Radiographic Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions along with their respective answers

  1. Is continuing education required in this profession?
  2. What different jobs can a Radiologist be trained for?
  3. Is becoming and R.T. and then specializing in CT or some other modality, and then pursuing an education to become a physician a good route to pursue?
  4. Where do the students do their clinical rotations?
  5. Where can I find a job?
  6. If I'm not accepted into the program when I apply, can I re-apply?
  7. Will we be able to get jobs when we graduate?
  8. Is Ultrasound a growing radiography profession or are MD's doing that sort of work?
  9. How long does it take to become certified in Ultrasound after the Radiology program?
  10. Once accepted into the program are you able to work a job and do well in the program or does it require too much time?
  11. What is the average GPA for students accepted into the program?
  12. How many people apply to the program and how many get accepted?
  13. How do I apply?
  14. What are the acceptance procedures based upon?
  15. Is the program accredited by the JRCERT?
  16. Is there danger from x-rays?
  17. Will my health be in danger in any way as a Radiologist?
  18. What kinds of lifestyles do radiographer live? (Working hours, salary, places they are needed, etc.)
  19. What does the job require skill wise?
  20. Are the x-ray machines all alike?
  21. Does the program teach me how to interact with people?
  22. Where is the department on campus?
  23. What types of Degrees are offered in this program?
  24. I am trying to understand the differences in imaging modalities and whether they are complementary or competitive, specifically conventional x-ray vs. nuclear vs. MR vs. CT, etc. Any insight?
  25. I am either done with or enrolled in all prerequisite classes so I am applying for the program that starts next fall. I am wondering who would be the best people to use as references. I just started at ISU this summer, so I haven't had too many classes here. Does it matter which department the professor is in? Would a reference from a science professor be looked more highly upon than an English professor if I came down to a tie? I am just really worried about getting in and want to do everything right.
  26. Could you explain the benefits of doing the Four-year Bachelor of Science Degree over the Three-year Associate of Applied Science degree?
  27. How do student get assigned to the hospital that they will be doing their clinical rotation?
  28. I was reading an article and it said that Radiographic Science has a high burnout rate because it is a high stress job. Is this true? You mentioned in an earlier discussion that you never have had to use malpractice insurance, so I am assuming that you were once a rad tech. What made you decide to switch over to teaching radiographic science?
  29. I am almost finished with my HCA requirements that will be needed for the bachelor’s degree. Although I can see the importance of these classes from a supervisory position, is it common for other Rad Science programs to utilize such courses? Do many other schools require these courses for their programs? They have been helpful classes but I was just curious has to when and why these classes were implemented into the rad science program.
  30. I was wondering if it was still possible to obtain a subscription to a radiographic journal or magazine; if that is possible are there any recommendations as to which one(s) are the most beneficial?
  31. I applied to several radiography programs last year and some of them recommended that we have taken classes like anat/phys within so many years of applying, I think it was two. Is this the case with ISU?
  32. I was just wondering what kinds of things you would expect to see as a Rad Tech in a hospital-what tasks you would perform, typical setting, working directly with the patient or just seeing them as the nurses wheel them in and out, things like that. I know all these will be answered later on in clinicals and such, but I am really interested in a sneek peek if you will. Also, I'm not much of a needle person, so another question would be if alltechs are required to inject the patient with the contrast dye? Is there hope for people like me?
  33. Briefly going through the textbook, I was looking in the section that covers specialization in Radiography. From what I understand from the book, CT, MRI, and mammography don't require additional training or special programs, it just somewhat comes along with the training of a regular RT, is that correct? Also, for ultrasound, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine, are there any schools in Idaho that offer those programs? If so, about how long do those programs take to complete?
  34. In specializing, whether it be CT, MRI, or US, is it possible to specialize in all three or would you recommend picking either US or CT and MRI? I am interested in all three and would like the option of doing any of them I choose, but if necessary I would pick a specific area to specialize in.
  35. Would it be possible to do some type of job shadowing at an office such as Teton Open MRI in Idaho Falls, to get a hand's on look as well as seek out possible part-time work as I advance in the RT program, or do theynot allow student observation? I am also interested in several different areas and would like to see more of what goes on with MRI's, etc.
  36. Have there been any discussions about starting programs at ISU for specializing?
  37. I had the chance to shadow at Blackfoot's hospital this summer for one morning. It was very interesting and fun! I went to the nuclear medicine part and spoke to the tech there. He explained the difference between nuclear and "regular" x-rays. I understand it this way: regular x-rays --- radiation is "pointed" at the subject and a shadow of the body is the x-ray. In nuclear x-rays --- radiation is put (injected) into the body (with a tag for destination)and a shadow of the radiation is made and that is the x-ray. Is this a -very simplified- correct explanation of the difference?
  38. When telling people what I am studying, they tell me (jokingly) to make sure and keep myself covered from the radiation. How much actual radiation does the rad tech receive, say over a year? Is this even something to worry about? I also have a friend who thinks that because of being a rad tech, she can't have kids. Is this a possibility or is it because of some other reason?  
  39. Is it better to be trained "On the Job" for the special imaging modalities such as Ultrasound, or should I attend additional schooling for this specialization?
  40. I was reading about this computed radiology or "CR" and I was just wondering what it was actually like. Is it where you take an x-ray of someone say in Houston and send it via computer to say someone in Boise and they can see what is the problem? I am from Blackfoot and I have heard that this is what the main radiologist, Dr.Cardinal, has had to do. He has been at home and has had people from the hospital send him x-rays of someone. Is it the same thing? Does it work as good as actually having the real x-ray in your hand?
  41. Here is a picture of some of the students in the new R.S. class of 2006. Do you recognize any of your friends here?
  42. When I was reading through the pre-requisites for this course there were a lot of education requirements. Do those classes have to be taken before accepted into the radiology program or can you take them after?

