Tricks of the Trade

Hello all! Not another rant today. For the last few weeks, I have had the privilege of working with some newbies (don’tcha love ‘em!) So today, we’re looking at some tricks of the trade. After 30 years (or so), I think I’ve gathered a few. Here we go…
1. All sharps are on the table to stick you. Develop good habits in sharps management. There is no reason to suffer an exposure by needle or scalpel.

2. It’s easier to squirt flush out of a syringe than to add more. For venous access, 2 – 4 ml. For flush, 7 – 8.

3. For every access needle, there must be a wire.

4. For every sheath, there must be a flush.

5. Pull up 5 – 7 ml of contrast while you clear the manifold. Use that contrast for your inflator. 5 ml contrast + 15 ml flush for peripheral; 7 & 7 for cardiac.

6. Run the flush from the pressure bag through the manifold, clearing as much air and as many bubbles as possible. Then, turn the handle to run the flush through the pressure transducer. Tap the manifold connection first. This will push bubbles forward. Tap the transducer to move the bubbles out.

7. When clearing lines, spend the most time on the connections. That’s where the bubbles will hide.

8. Make a habit of wet-to-wet connections; flush forward on the syringe and bleed back on the catheter. Wet-to-wet connections will decrease the possibility of bubbles.

9. Always hold the back end of a catheter or long sheath. Controlling the back end means no incidental contamination of a catheter, wire, sheath, balloon or sheath. I usually place the end between my 4th and 5th fingers.

These are just a few I can think of right now. Leave any of your favorite tricks in the comments section. I’d love to hear them!

Are you a professional?

What does it mean to be a professional? According to Merriam-Webster, Professional means:

a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession. b: engaged in one of the learned professions. c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.
And to follow, Professionalism: the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well (Mirriam-Webster, 2015)

So…are we professionals? Are Radiologic Technologists professionals? We have gone to school; we have passed a test to obtain our license. We conform to the standards of the profession. Do we exhibit a courteous, conscientious and businesslike manner in the workplace? What does that even mean?
Let’s start with courtesy. Webster defines courtesy as:

a: behavior marked by polished manners or respect for others: courteous behavior b: a courteous and respectful act or expression (Mirriam-Webster, 2015)
Who should we show courtesy to? We usually think of patients first, but there are two other groups: doctors and co-workers. Let’s focus on co-workers. How can we be courteous to co-workers?
We can be on time. Yes, it’s that simple. Here’s the deal. I’ve worked in the lab for many years. There is a lot to do before bringing a patient in for a procedure. A late arrival means your team members must perform these tasks without you. That shows neither courtesy nor respect for your co-workers. Yes, everyone is late from time to time; that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about people who are late every day; the ones we’re surprised to see arrive on time. At its most basic level, this is unprofessionalism. BE ON TIME.
You can jump in and help. There are always things to be done when the patient arrives. Someone who always has a phone call, or extra paperwork, or needs to step out at that time certainly isn’t showing respect or courtesy for their co-workers. If you have that much to do for the lab, ask for time to get it done. If it’s personal, well, do it on your personal time. A professional knows that the patient comes first; before the doctor, before the lab, and especially before your personal business. JUMP IN AND HELP!
What else is there? Oh yes…watch your language. That includes profanity as well as off-color stories and jokes. You never know who will be listening and offended by it. Especially now. Remember…you’re not working in a bar. You’re not working in a restaurant. You’re working in a hospital. People have a higher standard. Profanity doesn’t meet that standard. Frankly, profanity shows a lack of respect as well as a lack of imagination. It just doesn’t belong in a hospital! So the last work on being professional? WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!
So how to be professional? Three things:
1. Be on time
2. Jump in and help
3. Watch your language
I’m sure there are many more, but this is enough to get most of us started. Have fun…?