Saturday, September 04, 2010

Looking for an IT job

On Wednesday night, I made the mistake of taking a close look at my finances. I think I know what a full blown panic attack feels like now. I couldn't sleep and was second guessing my chances of getting a decent IT job. I was starting to think that I might have to start looking for really crappy entry level IT positions.

I had an interview on Thursday morning with a potential employer and was pretty pessimistic about it, as I was driving to the interview. Traffic was horrible and I made it just in time. When I walked into the building, I was thinking about all the different ways that the interview could go horribly wrong. I was starting to think of the interview as just a way to get some good interviewing experience and perhaps an opportunity to get some feedback into what I need to do to get back into IT.

The interview was the best one I ever had. My two year absence from IT, and my pursuit of an RT career, was an interesting topic of conversation that left the interviewers thoroughly entertained. The interview was fairly technical and was a big confidence builder. I can still "talk tech" with IT professionals and come across as knowledgeable and competent.

I also had an interview with an IT recruiter on Thursday afternoon. I was still pumped about the interview in the morning, during that interview. The recruiter was pretty enthusiastic about me and the employment opportunities that are available to me.

My interview in the morning was the first IT job that I applied for. I had forgotten about how long the hiring process takes. I applied for that job in early August and was interviewed by a hiring manager over 30 days later!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What have I done

I've pursued an interest in Science and Medicine as far as I need to. Science is interesting but I'm not interested in doing the work required to get a PhD and I hate working in a lab. Medicine is interesting but I dislike several things associated with patient care and working in a hospital.

I have a renewed interest, and enthusiasm, for my IT career and am going to go back to it without any second thoughts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

More details coming soon

I'll provide more details about what I've done, what I'm doing and what I'm planning to do. The short version of the story is that I'm returning to my Information Technology career.

I'm kind of busy studying for some exams, so I might not be getting around to any serious posting for a while.

I'm thinking about starting a new blog. I'll leave this blog around because it might be of use to people interested in Respiratory Therapy.

My "career exploration sabbatical" is over, but the adventure continues...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Departure Date: 2010-07-14

I got a copy of my transcript a few days ago. At the top it says:

Departure Date: 2010-07-14

I dropped out of the program. After completing about 2.5 months of clinical rotations, I decided that don't want to be an RT. Everyone who knows about it, is shocked. I'm relieved.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Last shift for PICU

I've already finished my NICU rotation. I'm about to leave for the last shift of my PICU rotation. Next week I'll go back to my base Hospital and do the rest of my rotations there.  I'm having trouble coming to grips with the fact that my training will be finished in a about 5 months. I feel like I know so little and have so much to learn.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NICU Rotation

I'm currently doing my NICU rotation in a Level III NICU. I thought that I would find neonates scary but they aren't that bad. Some of them are actually ridiculously cute. I've got a few days off and am having trouble motivating myself to study.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First week of clinical

The first week of clinical was fairly unstressful. I went to my first code blue, which was interesting. I always wondered how I would do at a code blue. I was there and did what needed to be done, just like everyone else in the room. Doing a code blue in the school's simulation lab, was a lot more stressful.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My new favorite book

This is my new favorite book.  It's not a Respiratory Disease book that goes into a bit of Pathophysiology, it's a real Pathophysiology book!  All of my other so called "Patho books" are a joke when compared to this one.

Clinical Rotations

This is how much time I'll be spending at each rotation

Adult ICU:  12 weeks
Wards/ER:  7 weeks
OR:  3 weeks
PFT: 2 weeks
Level 3 NICU:  3 weeks
Simulated PICU/PCCU:  1 week
Level 3 PICU/PCCU:  1 week

I'll be doing the first week of my Wards/ER rotation next week.  I'll be working with a different Preceptor each day, which should make things interesting next week.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Orientation complete

I finished my hospital orientation.  I did the orientation in three 12 hour shifts.  My base hospital is freaking huge!  I've already gotten lost 4 or 5 times.  The tour of the hospital, on the first day, lasted 5 hours.  The person giving the tour actually go lost a couple times.  I'll be on Wards next week.  I also have a bunch of homework to do for the clinical site and for the college.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

First day of Clinical tomorrow

I'll be starting my clinical rotation tomorrow.  I'm pretty excited about it.  Next week I'll be doing twelve hour shifts. I'm told that next week is an orientation week. I have to dress business casual, so I'm not sure if I'll actually have any patient contact. I'm bringing some scrubs and a lab coat with me, just in case I need them.