Continuing Education

Yes, continuing education is a requirement of this profession. Once the radiographer has successfully completed the registry exam he/she will need to show evidence of continuing education following the first registration renewal.  Successful completion of the registry exam administered by the ARRT is adequate to fulfill CE requirements and is good through the first registration renewal. The biennium period begins the first day of the birth month and ends 25 months thereafter. Twenty-four credits are needed during each 24 month biennium. A minimum of 12 credits must be Category 'A'  and must be approved by a recognized education provider. Twelve credits may be Category 'B' meaning that they do not need to be approved by a recognized education provider. It is the technologist's responsibility to obtain these credits. There are several avenues available that will help you with this process. The state and regional society meetings often hold meetings that help you as a technologist receive the credits that you will need. Many employers provide this opportunity also. Inservice Coordinators are becoming prevalent to assure educational opportunities are available for technologists. Columbia Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center has provided radiographers with financing to help pay for education opportunities. however, this has been an added benefit and not a guarantee. Another avenue to obtain CE credit is the journal 'Radiologic Technology' published by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). This directed reading has a test that can be taken for CE credit. This is a benefit of joining this national society.


What different jobs can a Radiologist be trained for?

First, let me make it clear that a Radiologist and a Radiographer are two different occupations.  A Radiologist is a physician that has attended medical school and then specialized in the interpretation of radiographs.  The educational  requirements include an undergraduate degree, a medical degree, and a residency in Radiology.  This is a twelve year process at the minimum.  The program at Idaho State University is an undergraduate degree program in Radiologic Technology.  A Radiographer specializes in performing x-ray exams and assisting the Radiologist in the more complicated procedures.  The Radiographer takes the radiographs for the Radiologist to interpret.  A radiographer can be trained to work in several imaging modalities in the field.  When graduating from the program at Idaho State University the student will be eligible to sit for the National Registry exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).  Upon completion, the title of the individual will be a Registered Radiologic Technologist.  The ARRT also includes certification exams for other modalities.  These include:  CAT Scan, MRI, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, Mammography, and Angiography.  Certification in these modalities can be obtained by advanced educational pursuits or on the job training. ISU provides a gateway for ARRT Registered Technologist to become certified in CT, MRI, or Mammography. This can beobtained by post bacclaureate studies.


Is becoming and R.T. and then specializing in CT or some other modality, and then pursuing an education to become a physician a good route to pursue?

The didactic portion of the program does not follow the rigorous regime of advanced level chemistry courses, and other biological science curriculum need for entrance to most medical schools.  Though the B.S. degree in the Radiologic Science is a wonderful accomplishment, it does not include all courses that you must take for entrance into medical school. However, several students that I personally know have gained entrance into medical school with Radiographic Science as their undergraduate field of study. This is because these students went on and finished the needed courses to apply to Medical School.


Where can I find a job?

Jobs are available in numerous places including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, health departments, and at the INL (Idaho National Laboratory).  This means that you can go just about anyplace for employment.  Jobs are available in all 50 states and internationally. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment of radiologic technologists is expected to increase by about 17 percent from now to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations.


If I'm not accepted into the program when I apply, can I re-apply?

Starting with the class selected in 2014 a student that has a minimum GPA of 2.9 and had completed ALL OF THE CLASSES in pre-professional years I and II will be awarded 50 additional points for each year that he/she has reapplied to the program. We currently accept 18-20 students per year. We are limited by the number of clincal spots available in S.E. Idaho.

Applications are accepted by February 15th prior to the fall semester for which you are applying.  The program runs for two consecutive years and includes one summer internship that lasts 8 weeks.

For your information there are several other radiographic programs in the United States.  ISU offers one of about 30 baccalaureate programs in the nation.  Boise State University in Boise, Idaho offers a program, and Weber State University in Ogden, Utah also offers an excellent program. To assure placement in a program the student may consider applying to several institutions.  The advantage of ISU's program is that the undergraduate degree is in Radiographic Science.



Will we be able to get jobs when we graduate?

