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News | Nov. 14, 2023

National Radiologic Technology Week celebrates behind-the-scenes heroes impacting health care

By Bernard Little, WRNMMC, Office Command Communications

National Radiologic Technology Week, observed annually during the week with Nov. 8, celebrates the heroes behind the scenes who play a huge role in the safe, quality health care delivered at Walter Reed and other medical facilities. This year, NRTW is celebrated Nov. 5-11.

“[The annual observance] recognizes the vital work of our diagnostic radiologic technologist team composed of federal employees, active duty, and contractors. These medical imaging professionals are critical components of the health care industry and the front line of all radiology departments. The work of rad techs allows physicians to diagnose, track the progression of diseases and injuries, perform surgery, and treat diseases and traumas,” explained Rosana Vallejos manager of Diagnostic Radiology Services in Walter Reed’s Department of Radiology.

“During COVID-19, [rad techs] played a critical role as the front line. They are called on each ER trauma call, code blue, or mandatory Code Green Mass Casualty training,” she added.

Some of the rad techs at Walter Reed shared her sentiments, and explained why they find their jobs rewarding.

“I enjoy being able to watch the development of care through the patient, seeing them come back from different challenges, such as amputations, and watching how they progress, even the kids in how they come back from say, broken bones. It’s enjoyable supporting them, and also watching how their reactions change. Many go from being terrified to completely thrilled about getting [medical imaging],” shared Army Sgt. Julian Wix, a rad tech in the America Building at Walter Reed.

“I enjoy coming to work and having my teammates here and ready to take on any challenges we may face from day to day,” said Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sachin Singh, who works alongside Wix in the America Building.

Michael Oh said he enjoys the fast-paced environment and the ability to assist patients in their health care, as well. “If they are in pain but we need to get the image, we have to think how best to maneuver the machines and equipment around them to get the best images to best assist them in their recovery. It’s interesting in dealing with a huge variety of people and making sure each individual is comfortable to get the best picture with the opportunity given to us. I’m a perfectionist, so I like to ensure we get the best images for the best care,” Oh shared.
The sentiments of the rad techs at Walter Reed are indicative of this year’s theme for National Radiologic Technology Week (NRTW) – “Patients are Our Passion; Safety is Our Priority.”

The week-long celebration takes place during the week of Nov. 8 to commemorate the discovery of the x-ray by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on Nov. 8, 1895. The first NRTW celebration was celebrated in 1979.
According to the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, there are approximately 350,000 registered radiologic technologists in the United States. They are educated in anatomy, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection and patient care for medical imaging examination or radiation therapy treatment.

Vallejos explained rad techs are crucial to ensuring a positive patient experience, which they do in many ways, and always focusing on safety and empathy. Technologists must understand the spectrum of diseases and injuries to accurately position patients to deliver precise and high-quality diagnostic images. In this way, technologists play a crucial role in ensuring that radiologists can review and note subtle findings for diagnosis and treatment, she shared.
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