Reviewing The Future of The Rad Tech Career, with Prof. Kristin Beinschroth
Episode Topic: In this episode of Skeleton Crew – The Rad Tech Show, host Jen Callahan engages in an insightful conversation with Kristin Beinschroth, an Assistant Professor at California Baptist University, who brings a wealth of experience in the radiologic sciences field. They explore the evolving landscape of radiologic sciences, the future of radiologic education, and strategies to empower radiologic technologists for success.
Lessons You’ll Learn: Kristin Beinschroth offers a compelling glimpse into the dynamic world of radiologic sciences. Kristin discusses the evolving landscape of the field, sharing insights into changing perceptions and practices among students. She also highlights her contributions and innovations, underscoring the significance of continuous learning and professional development in this ever-advancing field. Furthermore, Kristin unveils her vision for the future of radiologic education, including the role of technology in simplifying the learning process.
About Our Guests: Kristin Beinschroth is an accomplished Assistant Professor in the Bachelor of Radiologic Sciences program at California Baptist University. With over a decade of experience in clinical practice and education, she offers a unique blend of expertise and passion for the radiologic sciences. Her advocacy work and contributions to the field have made her a valuable asset in advancing the understanding and engagement with radiologic sciences.
Topics Covered: Kristin Beinschroth, a seasoned radiologic technologist, and Assistant Professor at California Baptist University, offers invaluable insights. She delves into the evolving radiologic sciences landscape, discusses changing student perceptions and practices, and highlights her contributions to the field. Kristin also unveils her vision for the future of radiologic education, emphasizing technology’s role in streamlining learning. Moreover, she underscores the importance of continuous learning and professional development for radiologic technologists, making this episode a must-listen for those in the field.
Our Guest: Kristin Beinschroth, Shaping the Future of Medical Imaging Education
Meet the dynamic and highly accomplished Kristin Beinschroth, Ph.D. ABD, MPH, BSRS, R.T.(R), CHES. With an impressive list of qualifications and an passion for radiologic sciences, Kristin is a force to be reckoned with in the field. She’s not your average professor; she’s an Assistant Professor at California Baptist University, where she’s shaping the future of radiologic education and inspiring the next generation of radiologic technologists.
Kristin’s journey is a fascinating blend of hands-on experience and academic excellence. With over a decade as a registered radiologic technologist, she brings real-world insights to her role as an educator. Her engaging approach to speaking at imaging sciences conferences, seminars, and symposiums reflects her dedication to sharing her passion for medical imaging.
But Kristin doesn’t stop there. She’s a certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), and her commitment to continuous learning and professional development is unwavering. Her vision for the future of radiologic education, coupled with her enthusiasm for leveraging technology to enhance learning, makes her a leading voice in the field. Kristin’s dedication to the radiologic sciences is truly inspiring, and her work is making a significant impact on the industry.
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Kristin Beinschroth: There is more pressure in academia altogether of how can we make college easier. And as a teacher and as somebody who is very much benefited from a lot of education, I’m like, absolutely, let’s make college more accessible to all. However, let’s not change the standards that they have to meet because in the end, our students in particular are going to go out there and have somebody’s life in their hands at some point.
Jennifer Callahan: Welcome to The Skeleton Crew. I’m your host, Jen Callahan, a technologist with ten-plus years experience. In each episode, we will explore the fast-paced, ever-changing stuff that’s completely crazy field of radiology. We will speak to technologists from all different modalities about their careers and education. The educators and leaders who are shaping the field today, and the business executives whose innovations are paving the future of radiology. This episode is brought to you by x-raytechnicianschools.com. If you’re considering a career in X-ray, visit x-raytechnicianschools.com to explore schools and to get honest information on career paths, salaries, and degree options.
Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of The Skeleton Crew. My name is Jen, your host here. Today I have a guest with me. Her name is Kristin Beinschroth. She’s joining me from California. She has lots of different expertise in the field of radiology. She worked in the clinical aspect, but she’s also too in the education role. Kristin is the assistant professor at the California Baptist University, and she’s here to go over a plethora of things for us that everyone could take a little stock into working in the field. And then if you’re interested in getting into the field. So, Kristin, thanks for being with me today.
Kristin Beinschroth: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Jennifer Callahan: So before we delve into your role in education, can you give me a little background of yourself and how you landed where you are currently?
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah, so I became a technologist back in 2011. I went through a really cool program where I got to do training in a bunch of different modalities as part of my program, and then pretty much right away I knew I wanted to go into teaching. So my program director identified me for some extra roles and said, you should maybe think about presenting at a conference. And so that’s how it started is about three months after I graduated, I actually presented my capstone project at a state conference for CEUs, and then I just really liked it. So they stayed in contact with me, and they actually referred me for a teaching position. Like when I had my two-year certification. And then I started off as an adjunct, and now I’m an assistant professor. And so I’ve been teaching for about ten years. So as soon as I had my two years experience, I really knew that was where I wanted to go, which is not a very typical route for educators in radiology. But yeah, that’s my route and I’m really happy to have done it.
Jennifer Callahan: So to work in education, then you’re required to have two years working in the field.
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. So you have to be certified by ARRT for two years to even be able to supervise students in clinical. It does depend on where you work. So the first job that I got was at a community college, and they required either a bachelor’s with two years experience in the field or you could actually teach with an associate’s in six years of experience in the field as an adjunct. And then if you’re a JRCERT-accredited program, then there’s different criteria. So to be like a full-time faculty, you have to have a bachelor’s to be a clinical coordinator, you have to have a bachelor’s to be a program director, you have to have a master’s. So it’s a little bit variable depending on whether your AB has accredited or accredited or CERT accredited. But for the most part, all of them want you to at least have a couple of years in the field just so that you have that work experience.
