Can You Balance a Radiology Career And Your Physical Health? with Derek Medeiros of Southern New England Radiology
Episode Topic: In this episode of Skeleton Crew – The Rad Tech Show, we delve into the role of Radiologist Assistants (RAs) and their crucial contribution to the radiology field. Derek Medeiros, a Radiologist Assistant at the Southern New England Radiology Group, shares insights into his journey, emphasizing the need for RAs to bridge the gap between technologists and radiologists. The discussion explores the training, responsibilities, and challenges faced by RAs, shedding light on the evolving landscape of medical imaging.
Lessons You’ll Learn:
In this episode, we gain a deep understanding of the Radiologist Assistant profession, its significance in addressing the national shortage of radiologists, and the diverse responsibilities RAs undertake. The episode underscores the collaborative nature of RAs, acting as liaisons and patient advocates, and emphasizes the importance of awareness within the radiology community. Derek’s insights provide valuable lessons about the role of mid-level providers in enhancing efficiency and patient care in radiology departments.
About Our Guests: Join us as we host Derek Medeiros, an experienced Radiologist Assistant (RA), combines a profound passion for radiology with a background as a dedicated personal trainer. With over four years at Southcoast Health in Fall River, Massachusetts, Derek actively contributes to patient care as an RA. Simultaneously, he owns and operates Medeiros Fitness Solutions, guiding clients in achieving fitness goals while navigating injuries. Certified as both a Radiology Practitioner Assistant (RPA) and Radiologist Assistant (RRA), Derek’s commitment to advancing patient care is evident in his active engagement in minor IR procedures.
Topics Covered: The conversation covers a range of topics, from Derek’s journey into radiology and the extensive training required for RAs to the challenges faced by the profession. Derek provides details on the curriculum of RA training programs, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and radiation safety. The discussion also touches on the misconception that the RA profession is phasing out and the efforts undertaken by Derek to promote the profession and inspire individuals to consider it as a career path. Overall, the episode covers the role, challenges, and advocacy efforts related to Radiologist Assistants.
Our Guest: Derek Medeiros, Passionate Radiologist Assistant and Trainer
Derek Medeiros is an experienced Radiologist Assistant (RA) with a profound passion for radiology that has grown over the years. He brings a unique background to his role, having also served as a personal trainer, working extensively with high-risk patients facing diverse health challenges, from cerebral palsy to post-op heart surgeries. In both his professional and fitness endeavors, Derek is dedicated to treating individuals with the care and attention one would provide to family.
Currently serving as a Radiologist Assistant at Southern New England Radiology, Derek has been actively contributing to the field for over four years. Additionally, he is the owner-operator of Medeiros Fitness Solutions, where he assists clients in achieving their fitness goals and navigating through injuries. His previous experience includes a role as an RA at Flexogenix in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Derek’s educational journey includes graduating from Quinnipiac University, where he pursued a master’s degree as a Radiologist Assistant student from June 2013 to May 2015. He has undergone extensive training in Interventional Radiology, specializing in various procedures, and has worked with reputable medical centers such as St. Vincent’s Hospital, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and UCONN Medical Center.
Certified as both a Radiology Practitioner Assistant (RPA) and Radiologist Assistant (RRA), Derek Medeiros is actively engaged in minor IR procedures, showcasing his commitment to advancing patient care and the field of radiology.
Follow Southern New England Radiology on
Derek Medeiros: It’s not a secret that there’s a national shortage of radiologists, and it’s going to get worse. Even with AI’s help, they still need radiologists, and there’s just not enough on the ground and need people to do these procedures and talk to these patients and help these patients. Also, there’s a lot of people that have taken on the role of being pioneers, which that’s why I got into this profession in general and really emphasizing it and teaching and just spreading the word about the radiologist assistant profession.
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 suburbs, 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 an episode of The Skeleton Crew. I’m your host, Jen Callahan. Tonight, I have a guest, and we’re going to be talking about something a little bit different. Switching gears, instead of talking about the technologist role we’re going to be talking about, have Derek Maedhros here with me and he is a radiologist assistant. So this is a new profession within the radiology realm that we’ll be discussing about. And I’m super excited to hear about it. Derek, thanks for being with us tonight.
