Laura J. Wilson MRT (R) (MR) always knew she wanted a career in the health care field but she just wasn’t sure exactly what career path she wanted to follow.
“After some research, I discovered more about the MRT profession and what it entailed. The more I looked into it, the more fascinated I was. It combined both patient care and advanced technology to provide diagnostic imaging services, and I knew it would be a good fit for my personality,” Wilson says.
Wilson is now a Radiological (X-ray) Technologist and Magnetic Resonance Technologist at an acute care hospital serving a large region of Northwestern Ontario.
“I wouldn’t change my career choice for anything. It’s truly a fulfilling and exciting profession. MRTs are considered vital health care professionals and play a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients,” she enthuses.
Medical radiation technologists (MRTs) use their expertise in imaging and radiation to produce clear images, while exposing patients to the least amount of radiation as possible. They have the ability to manage complex diagnostic technology while providing direct patient care.
“I strive to ensure that a patient’s time in either the X-ray or MRI department meets all of their expectations by providing a caring, safe, and friendly environment while providing diagnostic imaging services in my field. I truly enjoy the daily interactions that I have with my patients and my coworkers,” says Wilson.
To be accepted into an MRT course, high school students would be wise to focus their studies on English and Math, as well as Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
Wilson shares, “The year I was accepted into the program, students needed a high school average of around 90% minimum to get accepted. Most colleges offer a one-year bridging program called Pre-Health if your high school marks are too low though.”
Wilson decided to expand on her education in the MRT course and also graduated from the Magnetic Resonance Imaging program at Cambrian College.
An MRI scan involves a large magnet and radio waves to create detailed, cross-sectional images of internal organs.
“It’s so fascinating that we can use radio waves and magnetism to create images of body structures by aligning the protons of hydrogen atoms within our bodies. It basically measures how much water is in different tissues, maps the location, and then generates a detailed image. It gets much more complex than that, but that’s the basic idea,” Wilson explains.
Wilson adds, “Admission into the MRI program requires that the applicant be a graduate from an accredited MRT program or at least have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field. The MRI program involved a semester of in class learning covering a variety of subjects such as MR physics, positioning and IV insertion labs, MR techniques, MR safety, MRI pathology, and cross-sectional anatomy courses with an additional semester of placement in the MRI department at an approved hospital.”
While Wilson found that the course load was quite heavy, she also enjoyed her post-secondary education.
“I think what I liked most about my college courses is that they were very relevant and tailored to the profession that I was pursuing,” she says. ìWe learned everything in depth, so I felt like I had a great foundation of knowledge when I entered the clinical setting. The courses were also very interesting and engaging.”
Wilson enthuses, “The constant challenge and variety of my job makes it never boring, especially with working in two diagnostic imaging specialties. No two days are ever the same. It also has a nice combination of being both physically and mentally engaging. I love working with my awesome coworkers and knowing that at the end of the day, I helped a lot of patients and made a positive impact.”
A career in health care can be very rewarding. Health care workers truly make a difference in the lives of patients and their families.
By Jackie Fritz