So you live 60 minutes from where you are attending RT school, and 60-120 minutes from the closest big city hospital.
Your clinical adviser comes to you and says that if you want you can do your initial clinicals at your local small town hospital instead of driving.
What do you do? I say go for it.
Certainly you will want to gain some large hospital experience, especially in specialized areas such as critical care units, trauma centers, etc. But there is still of plethora of wisdom you can obtain from doing clinicals at a small town hospital.
What follows are the ten advantages of doing clinicals at a small town hospital:
1. Of course small town RTs get busy too, but there are more down times in smaller hospitals that will allow you to spend more quality time with your preceptor.
2. If you lack confidence in one particular area, a small town preceptor will have the time (and perhaps the patience) to work with you and allow you to harness your skills and confidence.
3. Even better, you will have quality time to pick the brains of experienced and seasoned respiratory therapists. Sometimes you can learn more from a simple RT discussion than from doing random procedures.
4. Instead of just doing breathing treatments and oxygen therapy, you will have the opportunity to do other things -- if you are ready -- such as suctioning, ABGs and EKGs. Many times we have students leaving here bragging to their fellow students.
5. No you will not get to work with trauma, neuro, or cardiac patients, but you will still get to work with ventilator patients. And since we usually only have one or two at a time, the RT will have plenty of time to work with you and prepare you in this area so when it's time for your ventilator rotation you will be ahead of the game.
6. You will have plenty of time to study.
7. You will still have quality time to do your case studies, and equally impressive patients to do them on. Plust you might even have time to spend with the patient so you can get to know him on a more personal level instead of just a number.
8. If you show your are a good worker willing to go out of your way to do things, you might even receive a job offer to work in the pool. Hey, you'll at least have your foot in the door at a hospital in your home town.
9. You won't have to worry about being thrown to the wolves.
10. You won't have to worry about becoming the third RT who so happens to work pro bono. You will actually have a great learning experience.
Well, there you have it. I imagine there are more, and if you can think of any please add to this list in the comments below.