Derek Medeiros: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
Jennifer Callahan: Sure. So guys, just to give you a little bit of brief background about Derek, you can go into more, but he is a radiologist assistant at the Southern New England Radiology Group. And that is part of the South Coast health care system. So Derek, give me a little background of how did you delved yourself into being a radiologist assistant. Like where were you in the beginning and then how did you roll into this?
Derek Medeiros: I really always enjoyed helping people in general, and that’s how I started. I love exercise, so that’s how I started the exercise physiology. And then I really wanted to do more. So that’s why I decided to go to X-ray school. And even the beginning, even through X-ray school, I always knew I wanted to be some type of advanced level provider. If that was a PA. And then I learned about the radiologist assistant role, and it really was exciting to me. And I went to school that I graduated from Quinnipiac and met the program director, who was a radiologist, and he just really made me want to do that, go that route. So that’s what I ended up doing. I have to talk to a couple of radiologist assistants, and they were up front with me about the struggles that they have, but also the positivity in the forward motion that we could make if we banded together. So that’s how I decided to go in that pathway. And I really wanted to stay within radiology. So that was my biggest reason for doing so.
Jennifer Callahan: This is a question from myself as well, not even for the people that are listening with us. What exactly does a radiologist assistant do?
Derek Medeiros: So there’s many things that we can do. Me personally, the biggest thing is I act as a liaison between the techs and the radiologists, the patient advocate. I do a lot of procedures assist really the radiologists in many things, help with preliminary reports, help with consults in terms of interventional radiology. So a lot of procedural things like mainly a lot of fluoro minor procedures, joint injections, joint aspirations, lumbar punctures, thoracentesis paracentesis, thyroid biopsies. So really function as an extension of the radiologist in many ways, sometimes even just answering questions, answering phones, being the insert person in the department that somebody goes to in terms of the techs and they have questions and they’re not comfortable talking to the radiologist, they usually come to me because I work with them and they know that I’m a tech at heart. So really you’re like the pivot person for the whole department. My group has told me plenty of times that without me, the group, the actual radiology department does not function as well. And there’s been plenty of people that have told us that. So that’s what radiology assistants are really supposed to be. They’re supposed to be that extension, that pivot person in the radiology department. That kind of just puts everything together in terms of the pieces.
Jennifer Callahan: That’s definitely probably very helpful, especially for the technologists, because at times, I’m sure you can concur that from being in tech yourself, that sometimes you might feel that some radiologists, like Dr. Wise, can be a little unapproachable. They sometimes stay in that dark room and they’re not sometimes don’t want to do the interactions or have to hear the day-to-day activity that’s going on within the department. So I’m sure from technologists perspective, you can agree that to have someone like yourself to come in and be a liaison between themselves and the doctor who you obviously, I’m sure have a rapport with, makes the day a little bit easier.
Derek Medeiros: Yeah, it definitely does. I mean, there’s some radiologists, even when I first started, I’ve been at my current group for four and a half years. I worked in North Carolina before that, so I’ve been practicing since I graduated in 2015 to different jobs and been offered many more too. But when I first met the radiologists, some of them you’re basically my group is really good and they accepted me as a peer, even though I’m not a radiologist and I don’t. I don’t show that I am one or pretend to be, but they include me in the group in pretty much everything, and then the text also feel like I’m part of them as well. So they do come to me and I break the ice basically with if they have a question for the radiologist and they’re a newer guy or somebody they’re just not comfortable with. So we’ve had a lot of turnover over there the last year especially. We got a lot of younger techs, which are a little bit scared or just a little worried about talking to the radiologist because sometimes they’re really busy. Our group is really good. So there’s really not a radiologist that is really difficult to talk with, but sometimes everybody has a bad day. I think they find it much more comfortable coming to me and asking me a question. Possibly if I don’t know the answer, I’ll get them the answer. And they know that won’t come with any type of anger or why are you bothering me? So there definitely a lot more comfortable coming to me. Which makes sense because we’re peers. But I’m also comfortable with talking to my radiologist because I know them all very well, and I know they’re very respectful and they respect if I’m interrupting them. There’s a reason why. And they never have come to, like, got angry with me because I’m interrupting them or anything like that. So.
Jennifer Callahan: So you’re schooling to be a radiologist assistant. Is it required for you to be a technologist beforehand?
