5 TIPS FOR CRUSHING X-RAY Tech CLINICALS (Must Read) !

5 TIPS FOR CRUSHING X-RAY Tech CLINICALS (Must Read) !

5 TIPS FOR CRUSHING X-RAY TECH  CLINICALS!

So you think your X-Ray tech school classes are hard? Oh, dear friend… you have no idea!

Depending on the X-Ray school program you go into, you will be going to either hospitals, doctor’s offices, or medical clinics in order to gain “real-world” experience in becoming an X-Ray tech.

The most common term used to describe this portion of radiography school is “clinicals” or “clinical.” There might be other names for this, but for the purposes of this blog, we will just stick with clinicals.

My longest lasting x-ray tech job was working at one of the largest and busiest hospitals in my state. Because of this, we were always up to our ears in x-ray tech students (sometimes 10 at once). In my short illustrious career as an X-ray tech, I have had the good fortune of working with many, many x-ray tech students. Some were amazing, and some… well we will get to that.

Before I start,  just want to say that, I HAVE BEEN WHERE YOU ARE, and I sincerely want you to not just “get through”X-Ray school clinicals, but I also want you to CRUSH them!

 

TIP 1: KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING INTO:

This might sound like a no-brainer, but seriously, you need to take some time to get mentally prepared to not only be around “real patients” but also real working x-ray techs. At radiography school, it’s all sunshine and rainbows. You get to practice positioning on your classmates, share funny YouTube videos, and avoid the occasional code brown (only hospital techs will get this joke).

Starting clinicals for the first time is kind of like getting pulled from the womb in that you are now being exposed to an entirely new world. No one is saying that you have to be awesome your first day, but there is no reason why you should start clinicals completely clueless either.

Once you find out where your clinical location is, I would recommend you driving there a day or two before your first day. It is also a really good idea to actually go into the facility and find the location where you will need to check-in first thing in the morning. By doing this, you will be able to know exactly how much time is needed in order to get from your home to the time clock. Most radiography clinical instructors are mean bitter people (I’m joking), so they will have ZERO cares about your excuses of why you were late on your first day.

I would also recommend talking to your upper classmates in order to get the inside information on that particular clinical site. For example, almost every clinical site has that one x-ray tech that for whatever reason doesn’t like students. It is always a good idea to find out beforehand who that person is so you can make sure to keep your distance.

NOTE – If you are a working technologist and you can’t think of who this person is at your facility. Well, chances are it might be you!

TIP 2: NO ONE IS EXPECTING YOU TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING:

I can pretty much assure you that you are not going to be put in the Emergency Room on your first day of X-Ray school clinicals and told to, “get to work”. Trust me, all the working x-ray techs at your clinical location understand that you are new and none of them are expecting you to know what the heck you are doing, especially on your first day. In fact, it might even take a good couple of week before you even shoot your first real x-ray. This x-ray student limbo can get pretty discouraging, but please don’t be. There will be plenty of time to learn, and there is never a shortage of patients to x-ray.

This x-ray limbo can get pretty discouraging, but please don’t be. There will be plenty of time to learn how to perform x-ray exams, and there is never a shortage of patients who need x-rays.

 

TIP 3: FIND AN X-RAY TECH SENSEI:

One of the best advice I can give to new x-ray tech students is to find a Jedi knight rad tech and follow them (if they will let you) everywhere they go.

When I was doing my Trauma rotation at a level one hospital, I found one rad tech who had been shooting x-ray for about as long as I had been alive, I took to him like white on rice and never regretted it for a second! Yes, he was not always the easiest person to get along with, but because of him, I can shoot a lateral cross-table knee like no one’s business!

 

TIP 4: BE THE X-RAY TECHS BEST FRIEND:

Before I go on any further, I am not saying you need to be “best friends” with all the working x-ray techs. I am simply saying that you should always try to be as helpful as possible. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be the janitor or anything like that, but you should always try to be at least one step ahead of the rad tech you are following. This means ALWAYS being ready to hand them an extra pillow for the patient, offering to either get the patient or take them back to the waiting room or ED room,  changing linens, and/or anything else that will make the tech say, ” that student is a hard worker!” True story, I was offered a job while I was a student solely for doing the things I just mentioned.

TIP 5: CLINICALS = JOB INTERVIEW

I saved the best and most important tip for last!

I have seen so many students make this mistake and pay dearly for it.

Clinicals is not the time to:

  • catch up on studying
  • make new friends
  • write papers
  • Look at Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.
  • catch up on sleep
  • hold up a wall
  • talk to other students

X-Ray school clinicals is for you to both learn how to be an x-ray tech as well ad lay the group work for you to get an X-ray tech job!

