How to Prepare Imaging Students for Successful Clinical Practice

The predominance of digital imaging has led to a shift in both the field and learning environments. With a new emphasis on less workplace supervision, reliance on prior knowledge, and refinement of current skills, technologists must remain current in their clinical practice to provide quality patient care. Faculty teaching future technologists ought to keep these changes in mind to ensure the success of their students.  Below are our top five tips to prepare students for current practice in the field of medical imaging:

  1. It is vital that students have a strong background in medical terminology, anatomy, and computer literacy. Perhaps, the most important skill required for entering students is critical thinking.  No two patients nor their imaging needs will be the same.  Technologists must adapt quickly to their environment and patient conditions. Patient care skills are essential, along with effective communication, for collaboration with other healthcare professionals to provide the best care.
  2. It is important for technologists, faculty and students to maintain the integrity of the profession.  This is achieved by remaining current in new technologies, and going beyond the performance of these procedures. They must know how to modify technical factors and positioning to meet the individual needs of their patients. This profession goes beyond merely producing an image.  
  3. Students must learn to work independently when performing procedures in order to keep up with the speed of today’s environment. This requires a strong foundation in the fundamentals of imaging. Because today’s technologist must accurately apply the principles of medical imaging, provide quality patient care, and effectively work with both professional and interprofessional teams, students should start building these skills early on.
  4. Beyond positioning concepts, there must be deeper knowledge on how to capture the digital image accurately with the least amount of radiation exposure to the patient. This will aid in minimizing the number of repeat exposures. The profession must look beyond the ease of use of technology to ensure the quality of images is maintained. 
  5. It is important for faculty to be flexible and tailor instruction to the individual learning styles of their students and to keep up with current literature that will provide additional content reflective of current practice.  Our new textbook was updated to reflect current trends in the profession, which led to positions such as the Berganeau and Zanca being introduced in this edition.

Bontrager’s Textbook of Radiographic Positioning and Related Anatomy, 10th Edition offers faculty and students a primary educational resource in radiographic positioning and related anatomy.  Learn more about this textbook and the Evolve resources that complement the text and workbook through resources available for both students and instructors.