Derek Medeiros: Yes, you have to be an x-ray technologist. You can’t just be ultrasound as well. There is a lot of have ultrasound background, but you cannot have just sonography. Primary pathway. It has to be x ray pathway can have MRI. You can have CT. A lot of RA are basically experienced. Texts. They’re called super texts. You’ve probably heard of that forever. So they’ve been around for a long time. They just weren’t designated. They didn’t have their own licensure. Things like that. Super text have been around for 40, 50 years. Dr. Gonzales was very adamant about that and said his dad was a radiologist and he had super tech. So it was basically why he wanted to develop the program at Quinnipiac, which is when I went to. Unfortunately, Dr. Gonzalez is retired, but well worth it. He was a radiologist for many years, and then he developed the program and everything. But he said that his his dad had super tech, so he basically just wanted to continue that on and actually give it a name basically.
Jennifer Callahan: Okay, cool. So you become a technologist and then you decide to go into school. What does the schooling look like in terms of graduating with it? Is it a degree that you get in that, or is it like it’s.
Derek Medeiros: A master’s degree. So you have to have a bachelor’s degree and it doesn’t have to be in exercise? I mean, sorry, in in x ray exercise on my mind because that’s my primary background initially in x-ray you have to have an x-ray license. You don’t have to have a primary bachelor’s degree in any type of radiology. Really. It’s preferred to obviously have it in some type of medical background. And then it’s a master’s degree. Most programs are two years. There’s one that’s three. They’re all differ. They’re a little bit. Most of them are like distance learning. The program I went to was full-time. So it’s not distance learning. It was just Quinnipiac was really the only program in the country that isn’t distance learning. So a lot of the programs are basically distance learning. You go to the actual sites, the actual college like two times a year, basically, and then you just do the Arctic part, and then you do your clinical part at the site that you basically have an agreement with the radiologist group Preceptorship before basically entering the program. So my program has their own clinic site. So they place you where you need to be in terms of what procedures you need. So it’s two year master’s degree for most places. And then after that you can sit for your boards, which are just like the boards which are just boards.
Jennifer Callahan: All right. Cool and then these classes that you’re taking for your master’s give me an example of like what one of them would be like, you know, like for your you have your procedures, you have positioning, you have radiation in terms of learned all that. So you don’t need to do that in school. Yeah.
Derek Medeiros: There is some basic radiation and a lot of pharmacology because you need to know meds, things like that. There’s a lot of image critique analysis pathophysiology a lot of pathophysiologies. Anatomy is obviously huge. Basically Quinnipiac has it set up like the first year. Those major courses are done with PA students because they have a PA program. So it’s easier to just get that. So the core of it, the beginning of it is similar to PA school. It’s with anatomy, with physiology, with pathophysiology, with with pharmacology. And then you stuck it into like radiation safety. There’s still there is one radiation safety course, but it’s a lot of other stuff that’s more in-depth of like how to limit similar to x-ray. But the surgeon says you’re actually operator. So it’s really they emphasize on how you can limit radiation because that’s very important part. And there’s some physics in there too. And then it’s more like imaging procedures. And then you have to do a thesis as well for a master’s. So those are basically the classes that I remember. The big ones were like the anatomy physiology. There’s like some patient care stuff, some overall patient interaction things. I forget the name of the other class that we had that was basically just more of not necessarily primary care, but things that we do in radiology for like consult stuff, workups and things like that. So it’s just more in-depth on what you have from x-rays.
Jennifer Callahan: Cool.So, you’ve now been practicing as an RA for how many years did you say 2016 you started or 2015?
Derek Medeiros: Graduated in 2015. So now it’s going on eight and a half basically. So and I’ve worked since the beginning. Obviously the biggest thing out there is that there’s no RA jobs that I’m actually we’re a small community in terms of I think we have 657 registered RA, so it’s not a ton. But in terms of our demand in the last like three years, I’ve taken upon myself and I’m trying to get involved in the RA. That’s why I went to the RA route in the first place, was to really promote us, and I became the person to post jobs on our social media sites and stuff, and there’s ridiculous amount of jobs and not enough RA to go around, unfortunately, which is good and bad in meaning good because there’s opportunities, unlike there was even when I graduated in 2015. Bad because we don’t have enough RA to fill it. So that’s the issue, is that we can’t continue this wheel if we don’t have enough students going into the RA role to fill them. There’s 25 to 30 jobs open right now, which is a lot for people considering we only have 18 that are going to be graduating soon, so we don’t have enough to fill.
