By Yvonne Tukei
When I came to the United States almost 10 years ago, I never imagined that I’d be interested in providing health care services to the sick. I knew I wanted to help people, but jumping in hands-on was not my first choice. Eventually, I found myself in the field of radiology. I am currently a registered radiologic technologist in radiography.
One day as I was browsing the Montgomery College rad-tech page on a major social network, I discovered that the AIRP was offering an internship. I read the description and to be honest, I was a little intimidated by the wording of the job description. I applied anyway and was determined to be selected for this opportunity. Two weeks later I was on board. It was a challenge to be thrown into the busy environment of the AIRP rad-path course at the AFI Theater but somehow, I fit right in.
When I joined AIRP, I had been an X-ray tech for three years and therefore had experience in reading images. Of course I could not diagnose, but I could tell where the area of interest was. As the months progressed, I worked closely with the AIRP digital archive. I had access to interesting and medically challenging radiologic-pathologic cases. Over time I got to learn more about all body systems. Working with the AIRP archive gave me the chance to look at several outstanding cases and helped increase my love for radiology.
The reports under each case helped me understand more about the treatment process of a patient. During course time, I attended some of the lectures, especially MSK and GI. At first, the lectures were complex for my level of understanding. As I gained new insight and information, they became clear to me and were very helpful. One of the most interesting lectures I listened to was one given by Dr. Scholz on GI inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. I have done several small bowel studies with patients afflicted by Crohn’s, so I was excited to learn more and use that information to help future patients.
Sometimes as an X-ray tech, it is easy to forget what happens to a patient whose KUB you obtained. Yet my time at AIRP helped remind me that a patient’s journey does not stop after they walk out of the imaging suite. I examined cases from start to finish — from admittance to treatment. Looking at a case in this way helped me understand the reason for doing my job the right way. There is always a patient behind the X-ray, CT scan or ultrasound.
Finally, my time at AIRP has helped influence my future pursuits. I have always wanted to do more in the medical field in addition to being a radiographer and technician. The opportunity at AIRP afforded me more medical knowledge and the interest to learn more about fields and positions I am interested in, such as the physician’s assistant. AIRP Director Donald Hatley was instrumental in my understanding more about applications and further requirements to enter into a physician’s assistant program.
I am extremely grateful for my time spent at and the opportunity to work among the residents, and I look forward to taking that information and using it in my future work.