Currently there is a demand for Radiographers nationally. Employment is projected to grow faster than average; those with knowledge of more than one diagnostic imaging procedure will have the best employment opportunities. Though we can never predict the future, the need for qualified Radiographers is escalating but has been more difficult locally to obtain employment. According to the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation will need many more Radiologic Technologists in the next few years.  With the American population growing older on the average, it is expected that the need for medical care will continue to expand.  As long as medical care is required, the professional services of the radiographer will be in demand.


Is Ultrasound a growing radiography profession or are MD's doing that sort of work?

Ultrasound is in demand. Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by about 18 percent through 2018—faster than the average for all occupations. Though some physicians perform Ultrasound studies, most do not have the time needed to perform all the studies for their patients.  Radiologist's have need of Ultrasound Technologists to perform these studies.  There are several options for education in this field.  The (ARDMS) American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers require applicants to have 12 to 24 months of clinical ultrasound training experience.  There are several certifications each requiring a separate test.  The certifications include, abdomen, obstetrics and gynecology, vascular, neurosonolgy, ophthalmology, and echocardiography.  This is an advanced level program that is not taught at ISU.  Weber University in Ogden Utah has an 12-18 month program in Ultrasound as does Boise State University, in Boise, Idaho.


How long does it take to become certified in Ultrasound after the Radiology program?

There are several schools that can be completed in 12 to 18months.


Once accepted into the program are you able to work a job and do well in the program or does it require too much time?

The program is quite rigorous and does require a lot of time.  Junior students come to the department at the college on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the didactic portion of their training.  On Tuesday and Thursday these students work at a clinical site for eight consecutive hours.  When the student becomes a senior the didactic portion of the training is on Tuesday and Thursday, while clinical is held for eight consecutive hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Can you work?  Sure, it depends on you as an individual.  Many current students work part time.  In fact, many hospitals and clinics hire 2nd year students to work for them in the evenings and on weekends.


What is the average GPA for students accepted into the program?

The class that was accepted in 2014 had an average GPA of 3.55.


How many people apply to the program and how many get admitted?

In 2014 we had 49 students apply and 20 students were admitted
In 2013 we had 52 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2012 we had 61 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2011 we had 46 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2010 we had 53 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2009 we had 43 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2008 we had 34 students applly and 18 students were admitted
In 2007 we had 47 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2006 we had 69 students apply and 20 students were admitted
In 2005 we had 60 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2004 we had 57 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2003 we had 54 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 2002 we had 43 students apply and 20 students were admitted
In 2001 we had 33 students apply and 20 students were admitted
In 2000 we had 26 students apply and18 students were admitted
In 1999 we had 26 students apply and 18 students were admitted
In 1998 we had 36 students apply and 18 students were admitted

 


What are the acceptance procedures based upon?


Admission Criteria

In the fall of 2013 the University changed to an objective system. For students starting ISU prior to this time, the goal system classes will be used in the admission criteria. Applicants are ranked according to overall academic grade point average (GPA) from the 22 pre-professional courses. The ranking of students is accomplished as follows:

1. Points are awarded for grades in each of the following pre-professional courses:

Core Objectives

a. ENG 1102 Critical Reading & Writing
b. COMM 1191 Principles of Speech
c. MATH 1153 Intro to Statistics
d. ART 1100 Survey of Art
e. PHIL 1103 Introduction to Ethics
f. BIOL 1101 Biology I with Lab
g. PHYS 1100 Essentials of Physics
h. CHEM 1101 Intro to General Chemistry
i. PSYCH 1101 Intro General Psychology I
j. ECON 1101 Economic Issues
k.CIS 1101 Digital Information Literacy
l. EDUC 2204 Families Communities Culture

 

Program Requirements

a. RS 1105 Intro to Radiographic Science
b. HE 2210 Medical Terminology & Comm
c. MATH 1143 College Algebra
d. BIOS 3301 Anatomy & Physiology & Lab
e. BIOS 3302 Anatomy & Physiology & Lab
f. ACCT 3303 Accounting Concepts
g. MGT 3312 Indiv & Organizational Behavior
h. HCA 4475 Health Law & Bioethics


**Students who completed COMM 1101 for 2 credits at ISU prior to the change of the credits to 3 shall have COMM 1101 weighted at 3 credits. Transfer courses for COMM 1101 shall be weighted in accordance with the credit hours of transfer but for no greater than 3 credits.

*** Students who completed CHEM 1101 Essentials of Chemistry for 5 cr. before the course was changed to CHEM 1101 Intro to General Chemistry 3 cr. will have the course weighted as 3 cr..

A grade of A is worth 4 points, B's are 3 points, C's are 2 points, D's are 1 point, and F's are 0 points. Plus (+) and minus (-) grades are converted to whole letter grades for point assignments. The points are then multiplied times the credit hour weighting of the course to determine the total points for each course. Credits transferred to ISU that are considered as equivalent to the ISU course(s) listed above, will be weighted according to the credit hours from the original institution, but no greater than the ISU course weighting. For example, if a student completed a four (4)-credit college algebra course at XYZ University and it is considered equivalent to the ISU MATH 143 course, the weighting would be three (3) credits and not four (4). Quarter credit hour credits will be converted to "semester" credits for the purpose of weighting. One (1) quarter credit hour shall be considered to be 2/3 of a semester credit hour.