Jennifer Callahan: Okay, now I’m going to get a little technical here in terms of you’re talking about the bachelor’s and the associate’s and stuff. Someone like myself, I didn’t get into the field of radiology until it was like a second career of mine. My initial degree is in criminology with a minor in sociology, and I worked for three years in the field, and it was like, this isn’t for me, I need something different. So I went back to school and I received an associate’s in radiography. So I do have a bachelor’s, but it’s just not in radiography. So do you know, in terms of what you’re saying, what’s required for bachelor’s and associates. Do you have to have a bachelor’s in that’s like applied sciences or radiography or?
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah, it’s a great question. So in academia, it really doesn’t. It very rarely matters what your degree is in. The degree is just a demonstration with measurable outcomes that says you can set a goal and achieve it. So it actually doesn’t matter. And so a few years ago the art started requiring that you have an associate’s to be able to even sit for the radiography exam that associates. You can get it before your program, you can get it during your program. It can be in anything. So really, it doesn’t matter what your degree is in, it just matters that you have it. And again, it’s just a demonstration of goals and commitments. You could go and teach right now with a bachelor’s in basically anything and a couple of years of experience.
Jennifer Callahan: That’s super interesting because you and I are right around the same timeline. I graduated in 2012. So you’re just like, you’re ahead of me. You took the same boards that I did. I think that the year that I took it on the registry was like the last year that had anything to do with film processing.
Kristin Beinschroth: Yes, yeah. So it’s funny because the textbooks still included all of the film stuff. And in California, we actually had up until a couple years ago, we had a separate license test for our fluoro permit that was just administered in California. We’re the only state that still requires it, but they still tested on film. So it was this weird scenario where educators have to teach both sides of it. Even though film is very abstract and difficult to even find the equipment to demonstrate to students. Yeah, I vividly remember silver recovery and learning all about the temperature and everything, and I’m so glad I don’t have to teach that anymore.
Jennifer Callahan: Yeah, I mean, I feel like my class like just glazed over because I knew that there might be a few questions on it. So we learned the chemical components, and I don’t even really remember learning temperature or anything. And the lab that was at my school, it was energized and it was retrofitted for CR, but then also to for film. And we had a processing room. And I feel like the most important thing that was drilled into you was just like, don’t turn the light on. Oh yeah. If the drawer is open for the film, don’t open the door and don’t turn the light on.
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. So the program I went to, we rotated through a ton of sites. So I went to 13 sites and I didn’t even go to all of them. And they’ve expanded even more since then. But two of our sites were still film, and one of them was the health center at the university. So we spent one week there. The other one was actually a pediatric-specific hospital. It was the type of hospital where none of the patients have to pay. So we got a lot of we actually got a lot of foreign patients. We got a lot of patients that were there because they were low-income and they couldn’t pay. And we still had film on pediatric with high levels of genetic anomalies and high levels of deformities and film on top of it. And I will tell you, that was a really supportive place for students. But I was terrified going into that because it was still film, and you have to be on top of your techniques.
Jennifer Callahan: Oh for sure, but that’s such a good learning experience. It really helps for you to hone in on your skills, because it’s almost like one of those sink-or-swim situations. And when you sink, you really learn. It’s like to have that deer caught in headlights moment sometimes for I feel like something to at least for me, that’s how it is for something to really, like sink in.
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah, that instant feedback, that’s one of the reasons we have dose creep now, is because we don’t get that instant feedback when we completely annihilate somebody with too much radiation dose. It used to be that our images were super dark and you’d have to reshoot it. Well, now there’s computer processing algorithms and histograms and masking and all of these things that we can do. And so technologists don’t get that immediate feedback. And unless you’re really diligent about checking your numbers or your values, then a lot of times we don’t even necessarily know how much we’ve overshot. And so I think that you and I graduated in a good time because we at least got exposed to both. And those fundamental principles were like, you could see it in almost taste it when you did something incorrectly.
Jennifer Callahan: Right? Definitely. That leads me into the first thing that I want to talk about. So since you and I have graduated around the same time, we’ve touched on some of the changes that have occurred. But is there anything significant to you that you feel like from the 11 or 12 years that you’ve been a technologist or teaching in the field that has significantly changed?
Kristin Beinschroth: Shielding. Oh my gosh. It’s been it’s funny when that article came out. So the AAP published an article in March of 2019, I believe. And I got an advance copy in my email box. And so I just put it up for my students. And I was like, hey, the physicists are saying we shouldn’t shield anymore. What do you think about it? Open up the discussion. And they were like, Professor B, you always told us, what do you mean you can’t shield? And they were really passionate about don’t do it. I did a presentation on it just a couple of months later. We don’t do as much research in our field. The physicists do. And if they’re saying we shouldn’t do it, what’s, you know, what should we do? And so thankfully, we have the ASERT that came in and basically said, hey, I don’t really want anybody else talking for me if they’re not going to do the job. So if somebody is telling technologists not to do something, we should be the ones that should be saying that. And so there’s still so much misconception. And one of the things that I do is I have like a TikTok Instagram thing where I do radiology education and last like three days ago, my son broke his arm. And so I shared my experience as a parent not being offered a lead shield and required to stay in the room. And I said, hey, what are you doing at your facility? And I got a range of answers about shielding to the point where a lot of sites have actually thrown away their shields. And so even if a technologist wanted to provide one, they don’t have them available, which is insane to me. And it opened up like a whole can of worms. But that has probably been the biggest change that I’ve seen in my 12 years as a technologist. And ten years as a professor is just the the misconceptions around shielding. And it really all stems from that one article and then a lot of discussion since then.
