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Medical radiation technologists – contributing to quality health care

“Knowing the tests I perform contributes to the health and well-being of patients is so motivating,” says medical radiation technologist Katelynn Klassen. “There’s a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that the work I do can help with the early detection or even prevention of illness and disease.”

It’s Medical Radiation Technology Week – a time to recognize medical radiation technologists (MRTs) – an integral part of the Shared Health Diagnostic Imaging team. MRT professions include radiological technologists, magnetic resonance imaging technologists, nuclear medicine technologists and radiation therapists. MRTs combine their knowledge of anatomy and state-of-the-art imaging technology to provide outstanding care to patients across Manitoba.

MRTs complete an approved educational program and pass a national certifying exam before they’re allowed to practice. They are also held to high standards through their Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that guide their decisions and actions at work. MRTs are also required to stay up to date in their practice and spend an established number of hours engaging in learning activities every year in order to renew their registration.

If you’ve ever had an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, nuclear medicine procedure or radiation therapy, you have been in contact with an MRT. Technologists also work in interventional radiology, assisting with procedures that use imaging to guide catheters, balloons, stents and other tools through the body to diagnose and treat disease without open surgery. You can find MRTs in diagnostic imaging departments and clinics, emergency departments and operating rooms.

Take Katelynn Klassen, for example, an MRT who is cross-trained in Lab at Riverdale Health Centre in Rivers. A typical day for Katelynn consists of drawing blood, running samples and performing X-ray and EKG exams; however, these are not typical times. With the arrival of COVID-19, Katelyn soon found more ways to contribute to providing quality health-care to Manitobans.

In the early stages of the pandemic, Katelynn started screening patients before they entered Riverdale Health Centre. Wearing proper personal protective equipment, she escorted them to their appointments and ensured they safely exited the facility when they were finished.

“Everybody’s focused on patient safety and I try to do the same,” she says. “When I’m walking by a door and notice someone waiting to come in, I will stop to screen them into the centre.”

Even with the changes COVID-19 has brought, Katelynn still loves her job. It brings her great joy to perform her typical duties as a MRT and now during the pandemic, to also assure patients that health-care workers are doing everything they can to ensure patient safety.

While MRT Week is only celebrated once a year, Shared Health recognizes and appreciates the hard work and dedication of our MRTs all year round. We are thankful for their important contributions to the health care of Manitobans.

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