WOW!! i am so pumped to get out to my clinicals after taking our tour of the radiology dept this morning. we started out with a tour of the cardiac cath lab which was very interesting. i had sort of written the cath lab off, thinking i would never want to do it, but after hearing more about it, it is much more interesting than i thought. i still dont know if i would ever cross train into it, but it is a very interesting and necessary service.
later, we were taken into the radiology dept proper and shown all their x-ray suites as well as CT and fluoroscopy. all very interesting. currently, most hospitals are making the switch to whats called digital radiography, or DR. DR is entirely computerized, film and electronic imaging plates are not used. rather the table itself is a sensor and catches the x-ray image and sends it almost instantly to the computer which will display it on a monitor for a tech to evaluate. this allows the tech to immediately determine if he or she will have to repeat the projection before the patient leaves the table. it also cuts down on the amount of radiation a patient has to be exposed to.
although most hospitals have switched over to DR, there were a few rooms in this hospital that hadnt been upgraded yet, so we able to see how the older machines worked. i can tell already that i will much prefer to work with the DR machines since they are much more user friendly and time efficient. DR is so prevalent these days that our program no longer teaches its students how to process film and the ARRT has taken out all film-related questions from its national exam. Advances in imaging technology progress very rapidly.
we finished our tour in the MR area. the Chandler Regional Hospital employs a 1.5 Tesla magnet for its magnetic resonance (MR) machine, which is a standard magnet size for MR machines in the US. although, researchers have developed and are now testing 7, 9 and even 15 Tesla MR machines. to me MR is one of the most interesting modalities, as well as the most complex.
MRs use high powered magnets and radiowaves to change the alignment of the water molecules in your body. when their alignment is changed a signal is produced which is recorded and interpreted by a computer and then displayed as a visual image. MRs do not employ ionizing radiation for imaging like CT, x-ray and fluoro do, so it is a much safer form of imaging. However, there are precautions that must be taken regarding metal objects coming into close proximity to the magnet.
this modality really interests me and i hope to cross train in it soon after i start working. MR technology advances very fast and it is thought that it will become one of the most commonly used modalities in the future. it is especially useful when paired with CT, as they compliment each other well.
they gave us lots of great information and we now have lots to think about regarding our future career goals. i am really leaning toward MR now as well as CT cross training. Bone densitometry is also something i may be interested in, as well as eventually being trained to be a Radiology Assistant. who knows what the future will bring.