Jennifer Callahan: That’s crazy that you can’t even get one offered to you. I guess I’m just not to say old school because like, I haven’t been in the field like 20 plus years or anything, but I feel like for a child shield when appropriate so that it’s not blocking off anatomy. And then yes, you would always offer an apron to the parent if they’re staying in the room, especially if they’re holding. I mean, I know that there has been what’s come out about the patient who’s being shielded, that things have changed. But I don’t know in terms of the parent being in the room and getting secondary exposure. Really. Like why not offer them a shield?
Kristin Beinschroth: My conclusion in my experience is it was just lazy, but the whole thing was shielding is when we’re having a medical imaging exam, there’s always an amount of risk. We know that it’s documented and we accept that amount of risk because there’s a benefit of getting an image that may or may not lead to a diagnosis or even just a rule out. Right. But when you’re a parent in the room or any ancillary person in the room and you’re not getting the image, there is no benefit to outweigh your risk. And so you are protected at even a higher level. Or you should be according to all of our principles. So yeah, I was I’m still a little miffed about it. I’m like, what just happened? And as a tech, I don’t want to go in there and be like, I’m a technologist because I don’t want to encroach on them. Like I’m very secretive. And so I didn’t say anything. And now I kick myself in the moment because I really should have said something. But it’s a weird thing. I don’t want to come off as arrogant or come off as know-it-all. And I always broach that really quietly and the thing is too, with social media, with cancel culture, you never know what’s going to be recorded, what’s going to be shared. And I know in my practice I’m very much on my toes, like always on my P’s and Q’s. Because again, you never know who somebody is or who’s watching or who’s listening on the other side of the door. And we’ve learned that having conversations in an elevator about protected health information and how that’s led to all these cases, it was really interesting to me to have somebody just so blatantly just disregard it. So it’s interesting. I’m still emotionally dealing with it, I think, and it’s silly because it’s small, but it’s like the core of who I am and what I’m passionate about and what I’ve dedicated the last 15 years of my life to. So it’s yeah, it’s funny how much it’s still eating at me.
Jennifer Callahan: What’s your take on talking about shielding? And I was looking at the page that talks about the change in the shielding about for like, babies, like gonadal shielding. I feel like that was always one of those things I feel like for the most part, except for the first hospital system was that has had some type of NICU, and it’s always the babies can be so squirmy in the NICU to begin with. And then you have this medallion-sized gonadal shielding that I feel like the nurses feel so strongly about. You need to go get the shield for the baby, and for me, I’m almost. It’s going to end up in the abdomen and it’s going to end up blocking whatever they’re looking for because you’re looking for line placement and stuff like that. But sometimes they think that they might have a bowel obstruction or so what you’re feeling on that.
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. So my thing is abdomen and pelvis, especially under ASERT guidelines. And that’s my driving force is like what is the ARRT say. Because that’s my certification and they can revoke it if I don’t do what I’m told type of thing. And then the ASERT, I have a ton of faith in the professionals that work with them. And so I always just follow theirs. And what they say is that abdomen and pelvis don’t shield anymore. But all other exams we still need to shield. So the one thing with NICU is like it’s an infection control thing. So you can’t just pull your gonadal shield off the portable and put it on the babies because it hasn’t been cleaned appropriately. And so they usually have that dedicated shield. That dedicated shield goes missing really easily. And so there are other ways that I can protect my patients from radiation without necessarily using a shield every single time. And so I rely on those. And the whole reason that the AAPM said stop shielding is because their data revealed that 67% of the time it actually increased dose because it was in the anatomy. And we had to repeat or in really lazy scenarios, it was actually on an AEC cell. And so it actually bumped up.
Kristin Beinschroth: And I get that. I actually added that as a lab for my students to prove to them like how important it is, but feasibility too is as a professor, my job is to teach you best practices, but the truth is that best practices are not necessarily perfect in every scenario, and it’s not necessarily feasible every time. And there’s lots of pressures from time management to throughput to there’s an ER physician yelling at you to get it done faster. There’s all of these things. And so I always try to make my students know I’m going to teach you best practices. And no, that’s not always going to be the case. But again shielding is only one part of radiation protection. And there’s so many other ways that I can protect that baby without necessarily using a shield when there’s concern that it would cover something in the abdomen. That’s the other thing too, is we really have to hold on to our common sense and our critical thinking that we work so hard to develop. And I think that is the hardest thing to teach, the hardest thing to hold people accountable for, and also the most important part of being a tech.
Jennifer Callahan: Right because there’s always and not to say always, but in some cases there’s an exception to the rule and it’s having to deviate. And being a technologist I have found that more times than not, you’re slightly deviating from what your norm is of what you were taught because of patient circumstances or environment that you might be in. So if you’re working in a hospital and patients in an ICU bed or something, yeah, you need to know how to think on your feet and deviate from the norm if you need to.
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. And that’s the biggest thing at the end. Like you hit the nail on the head is the goal at the end. What is the goal of what I’m doing right now? I can’t get so focused on what I’m doing that I forget why I’m doing it. And so if you’re always just keeping the why in the back of your brain, you’re going to have the skills to be able to make the best choice for every patient, because that’s what equity is too, is making sure that I’m making the best choice for each individual patient, and not just lying these like blanket practices on everybody because we’re all different and we have different needs.
Jennifer Callahan: So we’ve talked about the changes that you’ve seen since you’ve become a technologist and become certified. But since you’ve been in the education role, what changes have you seen, and what changes or I guess, changes have you made in possibly your curriculum for the program that you’re a part of?
