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National Radiologic Technology Week[R]: celebrate you, the R.T.

Members of Brigham and Women's Hospital Radiology Department in Boston know that the art, science and compassion they practice lie at the heart of the department's success.

Each year in November, the month when Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered the x-ray, R.T.s at Brigham and Women's Hospital and at hospitals and clinics around the country celebrate National Radiologic Technology Week[R]. This special seven days not only honors R.T.s, but also educates non-R.T.s about the profession through open houses, job fairs and displays. This year's NRTW is Nov. 4-10.

R.T.s at Brigham and Women's Hospital shared with ASRT Scanner some of the activities from last year's NRTW.

Parties and Posters

Radiologic technologists had bagels for breakfast and pizza for lunch as they celebrated National Radiologic Technology Week. They consumed ice cream on Wednesday and cake on Thursday, and if the ice cream left them chilly, they had handsome blue windbreakers--a gift from the radiology department--to warm them up.

But the real warmth came neither from the food nor fabric.

"The purpose of NRTW is recognition of the importance of our job and education of the public we serve," said Michelle Lacey, R.T.(R), who has worked at Brigham's ambulatory/emergency room since February 2006.

One educational component of the week was the 12 posters, displayed on brass easels, in the Cabot Atrium. First-year radiography students from Bunker Hill Community College and Regis College, whose teachers include Carl Patturelli, R.T.(R)(CT), and Barry Hall, R.T.(R), designed the posters. They highlighted historical and current imaging topics, ranging from who Dr. Roentgen was to what the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence lence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy bill is. Patients and physicians paused to read the posters.

Scarcely pausing on a busy day in inpatient/diagnostic radiography, Megan Mashkovich, R.T.(R), a technologist at Brigham for 18 months, described the main benefit of NRTW.

"The best part of this week," Ms. Mashkovich said, "is that we are appreciated for the job we do."

Thousands of Patients All Hours of the Day

Consider the numbers. Brigham Radiology performs approximately 500,000 procedures a year. Each of those requires a technologist--working with CT MR, diagnostic x-ray, fluoroscopy, nuclear medicine or ultrasound--to care for a patient, who must be positioned, educated and sometimes calmed before images are made.


Both referring physicians and radiologists depend on R.T.s. They use the department's sophisticated equipment to capture images of patients of all ages, who are often in pain and distress.

Even patients who can't be transported to the radiology department can be imaged. R.T.s use portable x-ray machines to help diagnose patients in Brigham's inpatient rooms.

"There are very few patients admitted to the Brigham and Women's Hospital who are not imaged by Radiology," said Charles David Healy, R.T.(R), chief technologist, who manages the 25 fulltime technologists in diagnostic radiology. NRTW "is the hospital's opportunity to give thanks to its technologists who work day in and day out."

Mr. Healy's staff, which saw 7,809 patients in October 2006, works around the clock. He oversees 12 R.T.s during the day, six in the evening and two overnight.

His counterpart, Chief Technologist Angela McLaughlin, R.T.(R), manages R.T.s who care for outpatients visiting either ambulatory care or the emergency room.

Trends Toward Computers And Independence

Mr. Heal), said that all R.T.s are acknowledged as part of the Brigham team, and the nature of that team has changed over the years. He remembered when a radiographer worked with film in a darkroom and when images were refined by adjusting the processor and chemicals. R.T.s would personally hand over film to physicians, who had the chance to say, "Thanks."

"It's an electronic world now," Mr. Healy said of today's workplace. R.T.s use computer software to improve the contrast of an image, and they secure an Internet Protocol address to route images. Doctors don't necessarily see the technologist who takes images of their patients.

"Computer skills are mandatory today," Mr. Healy said, "and technologists work more independently. The changes, however, are all for the better."

Images don't get lost, he said. And technologists, who no longer have to change film cassettes, spend more time with patients. "Patient care is the constant in the profession," Mr. Healy said.
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Title Annotation:radiologic technologists
Publication:ASRT Scanner
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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