Advanced Training For CT Technologists

If you want to improve your relationship with your radiology staff, try a morning check-in.

check-in communication relations with radiology staff Apr 16, 2021

So I have this one technologist who when he is on the x-ray service, he calls in the mornings to give me my schedule for the day. We have 5 basic radiology services at my hospital: x-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound and nucs. X-ray includes all the fluoroscopy exams and procedures and mammo and Pet-CT are performed at another site. Anyway, do I really need this technologist to call and let me know about the schedule? No, I can easily check my schedule myself. However, I do appreciate it and in fact, I have to say I really like that he does this. Let me tell you why. 

In general, it’s hard for him to know the entire schedule of procedures and commitments that I have for the day. He obviously doesn’t know if I have a meeting and he generally doesn’t know if I have an ultrasound procedure or if I’m responsible for an MRI sedation or have a cardiac MR that I need to monitor. Now, could he call those services and ask them? Yes, but I really don’t see a need for that. It’s kind of a waste of his time. However, the simple act of calling me in the morning to let me know that I have an esophagram at 9, a barium enema at 1030 and a hip injection at 130 is extremely helpful for several reasons. First, it allows me to check my schedule for my other commitments, possible conflicts and discuss with him whether a particular patient needs to be moved or perhaps brought in early if possible. And second, when he calls, he also gives me a little bit of the history behind each case. This proves to me that he looked in the patient’s chart for some time and did a little homework. This is fantastic and enables me to make quick decisions and helps with some of the preparation involved. 

For example, when he calls about a hip injection, he either tells me that the ordering provider requested a certain dose of steroid to be injected or he says that the ordering provider didn’t request a specific dose or medication. That usually makes my life easy. If a specific medication isn’t asked for, then I typically use my usual mix of a few cc of Marcaine with 40 mg of Kenalog. Knowing this early on before the patient arrives is helpful because I can order the medications and have them all pulled for the procedure. Overall, things have just become more efficient.

In addition, when he informs me that I have an esophagram, he tells me “the history says reflux” and “they also want for a rule out hiatal hernia”. He then generally follows up with “it doesn’t look like the patient has had an endoscopy or any prior studies” or perhaps he says, “there is a prior chest CT which mentions a possible tiny hiatal hernia”. Again, it is very helpful to get this information about the patient ahead of time. It narrows down my scope of pre-procedure investigation and I spend less time perusing through the chart. I can quickly check out the chest CT and then go talk to the patient. Increased efficiency.

Now, can I do all this on my own without the tech’s help and research. Yes, but having this quick check-in, which takes less than a few minutes, puts myself and the x-ray technologist on the same page and leads to more efficiency. And as I said earlier, I can also let him know that I just got an add-on paracentesis from the ICU which they just called about. He would have no way of knowing this without the communication, and now he can factor that into the fluoro procedure schedule.

So overall, I find this morning check-in process to be very helpful and well worth my time. It is also likely well worth the time of the technologist doing the research as well, because he also gets to learn about the reason why a patient is coming in for the procedure and if they have any issues that need to be factored into the prep. He also gets a verbal from me about all my additional commitments and work coming my way for the day.

Now, I can’t promise you that all radiologists will appreciate this sort of practice. Some rads are antisocial, and some may be stressed out in the morning when they come in to work with a large list of overnight cases waiting for them to read. So, you need to feel this out and use it when and if appropriate. It doesn’t hurt to ask; and if it all works out, it will make you look great while you are delivering good patient care at the same time. It’s a win-win!

If you want to get some more great ideas and learn some tips and tricks on how to become one of the most desirable techs to work with in your institution, why not try out my FREE course? Yes, its totally FREE! Just go to and check it out today.

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