Kristin Beinschroth: This is such a great question. So in higher education, there’s all of these trends towards making it easier. Our students today have lower resilience, lower grit. They have lower life skills than generations before them because of things like helicopter parenting and attachment parenting. And I’m such a helicopter parent, so I will fall into that. I’m not talking about you guys. I am one of you. So our students come in. Our students are less prepared. They’re less likely to start driving at 16. So like when I was 16, it was like I wanted that driver’s license so quick. Some of my students, to this day, 20 21 22 years old, still get dropped off every morning. So driving isn’t as important. It’s like an independence thing. It’s just not as important. The other thing is our students are much less prepared as far as prerequisites go. So I’m spending a lot more time remediating getting them up to where they should be coming into the program, because prerequisite courses, again, it’s like break down barriers, make it easier. What can we do to help them. And unfortunately that takes away their responsibility in it. I spend a lot more time getting students up to speed, and then there is more pressure in academia altogether of how can we make college easier? And as a teacher and as somebody who is very much benefited from a lot of education, I’m like, absolutely, let’s make college more accessible to all. However, let’s not change the standards that they have to meet because in the end, our students in particular are going to go out there and have somebody’s life in their hands at some point.
Maybe in diagnostic x-ray, you’re not puncturing somebody’s artery in a surgery case but in the end, there is lots of moments in my career where a decision I have made could very much have impacted somebody’s life and their actual living. So the hard part is that as an educator, you have to be willing to go up against administration and even just higher education in general and say, yeah, I can’t remit on this one. Yes, I want the student to be successful, and I want them to pass their classes, and I’ll go out of my way to help bring them to where they need to be. But in the end, they have to meet the standard. And if they don’t meet the standard, they can’t do this. That is really tough because most administrators are not technologists. So even our leadership team is like a very good blend of a bunch of different health science. And the only technologists in our entire college are the three faculty that work in my program. So it’s really up to us to be the expert in the field to inform them of what radiology is, what it looks like, what our accreditors are asking for, what our certification requires, and be the advocates to sometimes make those bad decisions or those tough decisions and say, hey, this one’s not working out. We got to let them go. It’s a tough time to be an educator. I will say I love it, but it is a tough time because there is so much pressure in higher education in general to make it easier. And radiology school is not easy by virtue of the fact that the job is not easy.
The prerequisites to get into the program. I remember that I was required to have Anatomy and Physiology one and two. I feel like that was the only science requirement. As I had said, I had a bachelor’s degree prior to entering into my program, so I actually had everything else covered. All I needed to take were those two classes, and I think I had to take like public speaking because that wasn’t required at my previous university. But so the requirements are, is it just those two that they need to get to be able to apply to the program, or do you require them to also to have maybe English and math or something like that?
It does vary from program to program, but for the most part, if you have anatomy and physiology that shows that you’ve already had biology and chemistry as well. So typically in the programs that I’ve worked for, consulted for, went to, we had to do Biology, Chemistry, Physics is a big one. So I think I took 11 physics classes altogether between my prerequisites and my program. A higher level math. So like trigonometry or precalculus is usually required. I had to take a psychology class just like a psych 101 of understanding human thought processes and actions. It does vary, but it is a very science-driven. But there’s usually some humanities in there as well. The public speaking makes sense to me. I don’t think that was required in my program, and it’s not required in the one I work in now, but that is a really good fundamental thing that you need is effective communication practices when you’re working with the public. So they do vary, but they’re mostly science-driven, and then the rest of that we cover in the program.
Jennifer Callahan: So you had spoken about or touched on the fact that some things that you have taught specifically, like you were talking about, like the cells teaching the students, are you able to suggest things to be added to the curriculum since your professor, assistant professor? I mean, I know that you probably have a guideline of what you need to follow based off of or like you said, whoever is the accreditation for the program. But is there anything specific that you have added into the curriculum?
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. So the things that I’ve added into my courses, I will say too, I work at a private university, so our curriculum is not as cut and dry as public universities are. So I actually have a ton of flexibility in my classes. And that’s one of the cool, unique things about my job. But I’ve added all kinds of things, so I’ve added quality control testing into our labs. I’ve added a bunch of radiation-like radiobiology principles, which some of them are required just under the curriculum and under requirements. But I’ve added more of those and there’s new positioning procedures that we’ve added. There’s just lots of things. So one of the things I teach, and I’ve taught pretty much in both programs that I work for ten years is pharmacology and venipuncture. So in California, we actually have to have a separate certificate showing that we’re certified to do IVs. It’s like a whole thing. So I teach that for the state, I teach it in my program. And I also taught it as an adjunct in another program. And one of the big things that comes up in pharmacology is pharmacogenetics. So pharmacogenetics is your predisposition to maybe metabolize drugs faster or slower, be sensitive to certain drugs. And so that’s one of the things that has now been added in the national curriculum, because it is so important and because we can actually do pharmacogenetic testing. It’s always been known. So people with red hair, red heads happen to have a higher tolerance for like pain medication. And so typically you have to give them more lidocaine or more bupivacaine. And now there’s like scientific data that supports that, not just anecdotal evidence. Wow. So yeah it’s so interesting really, isn’t it? And like just being friends with a redhead or whatever is how it came up. And then, of course, I’m just like a data nerd. So I’m like, I’m gonna go research this. And I’m like, oh, there’s actual studies that show. And it all has to do with pharmacogenetics.
Jennifer Callahan: Wow. So my two best friends are both redheads. Yeah. Oh, you can’t wait to share this with them. Yeah.