I've now finished the first two years of a three year Respiratory Therapy Program.  The third year is the clinical rotation part of my training. Everyone's telling me that everything will start to make sense during clinical. I hope they're right. I should graduate from the program in December of this year.

I picked up my NRP card yesterday.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Passed the composite exam

The average mark was about 3 percent above a pass.  Lots of people are going to be writing up study plans.  My final mark for the composite was 77%. 

What does a respiratory therapist, right out of college, need?

Someone recently sent me an email asking, "What does a respiratory therapist, right out of college, need?"  She's looking for gift ideas for a relative who's about to graduate from an RT program.  Something RTish that could be useful for a new RT fresh out of school...

Asking me for gift ideas is like asking a drowning man for swimming lessons.  I was hoping that others could leave some suggestions in the comments...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Composite exam marks by the end of the week?

Now we're being told that we will get our composite exam marks, by the end of the week.  I strongly suspect that too many people got slaughtered on part II of the exam. They're probably trying to figure out what questions not to count or how low to make the pass mark.

I guess I wasn't the only person wondering what made them think that I could actually answer those types of questions.  A lot of the questions were beyond me and I mentioned that to a couple of faculty today...

Monday, May 03, 2010

Waiting for marks

The final marks for fourth semester are starting to be released.  I'm still waiting for my Anesthesia and Composite exam marks. 

So far I've got two Bs and two As.  I'm hoping Anesthesia is an A+ and the composite exam is a pass.  If I fail the composite exam I have to write up study plan and be ashamed of myself, for a couple of days.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Composite exam - Part I and II

Part I of the Composite exam tested my ability to apply fundamental concepts and my ability to problem solve.  I think I did pretty good on that part.  That part was 2 hours long.  An hour later I wrote Part II.

Part II of the Composite exam was all case studies.  I'm not really sure how I did on that one.  I felt like I had a lot of opinions and not a lot of confident answers.  That part was 2.5 hours long.

I think my chances of passing the Composite are pretty good.  The exam tested me on very little of what I studied, or wanted to study, yesterday. 

I go to the big shiny new hospital next month and start my clinical rotation.

Two parts

The composite today has two parts.  One is from 9-11AM.  The second part is from 12-1PM.  I'm going to do some last minute studying, of first year material this morning, and then hope for the best.

I was actually thinking about what I should put in my study plan, last night.  That thing could potentially end up being really long and taking a lot of work to get done.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More thoughts about the composite exam

I finished my last real exam today, so now I'm studying for the composite exam.

I've been studying my ass off for the last 2 years.  As far as I'm concerned, I've spent 2 years studying for the composite.  I only have today left to review some things, before I write the composite.  If I get tested on things that I don't know, it really doesn't matter.  If it mattered, then my mark on the composite exam would show up on my transcript or at least have in an influence on a mark that does show up.

If I fail the exam I have to write up a study plan.  I essentially just have to make a commitment to study!  WTF?  I'm almost a straight A student, I didn't accomplish that by not studying.  There are a couple of people in my class who don't study that much and get great marks.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.

Also:  Yipee, I can spell check my posts again!  That feature has been missing for ages.

Here I go again

Once again I have underestimated how much I have to study for today's exam.  I left school at 11PM yesterday and now I'm up at 4AM to do some more studying for my 9AM exam...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thoughts about the composite exam

I'm currently studying for my Pulmonary Diagnostics exam, which I write tomorrow. I will be writing the cumulative composite exam on Friday. The exam is supposed to cover what has been taught over the last 2 years of RT school.

I haven't really studied much for the composite exam and these are some of the reasons why:
  • I like sleeping.
  • Trying to cram for an exam that covers 2 years of RT school is just plain stupid and I won’t spend more than a day doing it.
  • I've probably remembered a few things, which I've learned over the last two years, and probably will be tested on some of that.
  • The composite exam is supposed to encourage students to review and reinforce things that they have already learned. I don't need the encouragement to do that and will do that over the next eight months.
  • How I do on the composite will not have anything to do with the marks that show up on my student transcript. If I plan on furthering my education, no one will care how I did on the composite. They will want to see my transcript. I have had no interest in studying less, for courses whose marks will show up on my transcript, so that I can do better on the composite.
  • If I fail the composite, I will just have to write up a study plan that will address the things that I need to brush up on. I probably would have come up with a study plan, on my own anyway, so that I do better in clinical and can pass the registry exam next year. I probably wouldn't have written one up but I sure would have had one in my head.

