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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Radiation Therapist: The Most Rewarding Career Out There

Hello, hello

I've been a little MIA lately. Between school and work I have had absolutely no time to do anything else. I'm finally unwinding from studying and thought I'd drop in and post about some things that have been on my mind lately. 

I began the radiation therapy program in August, but my journey in this field started way before then. I went to X-ray school knowing that I didn't want to do that profession my whole life, it was purely a gateway to bigger and better things. Once my second year came around I had to choose what modality I wanted to go into. At first I was set on going into Nuclear Medicine, I really don't even know why. Then I went through my two week orientation in Radiation Therapy and knew I had found my calling (ya sounds cliche, but really!). During those two weeks I instantly fell in love with the profession. I loved how they knew their schedule, worked for a small number of physicians, worked as a team, their hours (bonus!), but most importantly I loved their patients and the relationships they had with them. 

There is no way to describe the relationship between a radiation therapist and a patient. We are the constant in the patient's life during this difficult time. We are the smiling face, the shoulder to lean on, the hug they need when they are having a bad day, the source of information, the person to wipe the tears away, we are the people they can count on. 

I have been asked on numerous occasions "How can you do this all day long?" "How can you handle being around these depressing situations all the time?" And I still haven't found the right answer to these questions. Yes, there are times where all you want to do is cry, but honestly, those are pretty rare. While being with my patients I am focused on being that smiling face, that support they need. I want them to know I am doing everything I possibly can to make them better. 

When my patient's walk through the door I'm not seeing just another cancer patient, I'm seeing Mrs. so-and-so who has been married to her husband for over 50 years and whom enjoys baking for her 18 grandchildren. Or a 5 year old kid who loves mimicking the sounds of the machine as it rotates around him. That is how I can "handle" being in this profession. These patient's are normal people going through a difficult time, not depressing situations. 

I can't put into words the way my patient's make me feel. I get to see these people every single day for weeks on end. I get to know them (what to they like to talk about, their favorite hobby, favorite sports teams, etc.), their families, and their lives. There is a connection between therapists and patient's that people can't grasp unless they are put into that position. One comment one of my professors said during orientation was "I can't tell you how many family scrapbooks I am in." This comment instantly gave me goosebumps. We are a huge part in such a hard time in people's lives!! How cool is that?!

This whole relationship is the exact thing getting me through these long hours of studying. There are times when I think to myself "If only I didn't have to read that chapter, study for that test, or write that paper." Then I think about what all of this hard work leads to; a career I enjoy doing for the rest of my life. A career where I am blessed to meet all of these amazing people. A career where I actually have an impact on people's lives. 

I know I am just a "newbie" into this whole profession but I know I have already seen so much, and have already had an impact on some people's lives. I am so excited to see what this profession has to offer me, just have to get through 8 more months of school :)

Let's all take a moment and pray I end up in one of these again in July :)

Hope everyone is having a good November!

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