Kristin Beinschroth: There’s scientific data out there that actually supports that. They have a higher tolerance for medications and they just metabolize them faster basically. So they go into your system and go out of your system faster than another person.
Jennifer Callahan: Wow. Yeah. That’s cool. And in terms of you had said about the Venipuncture, I mean, that’s great that California requires almost a separate certification for that because I have definitely been a victim of someone who could not properly. Yes, I used to give blood regularly to the Red Cross. I used to give it like every like 50. I think it’s every 52 days. You could do it. And I definitely remember one time having a nurse or I don’t know if she was a tech or what she was, but she was just rolling the needle in my vein and I was like, dying on the table.
Kristin Beinschroth: It makes me so nervous. Yeah, we actually have a California, so we’re regulated by the California Department of Public Health, and it’s actually a requirement that we teach venipuncture in our programs, not just like curriculum national-wise. We have to actually show evidence of it to the state. So I will say the evidence is pretty baseline. So we just have to do ten supervised stick on a mannequin in order to get that certificate. But it does show that you at least have ten supervised sticks on a mannequin before you just go out there and start your first IV on a human.
Jennifer Callahan: So yeah. All right. So want to go back to a portion of our conversation that you had briefly mentioned that you do educational TikToks and Instagrams or like reels on those. What’s this all about?
Kristin Beinschroth: So it’s funny, I’m just like a goober, like I. Just I’m very one of the things that I value the most is like vulnerability and just being yourself. And so a lot of things in radiology are pretty curated because you do have to be careful. And about a year and a half ago, some friends of mine made a podcast and have great success from it. It’s called Catheter Jockeys. It’s some rays and technologists. They’re just the most lovely humans and I love them. So shout out to you guys. But one of them was like, hey, you should think about making your videos public because I had already just made funny videos about MRI schedulers or schedulers and they said, can you make your profile public? And I was like, oh no, I don’t feel comfortable with that. Just like putting my kids out there. And so they said, well, why don’t you open a business account? And so I’ve been doing that, and I’ve had the most incredibly positive response from that. And social media also like it can go either way very quickly. And so I’m really lucky that I’ve had the positive outreach in that. But my focus is just education. I want to take something that’s really difficult for you to understand in class, that maybe you don’t have a lot of time on because we have to cover so much, and then I want to break it down into something totally digestible, like a one-sentence explanation of what is the inverse square law. Because I think that based on learning and human learning if you can break down a very large topic into a one-sentence definition, you got the core of what’s important. And so that’s what I do. I just do silly videos and I usually don’t have makeup on and my hair is a mess. And because again, I’m a mom and like, that’s the only time I can do it. And that’s usually what I look like. But I try to take really hard, difficult topics in radiologic sciences education and then make them more digestible so that for some reason, students will remember them.
Jennifer Callahan: Do you ever share these while you’re in class? Oh, by the way. Or do you say sometimes maybe you’re like, hey, check out my TikTok account if you’re having a hard time with any of the information?
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah, it’s funny because my students know about it. I don’t tell them on the first day of class, follow this or whatever, just because that’s not what it’s there for me. But I will mention they’ll say, do you have any tips for your first day of clinical? And I was like, oh yeah, there’s a TikTok about that. I don’t know where it is, but you could probably look it up and I’m hesitant to use them in class just because I don’t want to feel braggy or feel like I’m pushing my own initiative or whatever with my students, but a lot of them usually already know me before they get in the program. They recognize me from TikTok before they become my student, so every once in a while I’ll throw one in there. And again, I get so much time with my students because I teach about 75% of the classes in my program just how things are written. But my biggest thing that I love about it is that I’m able to help students in other programs understand principles. So that’s my goal with it. But it comes up. It definitely comes up.
Jennifer Callahan: But what are your tips for first days of clinicals?
Kristin Beinschroth: Oh, so first of all, bring a light lunch because you don’t know if you’re going to have a locker or access to a fridge or whatever. So bring a very small lunch that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Bring as little as possible because you don’t know if you’re going to have a locker or somewhere to set it. Don’t bring your books on the first day because some places are really cool with you studying during downtime, and some places are like, absolutely not. I never want to see you do that and then have something to write with and a small notebook. And then the biggest thing too, is reach out to a student who’s already at that site before your first day, find out what’s traffic like. Where do you park? What’s the cafeteria? Is it worth buying lunch there, or should I bring my own? And just like simple things, but stay humble, know that one of the worst things you can do is say, well, that’s not the way my professor taught me. I’m like, again, best practice and then real life, right? So be humble and come prepared and then just know we we beat this like a dead horse. But it is a two-year interview and it is so hard to dial back a bad first impression than it is to build on a good first impression.
Kristin Beinschroth: So just be humble and kind and positive, and try to put your best foot forward, and then know that you’re going to make a mistake and just own up to it, apologize, and then work against that bad impression because we can’t control what people think of us, but we can control the data that they get to form their opinions. I like that, yeah. I can’t make anybody like me. But what I can make is like an undeniable niceness and professionalism and courtesy and kindness. I can do that. And then if they don’t like me, that’s on them. That’s your problem, bro. That’s not my problem. So yeah, those are my tips and tricks for your first day. Just come prepared. Be ready to say yes a lot. Try not to say no and reach out to somebody who’s already there. That can give you the insider perspective as a student because some places are really great to be as a student. And then a lot of places are really. Have to be as a student. And so knowing that ahead of time helps.