If a student tests out of a course or is otherwise given credit for a course by the ISU Registrar, including military credit, then the grade used for calculation of points shall be an "A" unless a different letter grade is earned (i.e. B, C, D, or F). If a student tests out of a course or is otherwise given credit for a course by the ISU Registrar, including military credit, but takes the course anyway, then the grade used for calculation of points shall be the grade earned in the course.

A passing P grade will be counted as a C unless proven otherwise with official documentation.

2. Residency - Idaho residents shall be awarded 4 points.

3. Students who have completed 17 of the 22 pre-professional years I and II courses at ISU will be awarded an additional 8 points.

4. Starting with the class selected in 2014 a student that has a minimum Cumulative GPA of 2.9 and has completed ALL OF THE CLASSES EACH PREVIOUS YEAR APPLIED in pre-professional years I and II will be awarded 50 additional points for each year that he/she has REAPPLIED to the program. This will only be applied if ALL PREPROFESSIONAL Years I and II courses are completed and the student has a 2.9 cumulative GPA.

Students that have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.9 and have completed ALL PREPROFESSIONAL courses each previous year applied, on the 3rd attempt will be shown preference for the next year.

5. The total points accumulated from the calculations in #1, #2, #3, and #4 above shall then be multiplied times the student's cumulative grade point average of the 22 pre-professional courses, for a total point value.

6. The students will be ranked according to the total points accumulated. The students with the highest accumulated points will be selected for program admission in accordance with the number of openings available. For example, if there are 18 vacancies then the top 18 students will be selected.***

***(No student will be selected for program admission that has not completed MATH 1143, BIOS 1101, BIOS 3301 and 3302 with grades of "C" minimum, prior to the commencement of professional course work, regardless of a student's total accumulated points. An overall GPA of 2.75 minimum is also required.)

7. Alternates for admission will be selected on the basis of their ranking.

Is there danger from x-rays?

X-rays can be dangerous if used improperly.  The risk is significantly lowered as we use ionizing radiation in a safe and prudent manner.  It is the responsibility of the radiographer to assure that patients, co-workers, and self  are protected from radiation as much as possible.  We use time, distance, and shielding to accomplish low levels of radiation exposure.  This means we minimize the time spent in the x-ray field, maximize our distance, and use shielding whenever appropriate.  If you have been to a hospital and witnessed a radiographer at work, you will often see him/her wearing lead aprons or gloves.  Simple guidelines such as wearing protective devices, protect us from stray ionizing radiation.

As radiographers you will need to know how exposure factors affect radiation dose.  One must constantly be aware of methods used to reduce exposure.  The objective of the ALARA principle is to use "As Low As Reasonably Achievable."  As radiographers we must constantly ask ourselves, "Could I have received the same results radiographically with less exposure?  We also wear film badges to monitor the amount of radiation that we receive.  Idaho State University has guidelines that are much lower than those imposed by the NCRP.  (National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements).

The NCRP states:  "The primary goal is to keep radiation exposure of the individual well below a level at which adverse effects are likely to be observed during his lifetime.  Another objective is to minimize the incidence of genetic effects."  Every effort should be exerted to keep the dose of radiation at the lowest possible levels to people who are well.  The use of radiation should be used to diagnose disease processes in sick individuals, as long as  it is provided by radiographers or physicians who have been trained and experienced in making exposures.   The effective absorbed dose equivalent is measured in rems.  This is a unit of radiation measurement.  Occupational exposed personnel have different limits than the general public.  That limit is 5 rem per year for the radiation worker and .5 rem per year for the general population.  The limit that has been set by the Radiation Safety Committee at Idaho State University is .8 rem per year for our students.  We have been able to stay within those guidelines.


Will my health be in danger in any way as a Radiologist?

First, please remember that this is a technologist program.  A radiologist is a physician who diagnoses.

Your chances of dying in a car accident on your way to work are much higher than the chance of dying from exposure to radiation received during your entire career in Radiology (radiologist or radiographer).


What kinds of lifestyles do radiographers live?  (Working hours, salary, places they are needed, etc.)

Presently the salary range (for new graduate students) in this area is $19.00 - $ 20.50 an hour.  Other neighboring states pay significantly higher wages.  Technologists are usually required to take call and often work overtime.  The hours vary, but you can expect that hospitals will need your services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  People get sick on holidays and it is not unusual to have to work on Christmas.  You have to be the right type of person for this type of work.  It can be very rewarding, but very demanding.  If you work in a physician office the hours seem to be more regular (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)


What does the job require skill wise?

The job requires professionals who can use their mind quickly, efficiently, and can adapt to "whatever comes your way".  You will be required to make quick judgment calls, and have good eye hand coordination.  This position requires an individual that can stand for long periods of time, can assist in trauma without becoming emotional, and perform in critical care areas.  Good people skills are necessary along with empathy and compassion.


Are the x-ray machines all alike?