Jennifer Callahan: Right? Don’t really feel like it’s a profession that’s talked about really. I mean, even in terms of like going through X-ray school when I was graduating with radiography, I feel like you were talked to about going into the different modalities CAT scan, MRI, mammo, etcetera, or progressing into maybe like management, but I don’t really feel like we’re maybe my memory’s not serving me correctly. Talking about being becoming a radiologist assistant at some point.
Derek Medeiros: You’re right. And there’s a bunch of us that are piloting the fact that we’re going to programs. And like, I was chatting with you before, going to each state society and trying to present basically just the basics about the profession to get it out there, because a lot of techs don’t know about it. There are some schools that know about it. We do have a bunch of RA that are like within the actually the president, Mike Odgren, which was president. For a long time is an RA, so we’ve tried to go in that route with some people within to do these things. And in every state that has a society, I already lectured from Massachusetts, which is combined with New Hampshire, it’s basically like New England region. And then a colleague of mine is going to do another one, just to emphasize again, a little bit more, but a little bit different, not just like the basics of RA, but more emphasize of what they do, what we do. And then we’re going to go to each state we have like 18 set up and talk about the role. So these texts can hear about it and actually learn about it. But we do have a few close contacts that are program directors, and we try to break it out there to them, to that you should be talking about.
Derek Medeiros: And some of them do. And there’s a lot of them that say they honestly don’t, because they didn’t realize that it was still a growing profession. And there’s a lot of misnomers out there, like I’ve been in some Facebook groups of new X-ray techs, and I reached out and said, hey, anybody has any questions? I’m an RA. There’s a bunch of people that said, oh, I thought they were phasing out their role. I thought there was nobody left. I thought that role was gone. I was like, no, this is the opposite is we don’t have enough to go around for how many jobs really in the last 3 or 4 years, the job market has exploded for us, meaning, because there’s so many more opportunities where you used to see 1 or 2 a month, now there’s 1 or 2 a day. Sometimes there’s just so many openings, there’s not enough people that are going into the role. And that’s the problem that we’re trying to fix. For the radiology community in general. It’s not just for my profession. I think it’s for radiology, period. That needs a mid-level provider to survive like nurses do, and get the recognition that we deserve.
Jennifer Callahan: Right. Do you feel like maybe it’s exploding because not to use Covid as like the marker? But I feel like since then, like health care has exploded, possibly even larger than what it was prior to that. And then also too, with the prevalence of cancer and how I feel like not to say normal, it is to have cancer, but so many cancer patients out there that there are so many studies being done on patients that there’s just so many studies to be read. And someone like yourself is there to definitely help with the workload. For the radiologist.
Derek Medeiros: I think it’s just the shortage of radiologists, the amount of work that they have to deal with. It’s not a secret that there’s a national shortage of radiologists, and it’s going to get worse. Even with AI’s help, they still need radiologists, and there’s just not enough on the ground and need people to do these procedures and talk to these patients and help these patients. So I think that’s what started it, too. And I think also there’s a lot of people that are have taken on the role of being pioneers, which I that’s why I got into this profession in general and really emphasizing it and teaching and just spreading the word about the radiologist assistant profession. And it’s usually just somebody has to break down the door and go to these radiologist groups and say, listen, this is what I can do for you because it’s unknown. And there’s still some issues with billing very minor compared to what it was when I started. But there’s still minor things that you have to work out. But once you show a radiologist group or a hospital group of what you can do and how quickly you can do it, 99% of the time they end up hiring more. That’s where most jobs come from. Is Inara got in there just like at my job. I had a colleague of mine who she’s retiring at the end of this month. Actually, she’s been an RA for 25 years, and she went to the group and said she wanted to move closer.
Derek Medeiros: She was working in upstate Massachusetts in a teaching center, Lahey Clinic. So Lahey Clinic is a really big teaching facility in Massachusetts. But she moved to the Newport and she wanted to work closer to Newport. And she went to this, the radiologist group that I currently work for, and just talk to them what thet she could do and she showed them. And then after eight years, they’re like, well, we need another person to cover the other side. And that’s where I came along. But they basically spread the word and show them how to like how an RA can help them. And once they see that, they’re like, My God, we need more of these. There’s enough work there. And that’s what happens at most places. I mean, most of the jobs that we do have is because somebody is already there or a bunch of people are already there, but there’s actually new ones opening, too, because a lot of times they realize, wow, this is a better alternative for us because the radiologists in general are very scared or worried about, which makes sense about scope creep. So we’re not in any way like that. The radiologists actually created the profession for that exact reason to limit the scope creep. So we’re really their solution to all the problems that they have in terms of radiologists shortage and also scope. Great.