Jennifer Callahan: And feel for the most part. I mean, if you’re a student at a program, you’re more likely than not going to circulate through at least two yes, clinical sites, at least two, I think I had four and I was I’m in the same mindset of you. I’m like, kill them with kindness and don’t really give them a reason not to like you. But there was definitely you’re going to meet technologists at most likely at any site that aren’t super friendly to students. Don’t really want to give you the time of day because in the same in that instance, as much as they want you to learn and everything, essentially some days you’re just slowing them down. I hate to say it.
Kristin Beinschroth: Oh, 100%.
Jennifer Callahan: And so totally been that tech where sometimes I’m like, I have ten portables and I just need the I might just go to the bathroom and just dip down the hallway real fast. And I hate to say, leave my student there for a second and come back and just let them do like the next round with me.
Kristin Beinschroth: So it’s funny, students today, a lot of students, and I’ve heard this from educators and from students, have really negative experiences at clinical saying the technologists act like they don’t want to work with me, and I always try to put them in the technologist shoes. I was like, so when you get hired at a hospital, even if you get hired at a teaching facility, which most of them are not teaching facilities, they just have students. Yeah. So like you get hired to do a job that doesn’t necessarily include teaching. You may not want to be a teacher. Most people don’t want to be a teacher. It’s a tough job. And so now you’re being thrown into this role that you didn’t sign up for. The other thing is when you’re working with a student, that student is working under your licensure. Something goes south, you’re the one it falls on, and the student has very low liability. And so technologists tend to shy away from that. And then the third thing that’s part of education today is that our hospitals are understaffed, overworked. We’re coming off the pandemic. Technologists have enough on their plate, adding a student into the mix is sometimes the straw that breaks the camel’s back. And unfortunately, the students get the brunt of that. The technologists get the brunt of that. There’s just a lot of moving parts, and so there’s always going to be techs that maybe you just don’t work with them. But that’s a really good life skill too, is learning how to work with people in a diverse background, and some of them maybe don’t want to be around you because that’s something that’s going to happen to you as a tech anyways. So as I tell my students, I was like, you can learn something from everybody, even if it’s what not to do.
Jennifer Callahan: That’s a good point. So we were talking about you doing the TikTok thing and you can incorporate that into education. Are there any other digital tools that you use in some of your classes?
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah, I’m a super innovative teacher, and I actually had to go to bat for a couple apps that I want to use, but one of them I use is an app called Explain Everything. And so this really helped me going into Covid, because what it is, is you upload your PowerPoint into it and then you link it. We just did it as like an Apple Airplay thing. So my PowerPoint is on, it’s recording my voice and it’s recording all of whatever I’m writing on the PowerPoint via an iPad. So I was using that before Covid, and actually, it got some pushback from my program, hey, if you’re using it, the students are going to expect us to use it and we don’t want to. And I’m like, totally fine. I can just be really upfront and clear that this is only my classes, my choice, my academic freedom to do this, and don’t expect it from other professors. What that did is when Covid happened and we shifted to remote instruction immediately, my students were already used to accessing recordings. Afterwards, they were already used to using the platform. And so my transition to online learning was flawless. I mean, just absolutely no problems. It was easy for me and for my students, and I can say that my colleagues really struggled more because they weren’t used to using those things. The other thing I use a lot of is Clover learning. It’s just one of the most comprehensive. It used to be called Rad Tech Bootcamp and now they’re rebranding, but that’s one of the most comprehensive tools that I use on an individual basis, on a classroom basis. We adopted it as a program. Finally, this year we adopted it. And so my students have been using it forever, but now I use it.
Kristin Beinschroth: YouTube is really great. There’s actually a content creator named Meaghan Piretti that my students swear by. And after like 15 of them said, oh, she helped me so much with her videos. I was like, okay, then we’re going to use those. And then I use just like silly things like Flippity Net, where I can make games out of content and just try to make it a little bit more digestible. Trying to make physics fun is not fun, so anything I can use, I do. But I am a very innovative teacher and I will say like, I am definitely the minority in education because that stuff takes a lot of time out of my day and many people don’t have time to. Invest that in. Just like building a like this year, I did it an escape room for ethics. So it was like a Google form and students had to answer these questions. They couldn’t make it to the next section until they answered this one correctly. And then so but that was a long process, and it was me reaching out to my teaching and learning center, which is like the support system for teachers where I work, and also my colleagues like, hey, have you ever done this? And then finding ethical scenarios that were valid and reliable? And it was a long process and it takes a lot of time. So I know that most teachers don’t have time to do that, but I happen to have a really cool role where I’m not a coordinator and I’m not a director. I’m primarily teaching. And so and those are rare. Those are extremely rare. I come up to people and they’re like, do never leave that job. It’s like, those don’t exist. Keep it. I’m like, okay, yeah.
Jennifer Callahan: So you have a little bit more flexibility with your time of where you want to direct it to. So that’s nice. I hate to talk about age at all, but you appear obviously younger. I would say you’re like no older than 35. I could be very wrong. I would actually say maybe around 30, I don’t know.
Kristin Beinschroth: I appreciate that so much. I’m 37, but I do have a baby face. My genetics have blessed me with a baby face.
Jennifer Callahan: So I’m right in the age range as view. So we’re not technically young, but we’re not old. Do you feel like maybe you’re using digital tools like this? Are your your cohorts or the other faculty members, or are they in the same age range of you? Or maybe they’re a little bit older?
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. So my colleagues are typically much older than me. And it completely different generationally even just completely different kind of socially. But that is more common in radiology. Most people retire into education or kind of fall into it. And I was really intentional. I started teaching at 27 and that was the path that I chose. But I’m rare. I will say that most days I relate more to my students than I do to my colleagues, just generationally, because I am closer in age to them and socially I’m much closer to them. So that’s also an area where I have faced some challenges in trying to just implement new, innovative things, is that most people in my discipline are like, nah, that’s not something I’m comfortable with. So it’s a challenge.