Though most x-ray machines have similarities you will find major differences.  There are a few terms that remain constant and they include kVp (kilovoltage), and mA (milliamperes).  These values can be manipulated by the radiographer depending on the part that is radiographed.  They are used to provide a technique to expose the x-ray film. Technology is a big part of this profession, and technology is always changing.  This is one of the big reasons I enjoy the profession so much.  There is always something new to learn and keep up with.

Most x-ray equipment is now computerized and requires people that are computer literate.  I have worked with CAT Scan equipment that could be programed to speak the language of your patient.  Breathing instructions were delivered in a voice that the patient recognizes and is familiar with.  I think that is awesome.

The trend now is a movement towards a 'filmless' department.  Computed Radiography (CR) and Direct Radiology (DR) is the future.  Idaho State University is one of a few institutions that offers both computed radiography and direct radiography in the program.  ISU offers state of the art facilites for training purposes.


Does the program teach me how to interact with people?

You will interact with faculty, other students, clinical instructors, technologists, patients, physicians, and other health care workers on a day to day basis.  This program will teach you the needed personal skills required for these types of interactions.


Where do the students do their clinical rotation?

Currently we have 7 students at Portneuf Medical Center,  7 students at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical, 4 students at Bingham Memorial Hospital, and 2 students at Madison Memorial Hospital.  Upon admittance to the program students are assigned a clinical site.  We try to accommodate students by assigning them to clinical sites were they reside; however, we often randomly assign students.  Students are responsible for their own transportion to and from the clinical sites and are assigned to the SAME clinical site for the entire length of the program. All of our students rotate to at least 1 smaller satellite facilities such as the Blackfoot Medical Center, Teton Radiology, Caribou Memorial Hospital, and Malad Hospital.


Where is the department on campus?

The department is located in the Helen Beckley Nursing Building.  This is building 66 on upper campus located in the L.E. Gale Science Complex in close proximity to the departments of health care administration biological Science, physical therapy, psychology, nursing, and speech pathology and audiology.  The department occupies a suite of offices which are located on the main floor (Room 225).  The classroom and laboratory are located in Room 120  in the basement.  Included are two energized radiography rooms in which students receive training on body positioning utilizing simulated human models (in other words your fellow students).  This prepares students for the clinical internship experience.


What types of Degrees are offered in this program?

The Department of Radiographic Sciences, offers programs of professional training in radiography.  Generally the Baccalaureate Degree is offered.  This four-year Bachelor of Science degree is awarded 99% of the time; however, the Associate of Applied Science degree can be awarded to students in the Baccalaureate program who have not completed all of the curriculum requirements. This allows the student to take the ARRT exam prior to graduating with the B.S. degree. These students then complete the B.S. degree requirements and ultimately graduated with the B.S. degree.


How do I apply?

Admission to the Radiographic Sciences Program is competitive.  Students will be evaluated using grades in preprofessional/prerequisite courses, and overall grade point average.  Beginning in 2015 the applicant pool will be narrowed down to 30 students and these 30 students will be interviewed by an advisory committee, and 20 students will be selected. Procedures for admission to the program include:

Completion of the admission procedures to the university

Completion and submission of the Radiographic Science application.  This application is available in December prior to the deadline of February 15th for the year in which you apply.

Completion of the necessary prerequisite course work.

Submission of transcripts of all college and/or university courses completed.


Is the program accredited by the JRCERT?

The JRCERT stands for the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.  The purpose of the JRCERT is to assure the public that professional providing radiologic technology services have appropriate knowledge and skills to perform quality diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on patients. ISU is accreditated by the JRCERT.


I am trying to understand the differences in imaging modalities and whether they are complementary or competitive, specifically conventional x-ray vs. nuclear vs. MR vs. CT, etc.  Any insight?

Personally, I see us as complimentary. Not every disease process is visible on every imaging technique. Not every patient is suitable for every modality. For example, a kidney stone may be diagnosed from an x-ray, an Ultrasound, or CT. The x-ray is probably the cheapest and fastest method, but the ultrasound does not use any radiation (great when the patient is pregnant) and the CT can tell you alot of detail about the kidneys' health and may locate other, smaller stones. Now, if the patient came in for a different condition, such as hip pain, perhaps nothing will be seen on an x-ray. MRI or CT might both show arthritic changes, but the MRI will cost about $1000 more. However, MRI could not be used if the patient is very claustrophobic or if he/she has metal implants of certain types.

Many times, various modalities are used in conjunction to arrive at a more complete picture. A mammogram shows a mass, possibly a cyst. An ultrasound confirms a fluid filled cyst. A bone scan (nuclear medicine) may show an unusual uptake in the right arm. An x-ray confirms a metastatic lesion.

So you see, no single imaging modality will  replace another.

I am either done with or enrolled in all prerequisite classes so I am applying for the program that starts next fall. I am wondering who would be the best people to use as references. I just started at ISU this summer, so I haven't had too many classes here. Does it matter which department the professor is in? Would a reference from a science professor be looked more highly upon than an English professor if it came down to a tie? I am just really worried about getting in and want to do everything right.

