By Karlyn LaBate and
For The Recorder
This month the Radiologic Technology Class of 2017 had a career changing opportunity by being able to visit our professional society – the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a class, we were able to raise $10,000 in six months to be able to attend this once in a lifetime trip.
“The mission of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists is to advance and elevate the medical imaging and radiation therapy profession and to enhance the quality and safety of patient care. The ASRT strives to be the premier professional association for the medical imaging and radiation therapy community through education, advocacy, research and innovation.”
When you pull into the ASRT parking lot, the first thing you notice is the immaculate architecture surrounded by clear blue skies and tan mountain ranges – so beautiful it takes your breath away. Walking into the building doesn’t change that feeling either. Greeted by warm and inviting welcomes, (hugs from Veronica), it was apparent that every employee radiates professionalism and passion for the field. During our time in Albuquerque, we learned immeasurably about the field of medical imaging. We were given a complete tour of the impressive, themed building from top to bottom. The ASRT also provided us with several lectures such as Vascular Interventional Radiology, Succeeding in Online Learning, Employee Benefits, R.T. Advocacy, Publications, and Membership Benefits, to help us in our future. We ate lunch in the middle of the ASRT Museum and Archives which traces X-ray from its discovery through today’s advancements.
One of the most significant things we experienced while on this trip was cultural diversity. We had the chance to visit Old Towne Albuquerque and have conversations with the native Navajo people while they sold their hand crafted jewelry made of turquois, gemstones, and precious metals. It gave us a chance to realize how different our culture is in upstate New York from other places in the country.
Our professor requested that the ASRT arrange for us to provide community service. We worked at the Roadrunner Food Bank with four technologists, the only food bank in New Mexico, which currently feeds around 70,000 a week. We spent an afternoon in a hot warehouse sorting, organizing, cleaning, and mass packaging approximately 30,000 lbs. of donated food.
When we first saw the massive pile, we were overwhelmed, but with teamwork, we proudly tackled the whole thing. Afterward as a class we discussed what it would be like to work in these conditions – physically every day – and what if we did not have health insurance yet supported a family.
This small portion of our trip was a huge portion of what we learned. We were acutely aware of working so hard for so little, and the value of volunteering. This service increased our abilities to provide culturally competent, empathetic care to all patients.
Being in a class of 15 with some of the most competitive people in the college, you can understand that at times tensions get high and we often find ourselves not wanting to be around each other.
This journey has changed that immensely; we returned a much closer, bonded group, ready to go out and begin our careers – ready to impact the future of medical imaging.
Karlyn LaBate, program director and assistant professor of FM’s Radiologic Technology and Haley Arminio is a student of the Rad Tech program.