3rd year radiation therapy students and treatment planning

The 3rd and final year of the Radiation Therapy program has finally arrived for the 2019 grad class and most of us couldn’t be happier. We have made it though three semesters of classes at BCIT and 35 weeks spent between 2 different BC Cancer clinics. What is left is one more semester of classes, 16 more weeks in the clinic and an expensive and slightly nerve racking CAMRT national certification exam. Then its over! It is pretty amazing how quickly 3 years can go by and how much we have learned in the process.

So far this semester has been very interesting. We have our final treatment planning course which is intended to expose us to the basics of radiation therapy treatment planning before we graduate. The best part of this is the fact that, in the lab, we are able to work on treatment plans using the same software that is used in the clinic and we get to work with real CT images. After being in the clinic for two rotations we had a lot of time to look at treatment plans but it was not the same as getting to create them ourselves. I have found that having the opportunity to use all of the tools and to make mistakes has helped me understand why certain aspects of the treatments are the way they are. Radiation therapy treatment plans can be complicated and it takes years of experience before radiation therapists have the tools to becomes planners so what we are doing in class just barely scratches the surface but overall it has been extremely beneficial to our learning.

I look forward to returning to the clinic in January and evaluating treatment plans with a new perspective and a new level of knowledge that will hopefully also help me with patient set up on the unit! Part of being a student means that experienced therapists ask us lots of questions in the clinic. It is nice to see how past questions that we had trouble answering are finally becoming clear!

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