NRP Certified

I'm now NRP certified.  I woke up in a cold sweat, last night, when I realized that I told the NRP instructor that I was bagging at a rate of 8-12 bpm when I was doing my resuscitation...

I wrote my Ventilators exam this morning.  I write my Pulmonary Diagnostics exam tomorrow.  I write the dreaded composite exam on Friday.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Preparing for next week

Next week is the last week of fourth semester.  I have to write an exam for my third Ventilators course, an exam for my Pulmonary Diagnostics course and the dreaded Composite exam.  On Monday, I also have to redo my NRP competency and my Ventilator competency.  If I blow any of those competencies, I'm screwed.

Last week I wrote my final exams for Pathophysiology and Anesthesia.  I think Anesthesia went very well and Pathophysiology was OK

It now looks like I'll be getting an A for my Simulation course.  I probably have an A+ for Anesthesia.  I'll be happy with a B in Pathophysiology.  I might be able to pull off an A+ for Pulmonary diagnostics but will probably get an A.

I also just bought a shiny new car.  My life sucks a little bit less because of it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Scrubs too big

I ordered 5 pair of scrubs.  They're way too big and I will have to return them.  I need to wear a different colour, of scrubs, for my clinical rotations and was pretty confident that I had ordered the correct size.

Things haven't been going well

My clinical rotations start in less than three weeks and things haven't been going so well.  So far, I've failed two Ventilator competencies and my NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program) practical.  I failed my second Ventilators competency today, with a mark of 25%.   I had a scenario that included a a two day old term baby. I ventilated him as though he was a 30 week gestational age prem.  I also made a major mistake in setting up the pressure that I was using to give the baby his tidal volumes.  I thought I was ventilating with a PIP (Peak Inspiratory Pressure) of 25cmH20 when I was actually ventilating with a PIP of 20cmH2O. I was unwilling to increase the  PIP any higher, so I wasn't able to achieve the target tidal volume that was required.

I'm currently studying for final exams and the cumulative composite exam.  The cumulative composite exam covers 2 years of material. While I'm writing exams, I'll also have to prepare for and redo my NRP certification practical and my second Ventilator competency.  If I don't pass my NRP practical redo and get my NRP certification, I won't be allowed to do my NICU rotation.  If I don't pass my competency redo, I'll fail my Ventilators course.  If I don't those two redos, I won't be allowed to do my clinical rotations.  Now I know how it feels to be on the verge of failing and it really sucks.

I did however get perfect on my PFT (Pulmonary Function Test) competency.  Lots of people didn't do so well on that one.  Apparently the trick to doing that one well, was to watch the patient instead of the computer while getting the patient to do a flow volume loop.

I really hope things turn around, going forward.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Things going better now

I actually passed my last High Fidelity Simulation, which was the first one that counted for marks. Quite a few people had trouble with that one. I got a mark that was just over 80%. I was actually working with 'little miss perfect' on that one and it went really well. I had a chat with her and she seems to aware of what she needs to do to improve on in simulation. She's not shy about pointing out her failings, in sim, and made a point of warning me about them and offering advice on how I can help to make them less of an issue if they come up. I'm not shy about doing that either.

The low mark streak has been broken. I got a 94% on a recent test. I wrote half of my midterm exams last week and will write the rest next week. I hope they all work out well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

In a bit of a slump

Head Bang Desk Pictures, Images and Photos 4th semester is essentially half over and I'm in a bit of a slump.  These are some of the highlights:
  1. Test marks consistently lower than I'm used to.  Getting the same low mark on three tests in a row and then breaking that streak, by getting a fourth mark that's 1% lower.
  2. Joking with a smarter classmate about how she should fail a competency, so she knows what it feels like.  She failed the competency and so did I.  Up until that one, getting perfect, or almost perfect, was the norm.
  3. Not being able to pass a High Fidelity Simulation.  It would have been nice too actually pass a simulation prior to them counting for marks.  The last simulation was a disaster.  The next one counts for marks.  If I fail the Simulation course, I'm screwed.
  4. Being absolutely correct about an answer on a test and still getting it marked wrong.  It was taught wrong in class and everyone else accepted it. I guess, for a certain professor, the generally accepted fallacy is the truth.  WTF?  So much for Science and the quest for truth...  She wasn't really interested in the correct answer, which was pretty infuriating while I was talking to her about it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Books I find most useful

I've wanted to update the list of RT books, that I like, in my sidebar. Instead of maintaining a list of all of my RT books, I'm now just going to maintain a list of the 9 that I find most useful. Getting the list down to nine was pretty hard.

