International Interactions Provide Growth

Jennifer Yates, Ed.D., R.T.(R)(M)(BD), CRT
May. 10, 2016

Jennifer YatesOne of the most valuable things I took home from a recent trip to Canada was a fresh perspective.

In 2014, I was privileged to receive the ASRT Foundation International Speakers Exchange Award, a donor-supported program that sends ASRT members to international conferences. I presented my dissertation research, “Developing Complex Problem Solving Skills in Radiologic Technology,” at the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists' Annual General Conference in Edmonton, Alberta.

As an R.T. for the past 29 years, and an educator for 27 years, I found the Canadian technologists’ questions about my research fascinating. They asked how the study might have been different had it been conducted in the Canadian health care system, and we discussed how the results and the process of the study might have changed. Despite the differences in our health care systems, we agreed that problem-solving skills in the medical imaging and radiation therapy profession are highly important.

One of the most enlightening presentations I attended at the conference was not about radiography at all. Two respiratory therapy educators demonstrated a video simulation module that teaches students to make decisions based on patient symptoms portrayed by some very convincing actors. The simulation was a decision tree where students make choices and see the results of those choices. For example, poor task prioritization could cause a delay in breathing treatment, leaving the patient in severe respiratory distress.

Although the module wasn’t specific to R.T. education, I incorporated the teaching principles into my own program. We are not able to create a simulation like the one presented at the conference, but I work to help students understand how a decision can have good or bad consequences and how to think a few steps ahead.

My trip to Canada was an eye-opening experience, and I am proud to have been a program recipient. I am grateful to the ASRT Foundation and its donors for making learning opportunities like this possible; it has made a difference in my life and the lives of the students in my program.

About the Author: Jennifer has served as the radiologic science program director at Merritt College in Oakland, California, since 2002. She serves on the Editorial Review Board for Radiologic Technology, one of ASRT’s two peer-reviewed journals, and has been an ASRT member since 1996.

This article was originally published in ASRT Scanner, Vol. 48, No.4, Page 21.