Jennifer Callahan: So what are you saying scope creep? Just so give a little definition of that.
Derek Medeiros: Yeah. So I mean scope creep meaning when you’re talking about that, the radiologists or physicians in general talking about mid-level providers like NPS and Pas who are looking for independent practice, and they’re able to read imaging studies, which radiologists are completely against in doing final reports and things like that. So that’s what we talk about, scope creep, which is a problem not just in radiology. It’s a problem in every modality, every field of medicine, family medicine,PR medicine. If you look at any of these web boards of physicians, scope creep is mentioned numerous times. Because of that, BPAs and NPS are coming in taking physicians jobs and trying to be independent, which is not what the mid-level provider was created for in the first place. Unfortunately, that’s how it’s heading because it’s a money ploy. Obviously, hospitals can pay a pound and a quarter of whatever of physician was going to make. Unfortunately, the system wasn’t built like that and it shouldn’t be like that. I’m completely against any type of independent practice for any app. Just because you don’t have MD or after your name, you really shouldn’t be practicing completely independently.
Jennifer Callahan: So just take a little switch off of the radiologist. Assistant role. You had mentioned earlier that your original passion was in exercise science or so how did you go there and then end up in radiology? But then you’re also to still have your personal training on the side now, correct?
Derek Medeiros: Yeah, I Just do little stuff. I mean, not as much as I used to because my wife would get mad at me with two kids, but I still have a few people that I work with. But I have always loved exercise. I still love exercise. Physiology is a very good starter program or starter degree for a lot of people that go like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and athletic training. So I looked at those routes and that was the route that I initially thought I wanted to do, but I just I thought I kind of job shadowed a lot of physical therapists, and I just felt like they were just exhausted about the job. And I felt like for the amount of work that they do and pay that they make, it’s not wasn’t really worth it. And I really liked radiology, so that’s why I went that route with always being having in the back of my head that I was going to go continue, and x-ray was just going to be that beginning platform for me to either be some type of labor provider or medical school, I guess was a possibility too, but I didn’t think I had the grades, so that’s why I settled for the mid lower provider, which is awesome because I get the best of both worlds, so definitely not. Don’t regret my decision, but if I did it all over again, maybe I’d do it a little differently just in terms of how much effort I put in when I was in undergrad, the beginning of undergrad, because the middle I started to really try harder. But high school, I just did B’s and sometimes A’s. But I could have tried harder if I really had the full goal in mind at that point, right.
Jennifer Callahan: It’s interesting that I would have never thought about having exercise science or physiology as a background, but how much it makes sense for that and radiography to go hand in hand. I mean, x-ray is mostly for bones and such, but then you’re looking at the other modalities like CAT scan and MRI that are mostly based for soft tissue things like tendons and ligaments. Obviously they are still used for bone structures, but it’s interesting that I personally would have never made that correlation between the two. But at this point it makes so much sense.
Derek Medeiros: Yeah, a lot of people that are athletes get hurt and then they that’s their first exposure to imaging in general is because they got hurt. And I personally wasn’t. Thankfully I didn’t get injured too much, but just exercise in general. You talk a lot about injury doctors, things like that with with clients. And I got a lot of people because I had a bachelor’s degree that had like a lot of heart issues and or just a lot of medical issues in general. So we would talk about those things and imaging plays a role in all of that, because imaging is the starter for everything. Like when you go to a doctor, you don’t get an imaging study is very rare unless it’s a mild thing. But anybody that steps in a hospital as a patient is going to get some type of imaging study while they’re there. That’s almost especially these days, 99.9% of the time.
Jennifer Callahan: For sure. So do you feel like that your background with the exercise physiology helps you in working as a radiologist assistant?
Derek Medeiros: I guess to a certain extent. I mean, there is a completely different profession in general, but yeah, it’s just the background of working with people and helping people is the same. So I really enjoy physical. I love exercise in general, so that’s a big passion of mine. But helping people get to their goals, just as helping a patient with a study or draining their fluid, their para fluid because they have cancer or something like that, that’s the really important part, is the patient interaction with me. So it is similar in terms of what you can develop and how you can see people on a regular basis in terms of like exercise and then patients. I see on a regular basis all the time, and just helping somebody is what they’re very similar in. Something that I really enjoy and love to do is help people.
