How to survive x-ray technician clinicals

Aspiring x-ray technicians can use this advice as they take on clinicals.As you’re studying to become a radiologic technologist, also known as an x-ray technician, you will inevitably reach the point in your training where things are a bit more hands-on: clinicals. While the word can sound intimidating, all it really means is that you will be taking the skills you learned in the classroom and applying them in the real world before you earn your associate degree in medical radiography.1 Use these tips to helpy make your clinical experience a success:

1. Take the initiative

Hiding in the corner and texting on your cellphone will not lead to a very productive or successful clinical experience. Instead of gossiping with the other students in your group, display enthusiasm and effort. When the x-ray technologist is performing an exam, show initiative and ask if you can watch or assist.  Clinicals are all about hands-on learning, and you’ll get out of them what you put in.2

2. Treat it like a job

Although you’re technically still a student, your experience in a clinical setting is really more like a job. You will be working alongside real employees, so take it seriously. You wouldn’t show up late to your first day of work, so don’t do it during clinicals either. Professionalism is key.3

3. Ask questions

Remember: It’s OK to ask questions! The only way you are going to expand your knowledge base and truly become a great x-ray technologist is by being unafraid to admit when you don’t know the answer. Clinical instructors want you to be successful, so tap into their expertise whenever possible.4

4. Develop relationships

In addition to sharpening your skills, clinicals are also a great time to expand your professional network. These are people you will want to know when you’re looking for a job, so take the time to get to know the staff members and other students.5

1 Mehallow, Cindy, Monster, ‘Clinical Ed Checklist for Radiologic Technologist Students,’ 2013 – http://career-advice.monster.com/career-development/education-training/rad-tech-clinical-education/article.aspx
2 Poon, David, ADVANCE for Imaging & Radiation Oncology, ‘Advice for Radiologic Technologist Students,’ 2011 – http://imaging-radiation-oncology.advanceweb.com/Student-and-New-Grad-Center/Student-Top-Story/Advice-for-Radiologic-Technologist-Students.aspx
3 Mehallow, Cindy, Monster, ‘Clinical Ed Checklist for Radiologic Technologist Students,’ 2013 – http://career-advice.monster.com/career-development/education-training/rad-tech-clinical-education/article.aspx
4 Poon, David, ADVANCE for Imaging & Radiation Oncology, ‘Advice for Radiologic Technologist Students,’ 2011 – http://imaging-radiation-oncology.advanceweb.com/Student-and-New-Grad-Center/Student-Top-Story/Advice-for-Radiologic-Technologist-Students.aspx
Mehallow, Cindy, Monster, ‘Clinical Ed Checklist for Radiologic Technologist Students,’ 2013 – http://career-advice.monster.com/career-development/education-training/rad-tech-clinical-education/article.aspx