Magnetic resonance (MR) technologists have developed three de-facto specialties over time, which could herald new training programs to meet the community’s needs.
Advancements in the medical sciences, imaging technology, and magnetic resonance clinical applications have driven the emerging specialties, said Michael L. Grey, PhD, a radiation technologist and associate professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and author of the study published in the July/August 2011 issue ofRadiologic Technology, a journal of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
Grey examined the results of an MR practice analysis questionnaire distributed to a random sample of registered MR technologists by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Participants were asked to describe the type and frequency of procedures they performed.
He analyzed 78 MR tasks outlined in the survey results and found four imaging task groups that were consistently used in MR practice. Out of the four areas, three MR specialty areas emerged: vascular/cardiovascular imaging, central nervous system imaging and musculoskeletal imaging.
“When I was doing the study, I noticed that there were commonalities in each factor,” said Grey. “As I dug deeper, I discovered that MR specialty areas have developed over time.”
As new MR applications are developed, education and training programs will be needed to meet the demands of the imaging community, he added.
The results point to the need for the American Registry of Radiation Technologists (ARRT) to consider developing advanced specialty certification examinations to provide opportunities to the technologists operating MR units in the new specialty areas, he said.
But training is the first priority, Grey said, adding that “formal education and training protocols should be in place before technologists take the MR Registry exam so they are prepared to effectively practice in the area.”
Those of us who have been in the field for more than 15 years would agree with Dr. Grey’s findings. Although formal education and training will be necessary for specialty certification; I feel we need to look forward and see how technology can assist us to be more efficient. Technologists with specialty skills are able to perform without having to be at the specific site. Remote access and Cloud protocol access that eliminates OS compatibility can allow patients to visit the nearest Imaging facility, which has the hardware capabilities, and imaged. Having access to a registered technologist (MR registry certified) allows the patient flexibility where to go, the facility does not need to concern themselves if the onsite technologist is competent to perform the exam so that the quality of the exam will not be compromised. Such efficiency will also keep health care cost down.
This is where Technology is going. The ability of remote scanning from across town or across the ocean. We are headed for a new generation of exciting advancements we have yet to comprehend. How we use these tools will be the fun part. I can’t wait to get my hands on them.