Jennifer Callahan: So your radiology group works at the South Coast Health System. Are you primarily based at one hospital within that health system, or does your group moves.
Derek Medeiros: Around to a lot of places? There’s two big hospitals and there’s a smaller hospital. There’s Saint Luke’s, which is in New Bedford, Massachusetts, with a big area. And then Charlton is where I’m mainly at, which is in fall River, which is also a big city. But fall River has another hospital. So Saint Luke’s is a really big center. I go to Saint Luke’s once a week, and then the other four days I’m at Charlton. My colleague who’s taking over for my retired colleague is mainly at Saint Luke’s. And then we swap that one day. So. Okay.
Jennifer Callahan: All right. Do you like having the variety of going between the two different sites?
Derek Medeiros: Yeah, I was the one who I’ve taken the lead role now that my colleague retired. So I just think it’s good for camaraderie and just knowing in case you there’s still overlap. Sometimes if I have to be out on something, my colleague would have covered me. There was a couple times she came over when I was on leave for my daughter, who was born just last April. So she came over. And just so you’re comfortable going to places and the techs know who you are in terms of just actually your face, not just your name, because they know you by name. They’re like, oh, I know him, but they don’t actually know you. They don’t work with you. You’re not comfortable at the site. So I think it’s important just for camaraderie in terms of the whole radiology department. And that’s why I continued or push for just the one day a week thing, just to keep yourself used to the different sites and have a routine. So in case you do have to go there, you’re comfortable there.
Jennifer Callahan: Yeah, I agree with that. It’s good to be able to know people in different sites especially. I mean, say, if even you were not going to be going there at all usually, but your one colleague couldn’t go, you don’t want to be there as a fish out of water. So it’s great for you to rotate with each other. I definitely agree with that. In terms of the work that you guys do, you’re talking about doing like the powers and stuff, and I know that you had talked about doing injections when you were in school. I guess you had to do almost like a clinical practice where you’re practicing these exams. It’s kind of.
Derek Medeiros: Similar to like x ray. We have to take a certain amount of x rays. So you have to do a certain amount of procedures. There’s mandatory procedures and then there’s elective procedures. I believe it has to be a number I think at least 500 procedures before you can graduate in a certain amount of mandatory procedures. So I mean, most people get I think I had like 2700 procedures by the time I was done. So I mean, it’s a lot a lot. Yeah. And even after that, you still experience takes years to get comfortable with these other procedures that are harder to do. And then you can build upon that as basically your extension of the radiologist. And if they expect you, if they’re comfortable with you doing a different procedure and you’re comfortable doing it’s within your scope because you’ve learned it, then you can do that. So there is added things on that too. But there is a mandatory amount of procedures. You have to do at least 500 certain mandatory ones you have to meet, like you have to do ten of this, that and the other thing, 15 of this, 15 of that. And then there’s electives. So you have to have that signed off by a radiologist and have some type of informational proof that you did do these things before you can graduate and sit for the boards.
Jennifer Callahan: All right. So just to clarify for myself, so in the department that I work at we have there are no rays. However there are two usually at least two physician’s assistants who are working alongside of the radiologists in the interventional department that I work in. And they’re doing things like what you said they’re performing Paracentesis Thoracentesis. And then they also do do the consults for patients, but other procedures. And I’m wondering if an RA would do them as well. I’m going to assume the answer is yes. But you know, they do Picc line placements, lumbar punctures, things like that. So so you do all the same. So basically all those things. Okay. Interesting. Because I know that the two physician assistants that work in my department, they come from the E.R. and they had to be trained in how to do these procedures.
