(Original post by Cherry Black)
Tips for Diagnostic Radiography students:
-Guard your markers with your life! It's a horrible feeling when you go to put a left marker on the cassette, and you've only got a right one.
-Be assertive with your positioning. If you move the patient's arm like it's made of unicorn's tears, they're less likely to cooperate, whereas if you assertively put it where you need it (you don't have to be aggressive, or hurt them, just confident) they're more likely to keep it in that exact position, because you mean business!
-If you're in a department where you get left by yourself a lot, don't take it personally. The radiographer might be there the whole time you're positioning, but as soon as you go to take the image, they've disappeared off the face of the earth. Worse still, that skyline knee was perfect when you set it up, but by the time you've found someone to check it, the patient has flopped their leg down and the radiographer now thinks you have no idea how to image knees. Don't worry! It happens, especially in busy departments. Just bite your tongue and move on.
-Treat everyone (not just qualified radiographers, but fellow students, APs, and other staff) as potential future colleagues, because they are! It doesn't matter if your placement is in Edinburgh, and you're hoping to work in Auckland, radiography is a relatively close knit community, and if you piss people off, word will get around, and by Sod's Law, that person will end up being your supervisor. Equally, try to make a good impression- we were told just after our first placement that opinions will have already been made as to whether we are considered good candidates for employment, and we've got three years to go yet!
-Show an interest! Even if you're terrified and want the ground to swallow you up, go get involved. Even if you're just handing cassettes or accessories to the radiographer, get in the room and see what's going on. You're more likely to be respected that way.
-If you see things in practise that you either don't agree with or things that clash with what you've been taught, don't say "we've been taught not to do that". If you feel you must question it at the time, word it differently "ooh that's an interesting method, I've not seen that done that way before..." and listen to their reasoning. Sometimes it's a bad habit, sometimes it's due to local rules. Otherwise, just make a mental note of it and ask your tutors when you see them. It's less likely to cause conflict this way- a long-qualified radiographer isn't going to take it very well when a first year student tells them they are wrong.
-However, if you are put in a situation which could adversely affect you, for example in fluoroscopy without appropriate protection, don't just play along! If there aren't enough lead aprons for you to have one, excuse yourself and go find one! Don't miss out on seeing really interesting procedures just because someone's nicked an apron. Equally, if there are no thyroid shields, ask where you might find another! You might get treated like a worry-wart, but this is YOUR SAFETY at stake, and hopefully you're going to be working with radiation for many many years to come, so it's best to look after yourself. It's in everyone's interests that you're safe: you don't want cancer, and the NHS really don't want you to get cancer- it'll be a waste of a radiography degree, and they'll have to treat you!
Last point (for now)- if you're in a department with quite a few students on placement, don't herd together! It's really intimidating for the patients and it's annoying for the staff. If you're assigned to be somewhere, and there's nothing happening, don't sprint back to be with your mates, it looks really bad and you could miss something interesting.
That stuff all sounds really negative, but it's not meant to be! Just enjoy your placements and make the most of your time in practise. It'll be over before you know it.