Technology is rapidly changing the way we engage with, acquire, and process data, even in healthcare.
“X-rays used to be taken on film and processed chemically in a dark room. Technology has tremendously reduced the time to process images via methods such as Computed Radiography and Digital Radiography” explains Asma Challiwala.
Asma completed her Bachelors of Science from the University of Toronto – St. George campus, majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry. “My program was heavily lab-based. So I often worked with laboratory instruments. I enjoyed it but I wanted to work in frontline healthcare with patients as well,” she replies.
Asma learned of the collaborative Medical Radiation Sciences program between the University of Toronto and Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences through a career centre pamphlet. “In the three branches of Medical Radiation Sciences –Nuclear Medicine, Radiation Therapy and Radiological Technology – I was drawn to the latter. It offered just the right combination of technology, patient care, and dynamics in the work environment,” she says.
Simulations and real-world experiences
Asma’s 3-year program included an 8-month clinical internship with the Toronto East General Hospital.
“Clinical simulations and labs in the first two years gave us experience in patient care in performing x-rays on actor patients. In the internship, we work with in-patients and out-patients in various departments,” she says.
The work involved a variety of different tasks and equipment. “We perform different procedures and use different imaging equipment as well. With every image, we must ensure we have an image of diagnostic quality so that the radiologist can make an effective diagnosis. You have to provide good patient care at the same time,” Asma explains.
To be certified as a Medical Radiation Technologist (MRT), Asma sat for – and successfully passed – the CAMRT exam. She currently works for a private clinic. “The MRT designation oversees four disciplines: Radiation Therapy, Radiological Technology, Nuclear Medicine, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. After the exam, you have to be up-to-date via continuing education courses and seminars,” she explains.
Asma regrets not having talked to people to learn about different careers in undergrad; this would’ve saved her a lot of time.
“Talk to mentors, students, and family. Take initiative in your career,” she says. “If you’re someone who tends to be emotionally invested with a patient’s condition but enjoys working with them briefly in their care, this could be for you. Radiographers provide acute patient care. The procedures are fairly non-invasive, and we are not involved in the treatment or follow-up care of a patient”.
If you want to be an integral part of the healthcare team, look forward to a dynamic work environment, and enjoy constant learning and growth, explore the pathway!