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Prepped for the OR

by Maureen Dolan
| July 26, 2020 1:00 AM

NIC radiography students use latest technology in the lab

Students in the North Idaho College Radiography Technology program are being trained on a new piece of equipment featuring the most recent technological advances.

On par with similar medical imaging systems found in local hospitals,

NIC’s recently acquired C-arm, named for its shape, provides high-resolution X-ray images immediately. The device is used primarily in surgery because the C-arm allows a physician to monitor progress and make corrections during a procedure — in real time.

“The use of a C-arm requires extensive training and skill,” said NIC Radiography Technology Program Director Matthew Nolan. “Having current equipment is essential to providing training for the students who will soon be working as registered radiologic technologists in operating rooms in our area hospitals and beyond.”

Kara Ramirez, on track to graduate from the NIC program in May 2021, said she and her fellow students are excited to be training on the new C-arm. It’s very beneficial to them, she said, to have access at NIC to equipment that mirrors what’s used in the hospitals where they perform their clinical training.

“This makes us more comfortable with the C-arm at the clinic sites,” Ramirez said. “I feel this is an asset for us, and it will make us stand out among the students at other colleges.”

Nolan pointed out another benefit of having this up-to-date technology at the college: It allows for interdisciplinary training of radiography students with NIC’s surgery technology students.

“Working in the operating room, no matter what medical profession you are in, is demanding and stressful,” Nolan said. “This area of medicine requires that the professionals working in the operating room be trained well and be confident in their skills, and having state-of-the-art equipment is essential to providing the highest quality training to NIC students.”

Graduates of the NIC Radiography Technology program are eligible to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists national registry and certification exam.

The annual mean wage for certified radiologic technologists in the Coeur d’Alene area in 2019 was $58,120, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Statistics also show that as the U.S. population ages, with more people requiring health care services, this job field is expected to grow in coming years at a faster-than-average pace — by as much as 12 percent.

“I feel like this is an area of the medical field where we will be able to see something new and different every day,” Ramirez said. “Radiology offers various opportunities for growth, and it’s an area where we will never stop learning.”

For more information, visit nic.edu/radtech.