Jennifer Callahan: I can only imagine. So to move from talking about your innovation of you using digital tools and stuff like that, we were also to talking before we started recording about. You were awarded a scholarship for the program that you work at, and then an interesting tidbit that went along with it that you said, there’s so much free money out there, but people just aren’t accessing it. So one, can we first talk about the scholarship? What did you apply for and maybe what the criteria was and then what the end result was for your program, the benefit.
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. So I am part of a cert, which is the Association of Collegiate Educators and Radiologic Technology. It is one of two organizations dedicated specifically to teachers and students in medical imaging. So that organization has scholarships available for students and one for faculty. So I’ve always encouraged my students to apply. I sit on one of the committees that actually reviews the scholarship applications. And then when I decided to go back for my doctorate, I was now a student and also a faculty. And so I applied for this scholarship, and it’s actually given by Elsevier, which is the publisher for most of the books that I use in my classes. So it’s a faculty development scholarship, and they give one out a year and it’s chosen through the Acert organization, but it’s sponsored by Elsevier. And in doing that, I found out just how few people apply for them. And so the year that I got it, I found out inadvertently I was the only person that applied for it. And I was like, you could have left that one out, but that’s okay. It’s okay. Just it hurts my ego more than anything. But so many people don’t apply for those. A lot of us don’t necessarily go back for higher education in radiology, because it doesn’t always lead to a difference in our job or a difference in our pay.
We don’t get a raise just because we have a bachelor’s in most cases. I will say that education is really required in academia. That piece of paper is everything, and they want everybody to have a terminal degree. And I will say without that push, I probably would not have gotten my PhD. But because of that, I feel super prepared and I’m so grateful that I did it. The really nice thing about the scholarships, they have streamlined this process and made it so wonderful. There is one application and they apply for you to all of these different things. They basically show which ones you’re qualified for, and then they submit your application for that particular scholarship. So one of the big ones through the ASERT that’s great for students is the student to leadership. Ship development program. It’s been around since 2011. I was actually a part of that. I was one of the first recipients to get that scholarship. And what it allows you to do is it allows you to go to the House of Delegates meeting expenses paid. And it is just such a great process to see the voting and the intensity that happens on the floor of the delegates. But now it’s a three-year program. It has evolved into much more. And so students get access to all of these modules that you would normally have to reapply and get accepted into it, like the leadership program and the online advocacy program and all of these things that the ASR offers to its members.
Kristin Beinschroth: But usually you have to apply and be accepted as a student you can get that. We basically give two scholarships per state, so two students every year get chosen for that. And then it usually carries you into your first year or two as a technologist. So now you’re connected to a mentor. You get assigned a personal mentor. You get connected to all of these students and now technologists across the country. And so your network grows like crazy without really having to do the footwork yourself. But even in that. So I sit on our state affiliate board and we review the applications to decide which two students in California get the scholarship. I mean, if we get five applicants, that’s a great year. Wow. So it’s amazing to me how much free money is out there to help you achieve your personal goals and dreams and aspirations, and that people think part of it is people don’t know about them. Second is, oh, I got to write an essay. I don’t want to write an essay, I get that, but it is free money. And a lot of times we’re giving it to somebody that maybe wouldn’t be our best first choice, because they’re the only one that applied for it.
Jennifer Callahan: Yeah. Hey, they deserve it at that point, right?
Kristin Beinschroth: I mean, you met the criteria and nobody else did. So that’s the number one thing is meeting the criteria. Yeah.
Jennifer Callahan: Yeah. So the scholarship that you received then did you how did you benefit that into the program? Was it put towards, I don’t know, things for the curriculum or new whiteboards or something like that? Do you know how it was divvied out?
Kristin Beinschroth: So that was actually a personal scholarship that I received. Just went.
Jennifer Callahan: Sorry. I assumed that it was okay. Program. I’m so sorry. Yeah.
Kristin Beinschroth: So that one went straight to me. And so it just went to my tuition for my PhD. But there are grants available through the ASERT and other organizations for programs. I’m not aware that we’ve received any, but a lot of programs will do that. And then so one program recently bought one of the big, huge iPads for anatomy where you can like peel back like, I know Anatomage is one of the brands, but there’s other brands out there. So a lot of programs will do that. One program that I worked in got a grant, and so we bought iPads for all of the clinical instructors to make record-keeping easier. Grants are really hard to get. I will say they’re much more difficult, but they always have to be used for a student benefit. So a lot of times it’s like upgrading our smart board, buying Clover, learning for the whole program, or things like that. And they usually have very clear results as to how they benefited the students. Like your pass rate gets higher or your completion rate gets higher and it’s great.
Jennifer Callahan: When did you complete your PhD?
Kristin Beinschroth: I’m in dissertation phase, so I’m what’s called Abd, which just means all but dissertation. I actually I went on one of those I’m an overachiever and I’m like very time oriented. So I started my classes in summer of 22, and I finished all the classes in summer of 23. So now I’m in dissertation phase. I actually defend my proposal next week, and then I’ll have two semesters to collect my data. I’m actually going to be working with the ASERT because they very graciously will distribute your survey for you. So I’m studying moral courage and professional confidence in radiologic sciences students and how they affect achievement outcomes. So like how do they affect their likelihood of success in the program and like GPA and stuff? So there’s such limited research on radiologic sciences students. We always get lumped in with nursing and we do double the clinical hours of a nurse. So it really is different. We also get lumped in with respiratory or medical assisting. And again our programs are very rigorous. So my whole goal is to defend why we shouldn’t get lumped in with them, why we should be studying on our own, and then inspiring technologists to get into research because it is really daunting. But otherwise, we have other people talking for us about us in a job that they’ve never done. So it’s just super important that we take over.
