Clinical training is crucial to your success as a radiologic technologist. As detailed as a radiologic technology program seems, it could be missing something employers say is essential for long-term success in any health care position: interacting successfully with patients. Not all radiologic technology programs emphasize people skills as much as they do the technology side of the profession.
Being a Rad Tech Involves More Than Technology
In becoming a radiologic technologist – sometimes called a rad tech or an X-ray technologist – you're responsible for providing the body images (X-rays and scans). Radiologists and other physicians use these images to guide them toward a more accurate diagnosis and treatment.
When a patient has a traumatic injury, you might be the first medical professional they encounter. How well you establish a personal connection and the way they respond to your instructions during imaging are crucial to you giving the medical team the "inside views" they need.
Why Patient Interaction Skills Are Important
Many patients have never encountered imaging technology before, and procedures involving X-rays and scanning do sometimes lead to patient anxiety. In fact, it's not unusual today for patient feedback (good, bad, or in-between) to affect the ratings of the imaging facility and are often factors in rad tech performance evaluations.
So yes, people skills, like knowing how to make good decisions and working as a team, should be part of the education coursework in a radiologic technology program.
Patient Interaction Skills for Rad Techs/X-ray Technologists
Employers today like to use the phrase "soft skills" instead of people skills, which refers to personal abilities that are hard to measure, yet are seen as essential to achieving better results. Some examples of the soft skills your radiologic technology program should teach include
- Active listening
- Showing empathy
- Verbal communication
- Nonverbal communication
- Teamwork ability to solve a problem or determine a course of action
- Critical thinking
- Reading body language
- Collaborative problem-solving.
Getting That All-important Patient Interaction Experience
In addition to choosing a radiologic technology program that meets the examination requirements of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), make sure the degree program includes patient interaction coursework.
Courses like "Intro to Patient Care" and "Trauma and Radiographic Pathology" are good indicators the instructors understand the real-world demands of today's radiologic technologists.
You should also expect coursework to guide you in working effectively with diverse populations, races, and cultures, and meeting the evolving needs of employers. To become proficient, you'll want access to on-campus facilities that should include full-function imaging suites and demonstration units. You'll want a program that can get you as much clinical work experience you can as soon as you're ready.
Caring for Patients as a Rad Tech is Worth Exploring
From news sites such as healthaffairs.org and data compiled at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's clear the health care field is growing quickly, and rad techs (X-ray technologists) are at the center of this expansion.
The career site owlguru.com gives radiologic technologists an "A" rating because of salary expectations, work conditions, and career outlook. You can learn more about becoming a radiologic technology professional in this blog post.
The Radiologic Technology Program (A.A.S. Degree) at Cleveland University-Kansas City
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit, health care-focused university located in the award-winning city of Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of the Kansas City metro. CUKC offers an accelerated, Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Radiologic Technology that students can complete in as little as two years.
CUKC drew upon nearly 100 years of experience in higher education and the health sciences to create its radiologic technology program.
- CUKC instructors are rad tech professionals who love to teach others.
- The CUKC program includes five patient interaction courses.
- Students meeting competency standards may enter clinical environments as early as the second semester.
- Classes start three times per year: spring, summer, and fall.
To learn more about the CUKC radiologic technologist/X-ray technologist, contact an advisor today or click this link for your free ebook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.