In 2007 the department will no longer require references for students who apply to the program. The reason for this is that many of the clinical sites now require a complete background check of students prior to them being able to work at their facility. This background check requires finger printing and a thorough investigation for any criminal background behavior by the FBI. Because of this requirmentof reference will no longer be requested of applicants. The background check will only be performed on students who are selected into the program.

I encourage you or anyone who has not talked to a faculty member (or has not been assigned one as an advisor) to make an appointment and talk to one of us. It would be well worth your time and save headaches for you in the future. Here are the names of the faculty with their email addresses:

Dan Hobbs hobbsdan@isu.edu

Wendy Mickelsen mickwend@isu.edu

Either of us would be happy to meet with you. Just send an email and set up an appointment. I like students to give me (Dan) a few choices of when they may be able to meet with me and usually I can find a time that will match.




Could you explain the benefits of doing the Four-year Bachelor of Science Degree over the Three-year Associate of Applied Science degree?

The B.S. option prepares the student for a mid-managerial position in a Radiology practice. It includes classes such as Accounting, Statistics, and several Health Care Administration courses (the pre-professional year II courses).

Initially there would be no benefit, but as your career progresses and opportunities to advances come along the B.S. student will be more qualified (academically) to pursue one of these options. There are a few Associate Degree programs in the state of Idaho. The program at ISU is a B.S. program and students do not have the choice to enroll in the AAS program. It is a faculty decision that is only made for a "select" few, and is dependent on timing of graduation. It rarely happens in the program.

How do students get assigned to the hospital that they will be doing their clinical rotation?

We randomly assign students to clinical sites after we look at addresses placed on their application when they apply. This means if a student lives in Idaho Falls we try to place that student in Idaho Falls .  The same hold true for Blackfoot and Rexburg.  If people live in those areas (or place addresses on their applications when they apply) then they will be assigned to those clinical sites.  Other than that we draw names and place students randomly.  This is a good question to ask and students should know about when filling out the application to the program.

 

I was reading an article and it said that Radiographic Science has a high burnout rate because it is a high stress job. Is this true? You mentioned in an earlier discussion that you never have had to use malpractice insurance, so I am assuming that you were once a rad tech. What made you decide to switch over to teaching radiographic science?

Once a Rad Tech always a Rad Tech as long as you keep your CE credits current. I suppose burnout can happen for several reasons. The most common is too much work; meaning, taking call a lot. Somehow techs need to balance "having a life" with "working". This probably is a result of the tech shortage. Employers sometimes take advantage of people and ask them to work more than they should because there are not alot of people to work the extra shifts. It is one of the hazards in working in a profession that is open 24/7. The pay is good and at first it seems worth the while, but after a while the money doesn't compensate for time off. I'm sure that is the reason for 90% of tech burnout. Regarding your other question: All of the Rad Sci faculty at ISU are registered rad techs with primary registries in radiology. I have additional certification in MRI and CT, and Wendy is additionally certified in mammography.   I have always been involved in teaching x-ray (at least the past 18 years) even though initially it was just part time. Now I teach full-time and love it.


I am almost finished with my HCA requirements that will be needed for the bachelor's degree. Although I can see the importance of these classes from a supervisory position, is it common for other Rad Science programs to utilize such courses? Do many other schools require these courses for their programs? They have been helpful classes but I was just curious has to when and why these classes were implemented into the rad science program.

These courses could count in other B.S. degree programs. Each case would need to be evaluated individually by the particular institution.   The program at ISU is a B.S. program and it is these classes that distinguish it from other such programs. Granted, not everyone wants to be a manager; however, that is the way the curriculum has been designed presently.   We are currently investigating other options, which will then give the student a broader range of choices. For example: replacing the HCA courses with computer science courses, or replacing the HCA with education courses. This then would give the student three different options. The first would be a Rad Science degree with emphasis placed in (1) computer science, (2) education, or (3) management.  


I was wondering if it was still possible to obtain a subscription to a radiographic journal or magazine; if that is possible are there any recommendations as to which one(s) are the most beneficial?

Great question. Go to the interesting sites link on the homepage of this course. There you will find a link that is titled "Advance." This magazine is published often and comes to your mailbox free of charge. All you need to do is go to their website and subscribe. One of the things that I like about it is that it lists jobs for Rad Techs all over the United States. It is a good way to keep up with what is happening in the job market. In addition, it provides me with some useful information regarding the profession and helps me to keep current with what is happening in the field.  

In addition, a good website to sign up for is called Aunt Minnie.
Here is the URL:   http://www.auntminnie.com/index.asp?sec=def  

This website has an enormous amount of good information including a chat room.     If you are looking for an academic journal then I would recommend "Radiologic Technology." It has an editorial review board and the articles have been peer reviewed. You can receive this by becoming a member of the ASRT. There is a fee involved with this membership. I believe that the fee for students is about $30.00 per year. If that is too much to pay, go to the campus library. The current issue of this magazine is on the rack in the foyer on the 3rd floor. Old issues are on the shelves and can also be obtained.  

