for radiation is astounding!
This summer we are all excited to take part in our first ever clinical placements! Jennifer and Ori will be attending Princess Margret Hospital and Gordon will be attending Kingston Regional Cancer Center. We will continue to blog about our student experiences at Michener and very soon about our individual hands on experiences at our placements!
For more in information regarding the radiation therapy program visit: The Michener Institute – Radiation Therapy
Jennifer, Ori, and Gordon.