Radiologic Technologists combine love for technology with heart for patients
On Nov. 8, 1895 – 124 years ago this week – German physics professor Wilhelm Rontgen stumbled upon what he called “X-radiation.” His discovery of what we now know as X-rays won him the first Nobel Prize in Physics. It’s likely that not even Rontgen could have imagined what X-rays and the field of medical imaging as a whole would look like today.
Medical imaging – the process of creating an image of the interior body to help diagnose and treat illness – encompasses radiography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and more, procedures which are largely performed by radiologic technologists (RT). Lowell Husman, RT at Rapid City Hospital, entered X-ray school in 1971 when technologists worked with hand-processed images that took over an hour to develop. Now, everything is electronic, and it’s only a matter of seconds before providers can view images.
“When I started, there was X-ray, and there was a very basic understanding of nuclear medicine,” he said. “There was no ultrasound, no CT scan, no MRI. The abilities of and quality of medical imaging have increased phenomenally. Now, 99 people can electronically access the same set of images at one time and have a conference call to discuss it.”
Nan Bradeen, Supervisor of Medical Imaging Services at Custer Hospital, said most RTs get into the field because of the progressive technology and the rate of change. “Most RTs want the ability to do more. They don’t want to be stagnant; they want to keep evolving.” Nan joined the field because she loves physics and technology; but she also wanted the opportunity to work with patients directly. “We have to provide a lot of education to patients, create an environment where they can ask questions during the test, and be sure to really listen to the patient,” Nan said.
Lowell said RTs have a unique opportunity to positively impact the patient’s mindset. “Not a single patient wants to come here. They’re afraid of the results, the cost, having pain, and so forth. But we can at least give them a good experience, make them feel comfortable and let them know they’re being well taken care of.”
Nan noted that Regional Health’s vision – It Starts With Heart – really resonates with her, as she and other RTs have always kept this front-of-mind. “That’s kind of what we inherently do.”
Regional Health employs over 160 imaging technologists throughout the markets. Wendy Meadows-Anderson, Director of Medical Imaging Services, said our entire team is extremely dedicated to providing the best possible patient care, and we’re excited to celebrate our achievements during National Radiologic Technology Week.
It is a great time to thank all of our techs in X-ray, Cat Scan, Sonography, MRI, Interventional Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, Bone Densitometry, Quality management, Mammography and PET. As well as our Support Specialists, Tech Assistants, PACS team, Radiologists and specialized medical imaging nursing team for all they do.