Let me tell you a little secret. When you get done with school and start applying for jobs, the hiring manager is going to go to all the x-ray techs within the department and ask what they thought about you. In most cases, the feedback they get from these techs will be the deciding factor on whether you get an interview or not.

Unfortunately, no one cares about your second job, how tired/stressed out you are, or why you chronically came in late or missed days. What they care about is if you are a hard worker and are dependable.

Oh, another thing, the x-ray tech community is very small and tight-knit, so if you are planning at burning a bridge at one clinical site, I assure you it is going to get around.

The best advice I can give any x-ray tech student is to bring your A-game every day of x-ray school clinicals! Now everyone is entitled to have an off day here or there, but I can assure you that if you come to X-Ray tech school clinicals every day with a positive attitude and a willingness to both learn and help you will at least get put on the list of potential applicants when a new position becomes open.

I sincerely hope this post helps you and feel free to share with your fellow classmates or fellow x-ray techs.

Ari Blum Founder: Clover Learning

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4 Steps for CRUSHING the ARRT Radiography Exam

Ok, so you took all the classes, worked for free (clinical), and paid a bunch of money. You have taken your LAST X-Ray tech school exam and are now ready to sit for the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam. If you are human, you are now probably freaking out on the...

4 Steps for CRUSHING the ARRT Radiography Exam

4 Steps for CRUSHING the ARRT Radiography Exam

Ok, so you took all the classes, worked for free (clinical), and paid a bunch of money. You have taken your LAST X-Ray tech school exam and are now ready to sit for the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam. If you are human, you are now probably freaking out on the inside! I mean, what if you fail? How could you ever face your friends or classmates? Ok, it’s not that big of a deal, many students have to retake their ARRT Certification Exam, and at the end of the day, the only thing you are out of is time and money.

Here at Clover learning, we take radiography education pretty seriously, I mean that is why we built RadTechBootCamp!

Our team of instructors traveled to our undisclosed underground bunker with the sole mission to create the best 5 step Radiography blog post of all time. I think we have succeeded in this mission. So without further ado, here are the 5 steps to crushing the ARRT Certification Exam.

Step 1: Stop FREAKING OUT!

Seriously, even though this seems like the biggest single moment of your life, it really isn’t. As I mentioned, this is just a test. Say, the worst case scenario is that you do not pass the radiography exam the first time around, you can always reschedule and simply take the exam again. The American Registry of Radiographic Technologists (ARRT) allows for the Radiography certification exam to be taken up to three times. Not that it will come to that, but it is always nice to know you have multiple attempts!

Stress decreases your memory.

An article by www.bebrainfit.com titled “12 Effects of Chronic Stress on Your Brain” outlines the neurological effects stress can have on individuals. The article explains that stress increases cortisol (the stress hormone) within our bodies. Although cortisol is good in some cases, when overproduced the outcome can result in decrease working memory. The article goes on to talk about how stress also causes the down-regulation of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. For those not familiar, these neurotransmitters are how your brain stays happy. Often low levels of serotonin and/or dopamine lead to clinical depression.

What I recommend individuals do to decrease stress is simply put everything in perspective. Like I mentioned earlier, THIS IS JUST A TEST! Even if you do not pass the first time around, you still have a family who loves you, friends that support you, and hopefully a roof over your head. Since passing a test will not affect any of these things, you need not make it this gigantic impending thing.

Take a few deep breaths in and out and begin to look at the ARRT Radiography certification exam as simply the culmination of your radiography education. Look, you have made it this far so obviously you are capable of passing a test.

Step 2: Study smarter not harder.

I am going to tell you a little secret… Most of what is in your ARRT certification exam prep book will probably not be on your board exam.

When I was preparing for my ARRT certification exam I had the prep book, I had the online practice test subscription, and I had the HUGE pile of flashcards. My “strategy” for taking the board exam was to simply memorize everything before the big day. I spent hours upon hours doing mock exams, going over flashcards, and highlighting everything in my exam prep book. Yes, I passed my board exam the first time around, but even after all that studying, there were still concepts like the line-focus principle that I did not fully understand.

In retrospect, I could have saved myself TONs of time and possibly even increased my test score by simply identifying the key subjects that I did not really understand. Instead of trying to memorize everything, I could have spent a bulk of my time, REALLY learning those topics. This philosophy was actually my motivation for creating the RadTechBootCamp.com website.

