Let's talk about your primary contact in a trip to the radiology department: the radiology technologist. Your doctor ordered an exam, and you've gone to either an imaging center as an outpatient or to a hospital radiology department. What happens next? Well, the first thing you'll have to do is register with the receptionist. After registering, you'll wait in a waiting room and eventually the technologist will come out to get you from the waiting room. A technologist is specially trained. They have either an associate's or bachelor's degree. And on top of that, they pass special exams and hold special certifications. Technologists usually work on a particular type of machine. Some can cross over, say from CT and MRI, but most of them will focus on a single modality. The technologists, which we call "tech" for short, will then guide you from the waiting room to the machine that they're going to be using. You may have to change into a gown, so if that's the case, they'll take you through a locker room first and get you all gowned up. Once ready, the technologist will usually ask you some questions, double check your ID, make sure that we're doing the right test. And sometimes even screen you for safety. MRI, for example, you can't have any metal on you or metal implants. They'll then lead you into the machine. Now, no matter whether you're having a CT, an MRI, an ultrasound or an x-ray, this machine will always be inside of a private room. The tech will give you all the instructions you need during the tests, for example, your positioning, whether or not you need to hold still, breath holding if necessary. After the exam, you'll get redressed if you were wearing a gown in the first place, and return to the original waiting room., From there, you may go home and go on about your business. Now during the exam, you may need an IV, depending on the test that you're getting. Specifically some forms of CAT scan and MRI require a blood contrast agent. That IV might be placed by a nurse or by the technologist themselves. One really important thing to remember is that the tech cannot interpret the images that they see or are taking. Now, if you ask and they don't tell you, they're not being difficult or withholding. Remember, they are not a doctor, and they legally cannot give you medical advice. Many techs have experience, so you don't have to worry there. Sometimes you'll encounter young techs, but they tend to work in tandem with a more experienced tech, which is why when you go in to do, say, an MRI, you might see two technologists sitting at the control panel. Just remember, you are always in good hands with your radiology technologist.
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