The Radiation Therapy program at BCIT is made up of four course based semesters and three Clinical Experiences. Students must go to at least two different clinics in the lower mainland or on Vancouver Island in the three clinical rotations. Last fall I spent four months in the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre and had an amazing time. It was my first real experience in the clinic so the learning curve was steep but I returned to class when it was over with a much higher level of knowledge and understanding. I believe this was extremely helpful when it came to getting through my winter courses.
This summer, I will be in the Vancouver Centre for three months. The Vancouver centre is unique for many reasons. It is the largest cancer centre in BC and therefore has the most staff and sees the most patients. The Vancouver centre is also the only cancer centre in BC that treats pediatric patients. As a student at the Vancouver centre it is both overwhelming and exciting to be exposed to so many different types of treatments, patients and staff.
Clinical Experience 2 is unique from our first rotation in the clinic because we get to start running the treatment console (under supervision of course). This means a lot of early mornings participating in machine warm-ups and quality assurance tests but with this comes a higher level of responsibility, participation and opportunity for learning. I personally love the structure of our program. I think it is so great to have this level of clinical participation. It prepares us for employment basically right after we graduate and everything we see in the clinic directly relates to what we have learned in the classroom. The saddest thing about all of this is that very few people know about this program and the Radiation Therapy profession as a whole! I still believe it is the perfect mixture of science, technology, healthcare and patient interaction and I am glad I stumbled upon it!