FHSU Rad Tech Program creates world ready students

By CALLY ANDERSON

Tiger Media Network

The Department of Allied Health advanced laboratories are home to the Fort Hays State University Radiologic Technology program. Known for its rigorous academia and sought-after graduated students, this program fosters an environment for future radiologic technologists to thrive.

Located in Cunningham Hall, students have access to three radiography imaging rooms designed very similar to what is found in a hospital. Two of these imaging rooms have direct digital capability, while one room has computed radiography technology. 

Additionally, the program has a mobile radiography unit, digital mobile unit, c-arm unit (which provides live imaging capabilities in a surgical room or patient room), and two recently replaced mammography units.

Rad tech students work together in the laboratory to acquire images of an articulated mannequin in a trauma scenario.

Program Director Jennifer Wagner has worked with students in the rad tech program for over 25 years and can attest to the value of the FHSU rad tech equipment.

“Students have access to outstanding equipment and facilities that many programs cannot offer,” Wagner said. 

Wagner said one of the program’s goals is to have state-of-the-art laboratory equipment.

“Instructional labs by design are to help prepare students by learning equipment and a multitude of imaging procedures from non-trauma to trauma,” Wagner said. 

Rad tech student Anna Bernston is grateful for the opportunities the lab rooms provide.

“I love that we have the opportunity to apply what we have learned in lecture into the lab setting right away,” Bernston said. “For example, this week, we were learning about the skull anatomy and how to position a patient to see different structures within the skull. In our lab, we were then able to position each other like we would a patient who needed imaging of their skull.”

When students are accepted into the program through an interview selection, they are required to go through a six-semester track. This includes three semesters on-campus, dedicated to the learning of didactic and laboratory experiences. In the final three semesters, students are relocated to participate in clinicals where they perform working on patients and different exams, alongside professionals in the field. This earns a competency required to fulfill the national certification requirements in radiography. Due to the laboratory instruction at FHSU, students can make a smooth transition into clinicals.

Bernston agrees the lab creates a world-ready environment prior to attending clinicals and was one of the main reasons she chose to attend FHSU. 

“I chose this program because it is one of the best programs in the country,” Bernston said. “I also chose Fort Hays because, unlike most X-ray programs, Fort Hays allows students to practice in the lab setting for three semesters before attending their clinical year.”

Students have the opportunity to integrate other coursework into their areas of interest. This includes computed tomography, MRI, mammography, bone densitometry, advanced patient care, and cardiovascular interventional technology. 

“I think that taking these other courses has opened my eyes to the endless pathways and opportunities available within the radiology field,” Bernston said. 

The FHSU radiology department lab creates an optimal environment for students to learn and become equipped with hospital-ready skills, but it would not be possible without the dedicated professors. 

First-year student AnnaLise Glosson believes that. 

“The teachers within this program are dedicated to each individual student’s success,” Glosson said. “They are always willing to help students outside class time and strive to build personal relationships with their students.” 

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