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Radiology tech class under way

Published or Revised April 05, 2005

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STUDYING RADIOLOGY: Some members of the first Paris Junior College Radiology Technology Program class practice with equipment used in their training. Pictured from the left are students Sarah Miller of Sumner, Graham Lane of Paris and Jason Redus (on the table); instructor Karen Powers (rear); and William Young, at right, the program’s coordinator. A second class will begin this fall at PJC.

Graham Lane had worked in Paris for several months, but when he and his wife moved here from Windom last October, it wasn’t to rid himself of the daily commute. Instead, Lane had his future in mind.

Three months later, Lane, 34, joined eighteen others in Paris Junior College’s first Radiology Technology class, fulfilling a goal harbored since he was a teen, and helping PJC launch its latest - and much-anticipated - health care technology program.

“It’s what I wanted to do when I graduated,” said Lane, who boasts that under “Future Plans” beneath his high school yearbook photo “it says X-ray tech.”

Lane’s eagerness wasn’t isolated. The college received more than 70 applications for the 20 slots in its inaugural Radiology Technology Program class, according to Marcia Putnam, director of health occupations at PJC.

“We interviewed those people and selected, by point system, the top candidates,” said William Young, the Radiology Technology Program’s coordinator. “The word was out we were going to start a program.”

The college had worked since spring of 2002 to bring the program to life, designing a curriculum and gaining approval from various radiology organizations and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a move spurred by need, both locally and statewide. The program gained approval and the first class began in January.

“Radiology technologist is one of the top 10 on the Texas Workforce Commission’s Target Occupation List. We have a requirement to meet community needs in relation to health care,” said Putnam, noting that area health care organizations - including Paris Regional Medical Center, Radiology Center of Paris and Red River Valley Radiology Associates - continue to play major advisory and classroom support roles. Red River Valley Radiology Associates also provides space and equipment for clinical training.

The two-year program consists of 70 or 71 credit hours and leads to an associate of applied science degree from PJC and eligibility for the American Registry of Radiography Technologists certification examination.

Faculty members consist of area radiology professionals: Karen Powers, assistant director of radiology at East Texas Medical Center in Clarksville; Tim Ochran, chief medical physicist at Texas Oncology; Beverly Mock, director of radiology at Paris Regional Medical Center; and Young, formerly of Red River Valley Radiology Associates.

“They come from a variety of walks of life,” Putnam said of the students. “Age ranges from 19 to 52,” added Young.

“Part of it is career advancement,” said Putnam. “They’ve worked in parts of the health care field or maybe begun to work in the radiology field and want to go on for a degree. For others, it’s just a change in careers.”

“There is a big demand for radiology technologists,” said Powers, who has also served as a health care instructor for Tyler Junior College. “It’s a broad field. It covers routine X-rays, CAT scans, ultrasound, MRI, nuclear medicine.

“And this is the basics. They have to go through the routine X-ray program, then they can specialize, go into radiation therapy and all the other categories.

“You have to have this to start out. It’s like the groundwork for radiology. Once they get through these two years, they’ll take state [examinations], be certified and can go to work in a hospital. And a lot of hospitals cross-train them into other fields,” said Powers.

Sarah Miller of Sumner graduated from PJC in 1994 with an associate of applied science degree. Now, after years working in the health care field, she has returned to school. When PJC’s program was announced, she said she applied quickly.

“I have enough time in the field to know this is something I’d like to do,” said the data entry clerk for Red River Valley Radiology Associates. “There wasn’t a school here [before]. The closest school was Tyler or Dallas, and I was married and just couldn’t go that far.”
Lane is a returning PJC student, as well, having taken air conditioning and refrigeration courses at the college in the early ‘90s. And he’s also an employee of Red River Valley Radiology Associates, working as an NCT, or non-certified technician.

“I was all over it as soon as I found out about the program,” said Lane. “I’m glad I got in. We moved to Paris in October, anticipating this.”

In addition to Lane and Miller, the program’s inaugural class consists of Bridget Mix, Krystle Burrows, Morgan Christian, Christina Coley, Pamela Compton, Priscilla Darnell, Kara Deaton, Joann Francis, Casey Fuller, Richard Gilbert, Susan Hendricks, David Hill, Tara McDaniel, Asheleigh Montanio, Katie Pearson, Shelly Radford and Jason Redus.

The Radiology Technology Program’s advisory board consists of Gail Parkhill, administrator of the Radiology Center of Paris; Trisha Davis, compliance officer for Open Imaging of Greenville; J.R. Lindsey, assistant administrator of Paris Regional Medical Center; and Mock, Ochran, Young, and Putnam.

A second radiology technology class will begin with PJC’s fall semester, and applications should be available in the Health Occupations Department, Walters Technology Building, beginning in June, according to Putnam.

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