The ASRT's website is:   https://www.asrt.org/content/join/join.aspx


I have applied to several radiography programs last year and some of them recommended that we have taken classes like anat/phys within so many years of applying, I think it was two. Is this the case with ISU?  

No, we do not have such a requirement. However, if it has been a significant number of years I would personally want to retake this class to refresh my memory. It is not a requirement though in our program.


I was just wondering what kinds of things you would expect to see as a Rad Tech in a hospital-what tasks you would perform, typical setting, working directly with the patient or just seeing them as the nurses wheel them in and out, things like that. I know all these will be answered later on in clinicals and such, but I am really interested in a sneek peek if you will. Also, I'm not much of a needle person, so another question would be if all techs are required to inject the patient with the contrast dye? Is there hope for people like me?

I will try to list a few things that you could be found doing in the imaging department. If you came in early say...... 7:00 a.m. you may first find yourself in the ICU doing portable chest radiographs of the patients there. Next, you could be in the intensive care nursery performing portable chest radiographs on new born babies. Then there are the inpatients that need portable radiographs.

If you were assigned to surgery you first would look at the surgery schedule for the day and determine which cases needed to have x-rays performed. Some examples include: gallbladder surgery, retrograde IVP's, joint replacements, fracture pinnings, etc. (just to name a few). Some of the larger hospitals have 1-2 techs working full-time in these areas providing imaging services during OR procedures.  

The morning schedule in the department includes scheduled outpatient exams. These include such exams as: Upper GI's, Barium enema's, VCUG's, PICC Line Placements, tube placements, ERCP's, etc. These exams can take upwards of an hour each to complete. Afternoons are reserved for other fluoro exams, some which include: Cervical, Thoracic, and Lumbar myleograms, arthrograms, sialograms, hystersalpingograms, lumbar puncture's and feeding tube placements (just to name a few).   In addition to the above--------- outpatients can show up at anytime needing an array of exams. These can be x-rays of any part of the body head, shoulder's, knees, and toes----------how do you like that?).

Anyway, as you can tell there is always plenty to do. Inpatients also are part of a routine day and physicians order an array of exams of these patients too.   Then there are the frequent trips to the ER providing services in a timely manner as emergency exams require.

An FYI: the tech usually wheels the patient into the room, does the exam, and then returns the patient to his/her room. So...........no we don't just see the patient as the nurse wheels them in and out of the room.   In answer to your second question...........Yes, you could probably get along okay without needing to give an IV injection, but it would be a requirement of your schooling to learn how to perform venipuncture.

 

Briefly going through the textbook, I was looking in the section that covers specialization in Radiography. From what I understand from the book, CT, MRI, and mammography don't require additional training or special programs, it just somewhat comes along with the training of a regular RT, is that correct? Also, for ultrasound, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine, are there any schools in Idaho that offer those programs? If so, about how long do those programs take to complete?

Most of the special imaging modalities can be learned on the job (OJT) and this is the way that some techs have learned these specialties. However, in the last few years the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) has adopted certification exams for all of these modalities. Now, a tech can become certified in each modality. The process to do this can be OJT, or with some additional post graduate studies. If a program is the method of choice it can from 1 semester to 18 months. ISU offers MRI, CT, and mammography as a post graduate study for students. Boise State University offers a 1 year program in Ultrasound (US), MRI, and CT. The next closest place is Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. It offers outreach programs in all of the specialty areas that you have listed above.


In specializing, whether it be CT, MRI, or US, is it possible to specialize in all three or would you recommend picking either US or CT and MRI? I am interested in all three and would like the option of doing any of them I choose, but if necessary I would pick a specific area to specialize in.

If you were registered in CT, MRI, and US you would be highly sought after and a good catch by some employer. This type of individual is needed especially in rural setting where resources are scarce. The answer is "yes". You can to this. I would start by picking one and then working on the next. My bet is that you will find something that you really enjoy doing and you eventually would find a job where you do just that modality. You sound very motivated. Keep it up the attitude!


Would it be possible to do some type of job shadowing at an office such as Teton Open MRI in Idaho Falls, to get a hand's on look as well as seek out possible part-time work as I advance in the RT program, or do they not allow student observation? I am also interested in several different areas and would like to see more of what goes on with MRI's, etc.

With the HIPPA regulations in force nowadays some sites are hesitant about letting students job shadow. My advice would be to call Teton Open MRI and ask this question. I think that the more informed you are about this option the better of a decision you will make when it comes to choosing your lifetime occupation. This is a great idea and recommended by me.


Have there been any discussions about starting programs at ISU for specializing?

In September of 2014 the program as provided a gateway for students wanting to specialize in CT, MRI, and Mammography.