I'm keeping the list in a carousel widget, which has now replaced my old list. The carousel widget only allows you to have 9 books in it.

Simulation #4

The simulation last week was pretty cool.  Something was horribly wrong.  We had to figure out what was wrong and fix it.  Being able to do that was very gratifying.  We almost got a passing mark on that one.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Thoughts about simulation

These are some things that I've learned during my High Fidelity Simulations so far:
  • I'm part of a team.  If don't act like a part of the team and communicate with team members during an emergency, things go to crap really fast.
  • Make sure the ties on my gown are done up well.  Having your gown fall off, onto the patient, when your doing an intubation is a pain in the ass.
  • Sharp things can make me bleed.
  • Don't over plan for the Sim. 
  • I don't know what's going to happen. 
  • I can't preplan for every eventuality. 
  • Being flexible and able to adapt is worth more than "studying up for Sim" the night before.
  • Communication with team members is absolutely essential.  If you're communicating well, mistakes don't get made or can be quickly corrected before they have a chance to matter.
  • If you can't find something, and you're in a hurry, ask for help finding it.
  • Always ask for help when you need it.  Things get done faster and better.
  • Be nice to people when you're stressed and don't get upset by people who can't be nice when they're stressed.
  • Hight Fidelity Simulation is reallly cool.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

When doing your best, isn't good enough

People in my class are having odd reactions to their High Fidelity Simulation marks.

When we do a High Fidelity Simulation, we're being assessed at an "entry to practice standard". In other words, we're being assessed as though we are actual Respiratory Therapists, instead of Student Respiratory Therapists. Not surprisingly, we're not yet doing very well in our simulations. We're still in the last semester of our "in school" training and we haven't even begun our 8 months of clinical rotations yet. Why should we be doing well in Simulation? We shouldn't. In about 4 weeks, we should be getting decent marks for our simulations and that's kind of impressive, exciting and frightening. At this point, anyone who's expecting to do well in Simulation is being irrational and and perhaps a bit crazy.

Unfortunately, at least one person in my class might snap. Miss alwaysright is always right and never makes a mistake, at least in her mind. Even when she's wrong, she's right. She really is quite annoying and everyone just rolls their eyes when she comes up in conversation.

Miss alwaysright is just like everyone else in the High Fidelity Simulation. She's enthusiastic and trys to do her best. Just like the rest of us, her best isn't very good. How is she reacting to this? Not well. Yesterday I heard that she's accusing a person who does the evaluations, for the Simulations, as being a liar and not evaluating her simulation performances fairly. She's not making formal accusations; she's just bitching and complaining to enyone who will listen.

I'm kind of hoping that she will make a formal accusation at some point. All of the Simulations are on video.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Emily Brewster is amazing

If I could actually focus on what she's saying, instead of noticing how attractive she is, I might actually be able to figure out the difference between the words 'affect' and 'effect'.

This is her explaining the difference between affect and effect:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Second sim mark

I just got my second simulation mark.  My partner and I almost passed.  I'm actually quite pleased.  The mistakes I made, in the last sim, probably won't be repeated.  The more I look back on Monday's simulation, the more I think of simulation as being really cool and worthwhile.

I have my first test, of the semester, in about 2.5 hrs.  It's for my Pulmonary Function Testing course and the study material is pretty uninteresting.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crazy Sim Lab today

My High Fidelity Simulation experience today, was crazy.  Lots of stuff going on and a Physician, not very patiently, telling me and my fellow SRT to hurry up. 

Unfortunately, I can't really write about what goes on in Sim.  "What happens in Sim, stays in Sim".

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The semester so far

On Monday it will be the third week of fourth semester.  My course load seems pretty light, when compared to last semester.  I'm hoping that I will have some extra time to study things, from previous semesters, that are fading from memory.

I did my first high fidelity simulation last week and was surprised by how real it felt.  I only had to pretend a little bit, during the simulation, because the simulation environment and scenario was pretty realistic to start with.  We were warned that our first simulation marks would almost certainly be failures because the standard for assessment at the beginning of the semester is the same as at the end.  We're being evaluated, from the start, as though we were actual RTs.  The first 7 simulations don't count towards our actual marks.  The usual people, have already started complaining about their simulation marks, even though they don't count.  I failed my first simulation, as predicted, and don't understand why some people are upset about their marks. 

