Career Path in Medicine
The medical field has intrigued me since a young age and it is the reason why I decided to direct my career goals in life to fulfill what’s interested me for so long. I’ve decided that I will further my education in hopes to become a Radiologic Technologist. Long before that, I wished to become an Ultrasound Technician as well. But, the career that used to once be in the same education program as Radiology, no longer is. Meaning, I had to choose one career over the other. I chose Radiology Technology because I felt I’d have a wide range of medical imaging to work with and will enjoy the variety it includes.
I’ve become thoroughly educated on what my career goals entails to be sure I know what I’m getting myself into. Radiology is the use of medical imaging to ultimately diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. The type of medical imaging used is often referred to as x-rays, CT’s, MRI’s, and PET scans. I’d normally include ultrasounds in my list of examples but because that’s not included in the local program I’m interested in, I won’t include it, but it’s still a type of medical imaging.
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Moving from one career to another, the field of ultrasound is run by Ultrasound Technicians which are also called Sonographers if speaking in medical terminology. The equipment used creates sound waves that allow the body’s internal structures to be viewed. The sound waves reflect to create images inside the body, that are then shown to the technician. As ultrasounds are mainly used in obstetrics, they’re able to be used for many other conditions in the medical field as well.
It should be known that there is a difference between a Radiologic Technologist which is what I wish to become, and a Radiologist. A Radiologist Technician is required much less of a schooling journey than someone wanting to become a Radiologist. Radiologist tech.’s are required 2-4 years minimum, gaining an associates degree to be able to pursue their career. During the first two years, general studies such as Biology, Psychology, and math are taken. The following 1-2 years is usually a Radiology training program that must be fulfilled as one of the requirements. In most states it requires a license for the practice, so a passed exam is the final step to being fully accepted into the career of Radiology Technology.
As for the requirements to become an Ultrasound Technician, they are quite similar to the ones of radiology. Oftentimes, what’s required is a majoring in Applied Science and obtaining an associates degree by doing so. Again, there would be a program that would need to be fulfilled as well, most likely for sonography in this case. As for a finalization to the education process, one to two exams would be needed for a certification in that state. Depending on the area, a new exam might have to be taken to pursue an ultrasound career in a separate state where you originally learned the coursework.
Radiologist Technicians require a variety of skills to be able function in their work space. They need to have a passion for science, specifically, anatomy. Since they spend their day analyzing what’s wrong with human anatomy, the technician must have an interest in the body systems. Along with being interested in the practice, it requires the correct knowledge about medical skills as well. One of the medical skills they must know is how to work the equipment in order to perform scans on the patients. “One of the most promising areas is recognizing patterns and interpreting images — the same skills that humans use to read microscope slides, X-rays, M.R.I.s and other medical scans” (A.I. Took a test to detect Lung Cancer, It Got an A., Denise Grady). The quote explains the importance of being able to understand radiology technology if in that form of medical field. Although the list can go on and on for the type of requirements needed in this occupation, lastly I will mention communication skills. Rad. Tech.’s spend their entire day taking in patients and dealing with them the proper way. So, a requirement is to know how to talk to people and how to treat a patient. “Communication skills are essential core competencies that have been associated with improved health outcomes and enhanced satisfaction with care” (Teach Communication Skills to Radiology Residents, HealthManagement). If communication skills lack, it can seriously determine whether the patient’s visit was a good or bad experience for them.
Ultrasound is along the same lines as Radiology. Technical skills are needed for operating medical equipment and being able to get the correct images. “Basic skills for diagnostic medical sonographers include solid technical skills for operating the equipment and getting usable images” (Special Skills Needed to Work as an Ultrasonographer, Elizabeth Layne). The quote implies that by using these images, it’s able to be determined what the patients health status is. Essential skills required are also communication and physical skills. As communication skills were mentioned in the paragraph beforehand, I’ll go more in depth about the physical skills required. These skills include standing for an extended period of time and being able to move a patient if need be. Of course being able to determine what the scan means is the most important skill of all so it requires the correct knowledge to do so. “Dr. Cherniak, an emergency medicine specialist from Canada, said he would upload the scan that evening so an ultrasound specialist in Toronto could double-check the diagnosis: early-stage pneumonia” (In African Villages, The Phones Become Ultrasound Scanners, Donald G. McNeil Jr.). The quote explained an example of a way ultrasound technicians need to be able to diagnose and understand the images taken.
Both of these occupations are quite similar in that they each deal with medical imaging techniques and patient care. There’s not much that’s different about them when in description except the education and training needs, since they require two separate programs. One program is for Radiology and one is for Sonography. When I compare both of these jobs, I’m easily able to figure out which career path I want to continue with. Radiology seems like the greater, widespread type of job, having the variety in medical imaging I’d prefer. Since figuring out what I’d like to continue for my career, I’ve done everything I can so far to reach that goal of a Radiology Technology occupation. I’ve enrolled myself in general courses for my first semester of college, and once my two years are completed and my associates degree is obtained, I plan on applying to the radiology program at Shore Memorial Hospital which is one of the various requirements needed.