Derek Medeiros: Which takes a long time. And that’s the problem with it. And they’re not they’re not trained in radiation safety. They’re not trained in radiology, radiation, biologics and how to maximize those things. And it takes a long time to train these people. And they can unfortunately, they’re usually not very loyal either. If they don’t like one certain things they leave. So it’s a lot different because they don’t have the background. Most of them, some of them are rbt’s who decided to go that route instead of the RA routes. But you don’t have a background. It’s so different. So many things to learn. It’s really hard to learn on the job, and it takes years and a lot of work by the radiologist group, as opposed to most rays come out of school and they have all these procedural things. There’s just minor tweaking and minor things that they have to freshen up on to be ready to go on your own, as opposed to Tas. We have to teach them ultrasound because a lot of procedures are ultrasound based and ultrasound takes forever to learn. I’m still learning it, but at least I had a base background of x ray and know what I’m looking for and know what to do. Know how it should look in terms of the imaging and all that stuff. Because I was a tech for years and a lot of tech, a lot of rays are very experienced techs that have ten, 15, 20 years of experience and have MRI background, CT background, sonography, background, all these things, all the anatomy overlap. So if you have that basis, then you have a lot to go forth with as opposed to just normal anatomy from a book is different in imaging anatomy. Right.
Jennifer Callahan: So I feel like. You’ve given us a good amount of information on being an actual radiologist assistant, and then the pathway that you need to take to get there. But you had said that you started in this one area of exercise, and you rolled into becoming an PT, and then you went into being an RA. So thinking back to the past, if you could give yourself advice as a future professional in the realm of radiology, what would you give yourself in terms of advice for anyone who’s looking to come into this field?
Derek Medeiros: I think just exploring all the opportunities you have. Radiology is really diverse because there’s so many different avenues that you can go into. You’ve got regular x ray, obviously. Then you have MRI, you have CT, you have sonography, which is a little different. But in terms of your what, which ways you can go once you get into imaging the imaging field in general, RA is another route that should go. There’s others that, you know, talk about management and that’s another route you can go. So radiology is so diverse like nursing that there are so many different routes that you could go. And I think the RA role should be right at the top there too, because it’s expanding. It’s really an important role for the radiology profession in general. But a lot of students are not even don’t even know what the profession or even texts don’t even know about the profession. So it doesn’t give them the chance to explore that opportunity and maybe go forward and do it at some point, or at least give them the information so they can make a decision in the future. Or maybe not them, but at least know that they have the ability to advance their career and become part of, like a radiologist extension of the radiologist, as opposed to just doing imaging procedure imaging studies, meaning taking X-rays or MRI CT. So just being able to be our patient care abilities are a little bit we have a little more time with patients, which is really important for me because the workload is crazy these days for like CT techs especially, and they just feel like they’re just they have one minute with a patient before they need to get the next patient on and they don’t have the time to take it, so they get burned out. So the burnout is real with our profession, I think it’s a little bit less because you have the ability to take a little more time with a patient, and you have a little bit more challenging things to do and to learn. And obviously learning never stops.
Jennifer Callahan: Yeah, for sure, the burnout is real. So I mean, it’s nice to know that in your role that you have the ability to sit, talk, get that true interaction with it with a patient. So that’s a nice perspective to take on this external role that you could possibly have being in the radiology field. So I do really appreciate your time and discussing radiology assistant. It’s been enlightening for myself because as I had said, I had briefly heard about it, but really didn’t know much about it at all, so I really enjoyed our conversation about it. Thank you.
Derek Medeiros: Yeah, no problem man. That’s what my goal is to try to just get it out there and have all radiology know about the profession in general, and know that it’s alive and well. And there’s many of us that are fighting for complete national recognition. We have a couple of more things to get past, but we’ve made a lot of progress over the years, especially the last like six, eight years that I’ve been a practicing RA. But we need the whole radiology community to band with us, to help us push things through, because nobody else is going to help us. And we need to have you guys because you’re an extension of us two, or we are you. So to help us push it along because we’re a strength in numbers. So we need every single or at least most texts out there to help us push it along. And we help each other because we’re one and we’re unified and we’re stronger together. So sure.
Jennifer Callahan: Everybody, this is Derek Medeiros with us tonight and talking about being a radiologist assistant. If you’re looking into the profession for radiology, check it out or even get some information on it, because you could become a technologist and you want something a little bit more, but maybe don’t want to be working the crazy hours of x-ray or possibly CT, but you still really enjoy the patient aspect of it. It seems like radiologists assistant is a good avenue to go a little bit further from technology. So thanks again Derek. Really appreciate it. And everybody check out our other episodes that we have and look forward to being with everyone next week. Thank you. You’ve been listening to the Skeleton Crew, brought to you by x-raytechnicianschools.com. Join us on the next episode to explore the present and the future of the Rad Tech career and the field of radiology.