We're being trained to a high standard and we now know where we are in relation to that standard.  We have been measured and have been found lacking and that's a good thing because we can focus on what needs to be improved. 

I really need to stop dropping things on the floor.  Using PPE might also be a good idea...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Clinical site

I'll be going to the Clinical site that I most wanted too go to. We had to submit our preferences for a base clinical site, ranked from 1 to 9, this morning. This afternoon, we were told where we would be going.

I'll start my clinical rotation in May.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sim lab orientation

Today was my first day of school for the semester. All I had today was a SIM lab orientation. Not only do I need to know how to use equipment, I need to know where to find it. I spent about 5 minutes trying to figure out where the face masks were located. I couldn't find them! I had to ask the guy running the SIM lab, where they were.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

What it's like to be a patient

Stephen Gaudet over at is a retired Respiratory Therapist, who's been living with severe refractory Asthma since birth.   He has once again provided me with a valuable insight into what it's like to be a patient.    Unfortunately, that insight comes from his most recent hospital stay, which he blogs about here:

Rock on dude

Funniest thing I've seen all year.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The right book can make a difference

Rau's Respiratory Care Pharmacology is the book that I was supposed to, and did, buy for last semester's Pharmacology course.

Integrated Cardiopulmonary Pharmacology is the book that I wish I would have bought for last semester's Pharmacology course. I just received a copy of this book today and noticed something pretty obvious. The most difficult modules for the Pharmacology course were based on material from this book. I've started to read the relevant parts of the book and a lot of the disconnected facts, from the course, are now starting to come together and make sense.

I personally prefer Integrated Cardiopulmonary Pharmacology.  It's a lot more clear and concise and also constantly points out the clinical significance and relevance of concepts.

Rau's Respiratory Care Pharmacology is a good book.  Unfortunately, it quite often goes into too much detail and the fundamental concepts get lost in the minutiae.  I will turn to this book, when I find that the other book doesn't go into as much detail as I need.

Oprah Winfrey pisses me off

I've always found Oprah Winfrey really annoying and this Newsweek article, written by Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert, explains why. I've always wanted to go on a rant about Oprah but never really had they energy to do a good job.

Now I just have to find good articles about Dr. Phil, Dr. Weil ,Deepak Chopra, Anthony Robbins and Kevin Trudeau.

Is this more funny if you're over 30?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New use for a clip board

When I'm on a small plane I don't like sitting beside really obese people. Their lower bodies have a tendency to ooze under the arm rest and onto my seat! To avoid being touched by the body part(s) that ooze onto my seat, I have a tendency to move away from the ooze. Unfortunately, the oozing continues and I find an ever decreasing amount of seat room for myself. I'm a pretty big guy myself and I get pretty pissed off by other people’s fatness intruding into my personal space and onto my seat.

This situation happened to me again, when I was flying back home from visiting family in the US, during the holidays. I discovered that if I put a clip board between myself and the arm rest, that fatness doesn't make it over to my seat and I don't have to deal with the creepy sensation of someone’s fat ass touching my thigh.

Not getting ripped off

Now that the Canadian dollar is almost at par with the US dollar, Canadians are being gouged buy Canadian retailers again. A lot of the retailers are claiming that it's not their fault.  They're saying that it's their distributors and suppliers who are at fault.  I don't really care who's responsible for trying to rip me off.  I'm not having any part of it.  I have a credit card, know how to buy things online and will give my business to a US retailer who doesn't rip me off.  I had to buy textbooks recently, which illustrates the state of things.  Unless otherwise noted, all of the following prices are in Canadian dollars:

The College Bookstore was selling the Essentials of Respiratory Care for $103.95. (that's the Canadian Amazon) was selling the same book for $94.95. (the American Amazon) was selling the book for $70.77 (US$65.63).

WTF? $103.95, $94.95 or $70.77!? I ordered the Essentials of Respiratory Care along with the Manual of Pulmonary Function Testing from and only had to pay an additional "import fee" of $5.91 (US$5.47).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Back to school on Monday

I'm back to school on Monday and looking forward to it.  Monday is the first day of fourth semester.  I have 4 courses and clinical simulation.  Last semester was supposed to be the hardest semester and I won't argue that fact. 

I only had to buy a couple more textbooks for next semester 4th semester.  Most of the courses had "Retained from previous semester" listed as the required texts.

If you're looking for RT blogs / websites to read

If you're looking for RT blogs / websites to read, look here:  The best Respiratory Therapy Blogs for 2010