Making a Difference in Patients' Lives

Rachael Tubbs
Jan. 25, 2015

Before I was admitted to the radiation therapy program, I was working as a nursing assistant, taking care of older adults in their homes. I was comfortable working with the same few patients; however, one day I was faced with the ultimate test of hardship at work. I got a phone call from work indicating that a woman’s family needed someone to go into her home and keep her comfortable since she was in the process of dying. I had never had experience with this situation and frankly, I was nervous to go into the home of someone I did not know and perform a job I was not experienced at. Nonetheless, I went and stayed with this patient. If I had a family member in the same position, I would want them to be comfortable and have a calming presence alongside them. It is vital to remember to treat patients not just as a cancer or a tumor, but as an individual who deserves high quality care. After working with a patient in the process of dying, I not only overcame adversity, but I learned an important lesson in health care.

Earning this scholarship was a great joy for me and my family. My family is very supportive of my goal to become a radiation therapist. Financially, I am the only person who funds my college education, so earning this scholarship helps lessen my debt. I am able to work a part-time job a little less and focus more of my energy on being a successful student in my radiation therapy program. Education is something I cherish and do not take for granted, so I am very proud to be a recipient of an Elekta scholarship.

After graduating with my B.S. in radiation therapy, I plan to take the ARRT-certified board exam. I am very excited to see where my skills in radiation therapy will take me and I hope to find a job as a therapist shortly after I pass my board exam. I have an adventurous spirit and I believe it would be great to travel outside of the Midwest and see what different areas of the country have to offer. With that, I feel as if I would be prepared to seek employment as a radiation therapist anywhere.

It is hard to pinpoint one moment that made me want to become a therapist because I find inspiration to make a difference in patients’ lives all around me. I knew I wanted to become a therapist after observing a compassionate therapist who spoke with a patient before treatment. I want to treat patients like members of my own family and make them feel comfortable during treatment. Cancer is a powerful disease that affects patients, caregivers, families, and friends. Cancer clearly changes lives, but so can radiation therapists. My goal is to make positive impacts on the lives of my patients.

I would like to sincerely thank the ASRT Foundation for giving me this opportunity. My education is very important to me and I have worked very hard the past four years of college to pursue my dreams to become a radiation therapist. My internship year is starting this July and I will work hard. Having this scholarship enables me to remain successful in my studies as a radiation therapy student. It is an honor to be a recipient of the Elekta scholarship and I am determined to represent and uphold the values of Elekta and ASRT throughout my experience in radiation therapy.

Rachael Tubbs is a recipient of a 2014 Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship.