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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My advice to new RTs

Question: I graduate in two months. What advice do you have for those of us starting our first 'real' job?

My humble answer:
  1. Punch in on time
  2. Know that you are not ancillary staff, you are part of a professional team.
  3. Give 110% all the time, but when it's slow don't be afraid to read a book and relax.
  4. Get all your work done and then gossip or read a book or play on the Internet.
  5. Start treatments a half hour early in case you get called STAT somewhere.
  6. Get to know your patients and who really needs treatments, that way you know who to brush off should you be forced to prioritize therapies.
  7. Get all your charting done as soon as you get a chance to sit down; do not wait until the end of the shift in case you get a rush at the end.
  8. Get your oxygen rounds done and charted as early as possible. Don't wait to the end of shift to do them, as this make people think you are a slacker.
  9. You are now a real RT. You can do more than one treatment at a time if you need to. But stay in the same general area. If you have a patient who takes treatments at home, there's no reason he can't be left alone in the hospital.
  10. That said, the following patients should never leave a short of breath patient alone, nor one who has a really bad and sensitive heart.
  11. If you have a vent alarm go off, look at the head first, vent second.
  12. Don't let new vents scare you. They are all the same and easy, despite what you learned in RT School.
  13. Never do a vent check without charting alarms, even if the slacker who worked before you didn't chart any
  14. Make sure you take your time when charting and do it accurately. You can drag charting, but be sure not to drag over some else's comments, lung sounds and vitals.
  15. At the end of your shift double check ALL your charting. Make sure you charted it and clicked on the right medicine.
  16. Take criticism with a mighty, "Yes ma am or sir." I'm serious.
  17. On the same note, do not back talk or make excuses -- own up.
  18. Punch out on time. Don't be late checking out because you are charting

This is a growing list. Check back later for some more advice -- if you need it.

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