Celebrating the people behind the X-ray
There’s administrative assistant day, and also world teacher’s day. But most people probably don’t know about medical radiation technology week.
It runs Nov. 7 to 13 across Canada and is an annual acknowledgement of the crucial role medical radiation technologists play in the health care system.
This year’s theme for MRT week is “The Power of Technology with the Human Touch” and the discovery of the X-ray.
“We’re picture takers, it’s just the type of camera we use and how we get our pictures is a little different,” said Marcia Docherty, academic chair of SAIT’s Diagnostic Imaging program.“I really like getting the best pictures of my patients.”
The reasons why students love the program varies from student to student.
Rebecca Britton likes it for the “hands-on experiences and it has a nice mix of science, anatomy and technology.”
“It’s more fulfilling than an office job,” said student Kayla Brouwer.
The world’s first X-ray was created in 1896 when William Conrad Roentgen produced and detected wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.
Radiation technology was introduced as a medical imaging tool in the 1980s, and involves machines that use magnetism, radio waves and computers to acquire medical images.
The technology studies the cardiovascular system, detects tumors in the brain and spinal column, studies body chemistry and functions and creates images for soft tissues such as tendons, arteries or muscles.
There are four fields: medical radiologic technologist (X-ray tech), nuclear medicine technology, magnetic resonance imaging technology (MRI) and radiation therapy, which are all covered under the umbrella of medical radiation technology.
SAIT offers two programs is this field: X-ray and nuclear medicine.
The medical radiologic tech beams X-rays through the patient to take images.
A nuclear medicine technologist injects the patient with radioactive tracers, and uses a gamma camera to get an image. The gamma cameras found on the SAIT campus are the second and third ever produced in Canada.
“In layman’s terms, it all comes down to the type of equipment that each field uses,” said Docherty.
She said engineers are combining a few of the technologies to create entirely new concepts.
There is even molecular imaging, which is a fairly new technology, and is considered the next generation in the field.
The program held a pizza party last Friday to acknowledge MRT week.