I had the chance to shadow at Blackfoot's hospital this summer for one morning. It was very interesting and fun! I went to the nuclear medicine part and spoke to the tech there. He explained the difference between nuclear and "regular" x-rays. I understand it this way: regular x-rays --- radiation is "pointed" at the subject and a shadow of the body is the x-ray. In nuclear x-rays --- radiation is put (injected) into the body (with a tag for destination)and a shadow of the radiation is made and that is the x-ray. Is this a -very simplified- correct explanation of the difference?

The tech's at Blackfoot are very nice people. Yes, that is a very simplified version of how N.M. works. If you would be interested in learning more about N.M you may check out this website. It is a website dedicated to "How Stuff Works" and seems to be very informative. Here is the URL:   http://science.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-medicine.htm


When telling people what I am studying, they tell me (jokingly) to make sure and keep myself covered from the radiation. How much actual radiation does the rad tech receive, say over a year? Is this even something to worry about? I also have a friend who thinks that because of being a rad tech, she can't have kids. Is this a possibility or is it because of some other reason?

Though I personally consider the risk to be extremely low there are people who argue that there are significant risks to low levels of radiation. The safe limit imposed by the NRC is 5,000 mrem per year. I have personally never even come close to approaching this dose and it is considered the safe dose. Rarely do students receive more than 200 mrem in a year. This is also way below the accepted levels that are deemed safe.   Precautions can be taken to avoid exposure to radiation. At ISU we follow the ALARA principle meaning "As Low as Reasonably Achievable." This can be obtained by the three cardinal rules of time, distance, and shielding. Thus, one should minimize his/her time in the field, increase his/her distance from the source, and use shielding whenever possible. Personally I do not think the exposures that we receive as Rad Techs are anything to worry about. However the author of the following article seems to disagree with me.   Here is a very interesting link: Please read it; it may be helpful. At the least, it will give you something to think about.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/99legacy/11-16-1999b.html

Now, about your friend: this is a myth. Practicing rad techs have kids and families just like everyone else. This is nothing to be concerned about


Is it better to be trained "On the Job" for the special imaging modalities such as Ultrasound, or should I attend additional schooling for this specialization?

In the long run you would benefit more my attending a school such as Weber's rather than by training OJT (especially for Ultrasound). First, from experience I can tell you that it is very hard to find a clinical site that will invest the time and money that it takes to train an individual OJT. In my 18 years in management at EIRMC I can count on one hand the number of techs that were trained OJT. Sure it is a great idea, but practicality of doing it is another issue. For example, if I hire you as a Rad Tech then I need you to be taking radiographs for me, not learning U.S.;however, if I do pull you from the Rad Tech pool to learn U.S. then I am short in the x-ray department. Cross-training becomes a good incentive for employees, but logistically almost impossible to work out at larger hospitals. Then the issues arise on "who should be cross trained." Should it be the new tech or someone who has already worked in the department for a few years? Invariably my experience has shown that seniority is usually the way this scenario plays out. This means that if you want to do U.S. and choose the OJT option that you may find yourself waiting longer (usually much longer) that you had hoped.



I was reading about this computed radiology or "CR" and I was just wondering what it was actually like. Is it where you take an x-ray of someone say in Houston and send it via computer to say someone in Boise and they can see what is the problem? I am from Blackfoot and I have heard that this is what the main radiologist, Dr.Cardinal, has had to do. He has been at home and has had people from the hospital send him x-rays of someone. Is it the same thing? Does it work as good as actually having the real x-ray in your hand?

You are actually talking about two different things. Computed radiography or "CR" is an imaging process that replaces the traditional method of using film. The film is replaced with a digital image that can be stored on a computer. This image can then be manipulated (you can change the density and contrast of the image, etc.) and then print out the radiograph (film). However, the hard copy (film) is not necessary with this method, unless requested by a physician. The image can be electronically sent to other areas of the hospital or to remote locations (i.e., Dr. Cardinal's home). This saves Radiologists time as they do not need to come to the hospital every time a radiograph needs an interpretation and they are at home. Instead they will bring the image up on their monitors, make a diagnosis, and then relay the information to the referring physician by phone or electronically (email or text). This is the wave of the future and is what everyone will be doing in the next few years. Currently, all of or clinical affliliates have CR in their departments and they do transmit images. This process works just as well as having the original x-ray in hand and most people prefer it over the conventional process. A true PAC's (patient archival and communication) system will also allow for these images to be stored and retrieved at any time from any location. CR and PAC's should go "hand in hand" with each other.


When I was reading through the pre-requisites for this course there were a lot of education requirements. Do those classes have to be taken before accepted into the radiology program or can you take them after?

The courses required for acceptance into the program are those listed as Core objectives and Program Requirements in the student brochure. Students are accepted based on a point system for grades obtained in those courses only. It is recommended that the student have the all of these courses completed prior to Feb. 15th of the year which the student plans on applying to the program. This assures the highest points possible (See question number 14). A student can be accepted if missing some of the classes, but please remember that this decreases the chances of getting into the program. For the past few years all of the students selected have completed all of the pre-professional courses. Starting in 2015 the program will narrow the selection of students to 30 and then interview them. After the interview 20 students will be offered placement in the program from those initial 30 chosen.

 

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