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The important role HCA Healthcare’s medical imaging technologists play in diagnosis and treatment

up of pen pointing to brain scans

Did you know? HCA Healthcare’s radiologic technologists (R.T.s) capture more than two billion images in a single year.

Across HCA Healthcare, medical imaging is utilized to monitor, diagnose and treat injuries and disease. With radiology – occasionally referred to as the “eyes of medicine” – doctors are able to see a clear picture of what’s going on inside a patient’s body. And, our radiologic technologists are the healthcare professionals who make it possible to “see” during diagnostic and therapeutic imaging procedures.

Each November, National Radiologic Technology Week is held honoring the discovery of the X-ray by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on November 8, 1895. We take this time to pause and celebrate the invaluable role HCA Healthcare’s more than 12,000 radiologic technologists play in patient care and healthcare safety.

“HCA Healthcare’s imaging services continue to grow in both scope and scale, accelerated by innovations like device mobility, artificial intelligence, molecular imaging and image fusion and navigation technologies,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, HCA Healthcare’s chief medical officer and president of the Clinical Operations Group. “We thank the compassionate, highly-skilled radiologic technologists who perform these critical services and champion the practice of medicine to give our patients healthier tomorrows.”

Essential members of the healthcare team

HCA Healthcare’s radiologic technologists (R.T.s) practice in hospitals, clinics and physician’s offices – and in many clinical specialties from oncology to orthopedics. Our R.T.s are educated in anatomy, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety and patient care.

R.T.s maintain clinical and technical skills that support real-time guidance for tissue sampling and surgical procedures, acquisition of images for cancer screening and surveillance, and vascular or organ-specific evaluation of traumatic injury.

R.T.s may practice general radiography, or specialize in an imaging technique such as:

  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • computed tomography
  • mammography
  • sonography
  • bone densitometry
  • cardiac or vascular interventional radiography
  • nuclear medicine

Transcending layers of care during COVID-19

During COVID-19, imaging tools like chest X-rays and CT scans have become instrumental in detecting and evaluating respiratory complications of the virus. When patients are placed on ventilators for breathing assistance, R.T.s may also employ the use of x-ray to ensure proper positioning of the tube used to deliver air to the patient’s lungs.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals around the country shifted their focus to preparing for and treating patients with the disease. As non-urgent surgeries were postponed and new procedures were put in place to ensure the safety of everyone at our hospitals, many colleagues were redeployed, including radiologic technologists.

When COVID-19 first hit the U.S., R.T.s at HCA Healthcare’s Palms of Pasadena Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida stepped up to cover patient discharges and took on other roles so nurses could remain at the bedside during times of surge and high census.

R.T.s at HCA Healthcare’s Palms of Pasadena Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida stepped up to cover patient discharges and took on other roles so nurses could remain at the bedside during times of surge and high census. The radiologic techs made it a priority to make certain that fellow caregivers had continued availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), especially during overnight shifts.

Making a difference

Rebecca Blair, ultrasound technologist at HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Rebecca Blair, a 13-year healthcare veteran and ultrasound technologist brings compassionate care to women undergoing mammograms at HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Rebecca makes handmaid bracelets and hands them out to every woman who receives a mammogram, reminding them that they are taking an important step in their preventative care to catch a possible breast cancer early.

Cancer has made a big impact on Rebecca’s life. Several years ago, she lost her husband to brain cancer.

“If you look at eight people that you know that are women, one of them could develop breast cancer. It’s very important to catch it early,” Rebecca told WBKO News. “We want to show how important it is to have your yearly mammo, to do self-checks, and to follow up with diagnosis.”

Rebecca even makes bracelets in other colors besides pink for patients diagnosed with other forms of cancer.

“We all make a concerted effort to connect with and advocate for our patients, but Rebecca really goes the extra mile. This small gesture means the world to our patients, and serves as a constant reminder that they have an entire network of people cheering them on. This is what it looks like to care like family.”

Mike Sherrod, chief executive officer at TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital

Megan Morley, Imaging Manager at HCA Healthcare’s Palms West Hospital

Megan Morley started her career with HCA Healthcare as a computed tomography technologist and now serves as the Imaging Manager at HCA Healthcare’s Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee, Florida. In her role, Megan goes the extra mile to treat her patients like family, often times thinking of unique ways to meet the needs of patients both big and small.

“Megan started as a rad tech at JFK Medical Center’s Main Campus in 2011 and later moved into a CT Supervisor role. In 2019, she transitioned to Palms West Hospital to grow her career in a manager position,” said Cheryl Stoe, director of imaging services at JFK Medical Center – North Campus.

“Megan is an amazing leader, patient advocate and an extremely knowledgeable individual. She is always ready, willing and able to help her peers in any way she can. A true asset to our East Florida Division and HCA Healthcare as a whole,” adds Cheryl.

Thank you to all radiologic technologists across HCA Healthcare for your courage, compassion and devotion to the service of others.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 186 hospitals and more than 2,000 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our approximately 275,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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