Radiography Students Gain Confidence Through Hands-On Practice: Indiana University Kokomo


KOKOMO, Ind. – The first time many future medical imaging professionals use a C-arm fluoroscopy machine, they find themselves in the high pressure situation of an operating room with a real patient.

Second-year radiography students from Indiana Kokomo University participated in a unique opportunity, practicing technology, at the Indiana Spine Group Medical Academic Center.

Heidi Sebastian, clinical assistant professor of radiological sciences and program director, said that to her knowledge, the radiography program at IU Kokomo is the first in Indiana to offer this type of opportunity to its students. She noted that a hoop, an imaging scanner intensifier used during surgeries that converts x-rays into video images, is prohibitively expensive for a university to purchase for laboratory use, so the students can only use them at clinical sites.

“Our assessment data shows that our students need more confidence with this type of medical imaging, and it is the one that cannot be performed outside of the operating room,” she said. declared. “This type of experience should help solve these problems.”

Student Jocelyn Andrews appreciated the ability to train with the machine without having a living patient on the table.

“The only time we can work with a pole in the clinic is when we are placed in surgery,” she said. “We don’t have time to orient ourselves with the equipment or to feel comfortable with specific positions or procedures. It gave us the opportunity to work and create a sterile field and ask questions that we might not have the chance to ask in the hectic environment of an operating room.

With two hours to practice and ask questions, they could take their time.

“When we are in our clinics using the hoop, it is a high stress situation,” said student Christine Biang. “It’s not the best place to ask questions, train or get to know the machine.

The unique experience occurred at the invitation of Bryan Robertson, a graduate of the Associate of Science in Radiography and Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging Technology programs at IU Kokomo, who is the CT coordinator. In the center.

“He really wants to help our graduates feel more confident when they graduate,” Sebastian said. “In surgery, the patient is covered, and you have to go where they tell you to and hope you get it right the first time. Through this experience, we were able to perform imaging without the pressure of being in active surgery. “

Sebastian sent the students’ questions to Robertson ahead of time, so he was ready to answer them, making it a very personalized experience. An applied learning grant from IU Kokomo funded the project.

In the future, first-year radiography students will visit the center before their clinical placements in surgery, so they can practice on a roll bar before their first placement. Sebastian added that Sandra Haugo, the director of the center, had offered to work with sophomores so they could get certified on a 0-arm, a portable imaging device that combines aspects of x-rays and CT scans.

“It’s a technology of the future that a lot of doctors will start to use,” she said, adding that it offers greater positioning accuracy. “It will be a valuable certification for our graduates. “

Andrews said the bond with alumni is what makes IU Kokomo’s program unique.

“One of our graduates managed to organize this for us,” she said. “Many of the people we work with in our clinics have been through our program, so they know the expectations we need to meet. They know what we are learning, who is teaching us and better understand what we need to be successful.

Education is KEY at Indiana Kokomo University.

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