Opportunity Provides Next Step in Career

Ross Daniels, A.S., R.T.(R)
Jan. 24, 2017

Ross DanielsI believe that learning from others in the profession is the best way to grow and advance in your own career.

As a radiographer and clinical instructor for Radiology Associates of Tallahassee, in Florida, that belief is at the heart of all of my interactions with students. These individuals — from Tallahassee Community College and from Southwest Regional Technical College, in Thomasville, Georgia — come to my facility to learn from someone who has more experience in the profession than they do. Working in radiography for the past 14 years has given me important knowledge that will help them start their careers.

I take the same approach when it comes to my own professional goals. I plan to one day transition to teaching full time in a radiography program, and one of the best ways to meet and network with individuals who have taken that path is by attending educational conferences.

I have attended conferences in the past and found them to be very educational, and the information I learned there stayed with me long after I returned home. However, with my busy work schedule and the cost associated with attending a conference, I have not been to one in years.

Then I heard about a new opportunity that Siemens Healthcare had created with the ASRT Foundation. The Siemens Education Journey Award offered up to $4,000 to recipients to attend a conference of their choice. It was exactly the opportunity I had been looking for, so I filled out an application.

I was almost afraid to let myself hope to be selected because of how much I wanted it and needed it in order to take the next step toward my goal. However, despite my reservations, I started looking at which conference I would want to attend if I were selected.

When the Foundation contacted me and said I had been selected, I was ecstatic. I chose the Siemens Innovations for Imaging conference in Las Vegas, and it was an eye-opening experience. I learned a lot that will be useful to my co-workers, to my current clinical students and to my future students. Two speakers who made a huge impression on me were Lee Tomlinson and ASRT member Daniel DeMaio, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(CT).

Lee, a cancer survivor and lifelong patient and customer service expert, talked about the importance of compassion when working with patients. In short, he said, it’s easy to get bogged down in doing what you do every day as an R.T., but he reminded attendees that really caring about the individual patient is at the heart of the profession.

Daniel, an instructor at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, also focused on the patient in his presentation on radiation safety. He said that many R.T.s don’t know what to say to patients regarding how ionizing radiation works and the safety measures put in place to protect them. The desire to put their patients’ minds at ease about the exposure is there, but they don’t know how exactly to convey it. He advocates for educating medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals on this topic specifically to improve the patient experience.

Many of the other speakers reiterated this focus on the patient and what is necessary to provide the best care possible. This reaffirmed my commitment to educating others in the profession, as I want to be a part of helping future R.T.s better serve their patients. I have already begun to share this focus with my clinical students, and I strive to remain compassionate in my day-to-day work with patients as well.

The opportunity that Siemens and the Foundation gave me has been a tremendous blessing. It showed me that dreams can become reality because of donors who support the profession. The Foundation is a valuable asset to R.T.s; whether that means helping them branch out into other modalities, earn a higher degree or improve some aspect of their career, the Foundation is there to support them.

Resources like the Foundation also are very important in keeping the profession moving forward. The donors who make possible everything the Foundation does are the champions of the future of the medical imaging and radiation therapy. It is their continued support that makes our community so strong. As a donor you are changing lives, like mine, every day.