SJR State health care students say confidence is key
Ask any instructor training students to enter the challenging field of health care and they will tell you that one of the qualities capable of setting students apart is confidence. Ask any student and they will tell you that confidence is gained from experience. It is what St. Johns River State College instructor Ingrid Wright calls the "competitive edge."
For radiologic technology student Bridgit Duda, training with the industry's latest technology has prepared her to face the real-world scenarios of hospitals, emergency rooms and health care centers, where precision and precious seconds play a vital role in a patient's outcome. The recent St. Johns River State College graduate was among the first to benefit from the College's newest equipment - a mobile Fluoroscopy C-arm and a portable X-ray.
"Students feel a tremendous advantage walking into their clinicals prepared to operate the latest equipment," Duda said. "We arrive experienced and ready to handle the equipment, operate the technology and position real patients correctly."
Wright explained that it typically takes a considerable amount of time for students to reach an appropriate level of comfort and skill to use complex equipment in a hospital environment. "Since the machines are used when performing exams on patients who are most ill or in a sterile environment, it can take months to gain adequate experience," she said. "Now students will be able to practice with the equipment in the lab environment, which will improve their level of competency in the hospital environment."
Wright said the new c-arm is the most up-to-date available. The technology allows radiologic technologists to gain maximum positional flexibility in surgery, and contains the latest software. It also produces live video X-rays as well as single X-ray images. "This equipment is most often used during orthopedic surgery," Wright said. "It is also used during endoscopic procedures, pacemaker placements and vascular surgeries."
The equipment was introduced to students following the opening of the new health-sciences building on SJR State's St. Augustine campus. The two-story, 32,000-square-foot building was designed to simulate a real hospital and houses the radiologic technology and respiratory care programs.
"We are fortunate to have acquired a C-arm that includes a vascular package," Wright said. "This computer software allows students to practice the most complex vascular procedures. This practice will give them the edge in experience with vascular software, which will open up opportunities for jobs in interventional and vascular radiography."
Wright said the new portable x-ray machine is a great benefit to the students, since up to one-third of X-rays taken in hospitals utilize portable equipment. A portable (mobile) machine is brought to patients in intensive care units, to all areas where patients require constant monitoring, and to the bedside of accident victims in the emergency department. The radiologic technologist brings the machine to the bedside, performs the X-ray procedure, and returns to the radiology department for image processing. Although Wright said the technology is not new, few schools have portable equipment for students to practice on. "Students graduating from our program are guaranteed to have training in every aspect of radiology. They are ready for any setting," Wright said. "You can’t put a price on what the experience will bring. It's invaluable."
Duda agreed as she maneuvered the C-arm with expertise. "I will feel more confident in my search for employment," Duda said. "Completing my resume with these two additional skills gives me confidence and a competitive edge."
The Radiologic Technology program at SJR State combines the use of sophisticated medical imaging technology with high-quality patient care skills to produce diagnostic medical images used for the diagnosis of injury and disease. The program is offered on the St. Augustine campus with clinicals located in the regional service area. SJR State offers additional health programs such as nursing, respiratory care, nursing assistant, phlebotomy and health information management. For more information on SJR State's Allied Health programs visit the Web site at www.SJRstate.edu.
Top Right: Bridgit Duda operates the latest technology in imaging at St. Johns River State College. The Radiologic Technology program recently added a Fluoroscopy C-arm to its curriculum. Duda is shown controlling the monitor where patient information is linked to medical images.
Middle Right: SJR State radiologic technology instructor Ingrid Wright (left) and recent graduate Bridgit Duda demonstrate the flexibility of the Fluoroscopy C-arm, the latest technology in vascular imaging. Wright said the knowledge and experience this type of technology brings to the students is invaluable.
Bottom Right: Bridgit Duda operates the portable X-ray machine at St. Johns River State College. This equipment allows imaging procedures to be performed on patients too ill or injured to travel to the x-ray department.