Creating a Global R.T. Community

Nicole Dhanraj, Ph.D., R.T.(R)(CT)(MR)
Dec. 1, 2016

Nicole DhanrajEvery year the ASRT Foundation International Speakers Exchange Award provides medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience at an international conference. I was beyond ecstatic to be selected as a 2016 recipient and deliver my presentation, “The Big and Small Issues of the Disproportionate Patient: Technical and Safety Challenges and Considerations in Radiology,” at the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists Annual Meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I have been an R.T. for the past 16 years and have worked as both a technologist and educator. Over the course of my career, I have been exposed to a diverse patient population, numerous types of facilities, a variety of equipment, and varied practices and strategies. I recognize how fortunate I am to have such a wealth of experience and was seeking an opportunity to share the knowledge I have acquired with my colleagues.

The ISEA opportunity was especially meaningful for me because one of my professional goals is to help bring international radiology communities together. Our profession is a dynamic one, filled with challenges. I believe it’s important that we support each other with our ideas, opinions, strategies and best practices learned through trial and error, regardless of where we are on the globe. Building a global community will help us all learn from each other and keep our profession moving forward. That’s why my presentation centered on providing an overview of considerations and solutions that technologists can use when faced with the other-than-average patient. Sometimes, as technologists, we are presented with cases we have never been exposed to, and we have to try to figure out the optimal course of action to take. I wanted to provide my international colleagues with some insights I have gained through experience in handling these types of cases.

I want others to be able to apply what I’ve learned through trial and error and to help them not be overwhelmed or stunned when a similar curveball comes their way. If they can use my mistakes and successes to determine the right course of action to take in that situation, then my presentation has served its purpose of improving patient care and supporting patient safety.

It was rewarding to know that my topic created quite a bit of chatter after my presentation. I had several technologists come to me, asking for advice on certain situations or for further insight into some of the challenges they were facing. I think the best part was those who thanked me personally for providing them with new strategies that they could put to use in their respective areas, which was my goal when I applied for this opportunity.

The Foundation and its donors provided me with an avenue to support my passion for global radiology, but it went beyond that. This opportunity fueled my desire to learn every aspect of the profession and it warmed my heart to see the camaraderie and bonds that the technologists made with each other. As a group, we learned about technical, hardcore topics in the profession and were touched by the lessons that supported the emotional and personal side of being a compassionate and emotionally intelligent technologist.

One of the nuggets of knowledge I returned home with was that sometimes we become so focused on the task at hand, the patient in front of us or the techniques we need to use that we sacrifice ourselves emotionally. Some of the presentations reminded me that we are here for each other not only to exchange best practices, but also to be each other’s supporting rock. As I said before, we all can learn from each other in the profession, and my colleagues in Canada taught me as much as I taught them at the conference.

When I applied for this opportunity, my intention was to help build a global community by helping technologists achieve better results through sharing my knowledge and engaging with others. In turn, the experience emphasized to me the importance of forming collaborations, building and supporting strong relationships and, more importantly, developing and conducting oneself in a way that ultimately supports a high-quality health sector that better supports the care we deliver our patients.

There are not sufficient adjectives to describe what an enriching experience this was for me. I was chosen as the recipient to share my expertise, and in return I received a valuable gift: I became an emotionally stronger leader and technologist.

I highly recommend ASRT members to get involved with the ISEA program. If you are interested in being a recipient, submit your application through the Foundation’s website. You not only will be providing your audience with knowledge, but you also will gain enough to last you a lifetime.

If you are not interested in being a presenter, you can still support this great learning opportunity as a donor. It is donor support that makes this award possible every year. It is important that opportunities like ISEA are made available to the medical imaging and radiation therapy community because knowledge is power. There is no better way for us to help keep our radiology community strong than through education to ensure that our profession has a bright future and that as technologists we are equipped with best knowledge available.