Jennifer Callahan: So on your survey, that would be that’s going to be distributed out. You come up with them with questions and will they be like a multiple choice or willl it be like a free text that someone can answer?
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. So I’m using existing instruments. So there is a person in Finland who developed a nurses moral courage scale. So I’m actually using an abridged version of that. And then there’s another person who developed a confidence in managing challenging situations. Scale again for nurses. And so my first part is going to be doing a survey to figure out which of these instruments or like the items, the questions on the instrument best pertains to radiologic sciences. And then once I send out the survey, it’ll be a Likert scale. So it’ll be like does not describe me at all to describes me very well and like a range. And then there will be some open-ended questions at the end. But because I’m using existing instruments and I’m not making my own, I have to stick to their structure to make sure that it’s valid and reliable. But I’m super excited to. I’ve done preliminary focus groups and preliminary testing with other students and they’re like really excited about.
Jennifer Callahan: Wow. Nobody’s ever asked me that before. I was like, exactly. That’s great. I mean, good luck with that. I mean, wow, thank you. It seems like so much work that you’ll be doing. And I mean, obviously, it has a great outcome, but just so much dedication and time putting into it. Yeah.
Kristin Beinschroth: It’s a lot of work. I’m fully drowning. My head is so below the water at this point, with my workload and my family and this and everything, but everything is temporary and nothing worth having doesn’t come without hard work. So I’m willing to do it, and I know it’ll be good in the end.
Jennifer Callahan: So that’s a great that’s a great mindset to have. So to end on that, what advice would you give to a student who a prospective student who might be coming into radiology and then also to to the students who are graduating and moving into the workforce?
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah. So to prospective students like my number one advice is do it like it is. It’s tough, but it is so worth it. I can sell my job like a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves. There are so many ways that you can go with it. There’s so many different career choices. In the end, I never, ever worry about not having a job at some point, and that is a very real concern these days. So and it’s because I know I could do this, I could do this, I could do this, I could do this. So it’s very rewarding. It’s a tough job, but it’s very rewarding and I highly recommend it to anybody. And the other part of that too, is it’s really good for introverts because our interactions with patients are usually 15 minutes or less. So if you’re one of those people that struggles with social interactions, I call myself an introvert. I am what I would say a paid extrovert because of the job that I chose. I tend to be extroverted, but at the end of the day, I just want to go home and be alone. So it’s good for people that kind of are introverted. It’s good for people that want to help in. So many people have that heart of service. It’s good for people that are autistic because they’re very much as an art to what we do. And you can see the results of if you position something just a little bit differently, you see it’s very techie, it’s very innovative. So if you’re one of those technology people, you like it. So it’s just good for a group of people. That is huge. And then for students entering the workforce is don’t do what you see other people do just because they’re doing it.
Kristin Beinschroth: There’s so much of what I would term laziness, not following best practices, not doing what we know to be right, what we believe to be right, just purely because of pressure, or I didn’t have time to do it or whatever, and know that a huge amount of radiology workforce is retiring in the next 5 to 10 years. There are a lot of highly progressed people in age that are the front runners in radiology, and we need people, myself included. I know that I’m going to have to give up one day, and I want somebody to take my place. Know that, like you’re taking on that responsible party and that you’re going to have to replace these really powerhouse people that have stood up and done what’s right for the last 60 years and are tired now, and just be willing to be that person and to stand up for what’s right and, and advocate and get loud when you need to. It’s a really good time to be a technologist, too, because we have a lot more recognition than we used to because of things like podcasts like Skeleton Crew and Catheter Jockeys and Collaboration, but also because the ACSERT is launching their PR campaign that they’ve invested a ton of time and resources in. So it’s a great time to be a tech because we’re finally getting some recognition for what we do and the fact that we’re not nurses. So I hope that inspires people to keep standards high and be willing to take over when all of these kind of powerhouse techs retire. And so many people have delayed retirement purely because they don’t feel like there’s somebody that they can hand it off to, and everybody deserves to. To retire. We shouldn’t live to work. We should work to live.
Jennifer Callahan: So yeah, I’m on the latter part with you. Yes, I want to work so I can live.
Kristin Beinschroth: Yeah, exactly. I want to work enough that I can live a life that gives me joy. And then I want to go and live that life. So balance is really important to me. And. And I don’t want to work forever. That is not my goal. I want to work until I can retire, and then I want to travel and be with my grandkids and all that.
Jennifer Callahan: So. But I want to live now, too, you know what I mean? Like I said, it’s my husband. I’m like, I’m not waiting until I’m 50 or 60 to enjoy life, I work, I do what I need to, and then we’re living life exactly same. All right. So let’s end on that note. Kristin, thank you so much for taking the time for being with me today, everybody. Kristin Beinschroth Did I say that right?
Kristin Beinschroth: Bein schroth. But it’s good enough.
Jennifer Callahan: Oh God, I’m so sorry. I had to say okay from earlier. Kristin taking the time out of her busy schedule. Between her dissertation and being an assistant professor and a mom, giving your insight and your tips and tricks, I really do appreciate it. I hope everyone enjoyed our conversation today. And if you haven’t checked out other episodes, go back and look at the different episodes. We have a slew of different guests that have been on and we talk about all different types of topics. All right, we’ll see everybody soon. Thank you so much. This is Jen and Kristin. Thank you.
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