Career Story: X-Ray Technologist At A Private Physician's Office

X-Ray Technologist At A Private Physician's Office

Job Title: X-Ray Technologist

Type of Company: private physician's office

Education: AS, Bunker hill College (Boston, MA)

Previous Experience: I enjoyed working in the medical field and helping people.

Job Tasks: Every morning when I come in I turn on the phones, check the messages, and start up the computers. Then the patients arrive. We check their accounts for balances and accurate information. When a chart is ready we weigh the patient and take his vital signs -- his pulse, temperature and blood pressure -- and review his medical history, problems and medication lists. After the physician visits with the patient we collect co-payments, do EKGs, and lab work if necessary. Billing the insurance is next. This happens on the computer by entering the patient's info, charges and diagnosis, which are all sent to the insurance company electronically.

When not doing patient care or billing, we are filing the charts, scheduling patients, checking supplies, verifying insurance coverage, and copying patient records.

On a day an x-ray is needed I will do that in between all the other daily duties. The doctor and a radiologist will then read the films to make a diagnosis. At the end of the day we log how many hours we worked, so we get paid accordingly.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is talking to patients, especially the children. They are often afraid to go to the doctor, so we try to ease their anxieties. Some children associate the doctor with being sick, or a vaccine, and since most kids do not like shots, they are understandably alarmed. Sometimes we give them stickers or blow up a rubber glove like a balloon and draw a face on it, but sometimes nothing works.

The days my job is least fun are ones in which we have a lot of sick people waiting in the waiting room and there is nowhere to put them. If we have many sick they have to just sit there and wait, and it's not comfortable to watch them.

Job Tips: A career in x-ray is not what it used to be. Now there are so many different directions to go in. Radiologic sciences encompass ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, nuclear medicine, intra-operative radiology, and even medical assisting. The field has many places to work. You can find work in industrial x-ray, hospitals, clinics, out-patient clinics, and travel services. The field is always expanding and developing new medical imaging modalities. The first two years of study are hard, and a state test is mandatory to get a license. After that you can branch out into other fields of study and, with a BS degree, get a teaching job or managerial positions.

Additional Thoughts: The best way to find out which field of study you would be most interested in would be to shadow someone in the field for a day.

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