Let me explain, if you really look at the test prep books, they are only asking you the same basic questions in different ways. What I discovered is that when you ACTUALLY understand the underlying concepts (like the line-focus principle), you can significantly decrease study time.

Why is this?

This is because when you fully understand a key concept, you are now able to effectively identify the correct answers. By fully learning the main concepts within radiography, the confusion begins to lessen and the study time begins to plummet.

Time for a little self-promotion. This theory of learning vs. memorizing is the framework of what RadTechBootCamp.com is all about. We fundamentally believe that what sets us apart from all other websites is that we don’t simply test you on what you already know. Instead, we deliver the information in a way that “teaches” students the fundamentals. After you have learned the key concepts, you can then test that knowledge by taking quizzes or a mock exam.

Step 3 Crap in crap out.

I am sure you have heard the adage, “you are what you eat.” This is something I completely agree with! I am sure we have all heard stories of individuals going out the night before a big test to “have a few” and inadvertently waking up the next morning with a massive hangover. I have actually heard of people doing this the night before their ARRT certification exam! Now it is not my place to judge anyone, but seriously after all the work, time, and money you have put into your education couldn’t you wait one more night!?

This advice includes more than just alcohol though. This advice includes foods with high amounts of sugar (including sugar soft drinks), fried foods, sugar substitutes (like sweet’n low), and heavily processed foods (like white bread, pasta, and pizza). The effect these foods have on your brain is they can cause a condition commonly known as brain inflammation or brain fog. Brain fog is best described as those times where everything in your head just seems muddy like you are trying to remember a word and no matter how hard you try you just can not think of it. For me, brain fog is when I am trying to write, and the words just are not able to come out.

For best results, don’t just clean up your diet the night before the big test but instead try a MONTH or at least the week before.

Here are some recommendations for foods that actually make you smarter.

  • Lean beef
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, swiss chard, romaine lettuce)
  • Avocados
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Coconut Oil
  • High-quality eggs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Seeds and nuts

Step 4: Sleep

This is a huge one as well. In today’s culture of social media, Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube it is so easy to look up from your screen and realize it’s two hours past bedtime. What you might not realize is that if you are getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep a night, then your brain is probably not functioning as good as it could be. Here is a quote from a Physiological Review article. “Over more than a century of research has established the fact that sleep benefits the retention of memory.” I totally understand that there are some circumstances in where it is just not possible to get the recommended amount of sleep. For those individuals, I recommend doubling down on cleaning up your diet. For everyone else, I recommend trying to stick to a consistent bedtime schedule. For me, I try to alway go to sleep between 10 pm and 10:10 every night. I realize this is pretty early to some but with my lifestyle and family commitments this allows me to wake up at 6 am every morning rested and ready to take on the day!

Just like with the diet recommendation, I recommend sticking to a 7-8 hour sleep time, a good week or so before taking your ARRT Certification exams. Trust me on this, after about three good nights of sleep, your brain will feel like a well-oiled machine. You will be able to remember things that will even surprise you!

Step 5: Believe in yourself

In this final step, I simply want you to stop for a second and take a moment to do a heart check. As I mentioned, you have made it this far. You put up with all the mean, unhelpful techs at your clinical site, you passed all the required tests at your school, and you most of all put your life on hold for your radiography education. You can do this! Ok, so maybe you are not the best test taker in the world, or maybe you have zero confidence. I simply want you to take a few moments to reflect on all you have achieved so far and begin to start to believe that you can do it!

Ari Blum Founder: Clover Learning

5 Tips for Taking Better X-Rays

When I was a student, the most difficult x-rays for me to get right was the lateral knee. No matter what I did or who helped me, the radiograph would always turn out being either over rotated or just funky looking. Eventually, I figured out that by shooting the...

5 Tips to Crushing X-Ray Tech School!

So you want to be an X-Ray Technologist? Well before you can shoot X-rays at people for a living, you first have to go to a certified x-ray tech school or radiography program, to use the common vernacular. Most radiography programs fall in either of two categories....

5 TIPS FOR CRUSHING X-RAY Tech CLINICALS (Must Read) !

5 TIPS FOR CRUSHING X-RAY TECH  CLINICALS! So you think your X-Ray tech school classes are hard? Oh, dear friend… you have no idea! Depending on the X-Ray school program you go into, you will be going to either hospitals, doctor’s offices, or medical clinics in order...

4 Steps for CRUSHING the ARRT Radiography Exam

Ok, so you took all the classes, worked for free (clinical), and paid a bunch of money. You have taken your LAST X-Ray tech school exam and are now ready to sit for the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam. If you are human, you are now probably freaking out on the...

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