Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to work helping others. When I was in high school my vision was to become an ultrasound technologist. I always thought it would be fascinating to identify the sex of an unborn baby. After high-school, I decided to go to Crozer Chester Medical Center’s two-year Radiology Technologist program, which turned out to be the best move I could’ve ever made. It gave me an opportunity to see the various modalities the hospital has to offer for technologists, including CT scan, MRI, mammography, angiography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, and radiation therapy.
During those two years I rotated through the radiation therapy department and my ultrasound dream was forever changed. I have always been a very routine-oriented person, so being able to see the same patient and perform the same set-up every day for a number of treatments, as I do every day as a radiation therapist, is something that I really enjoy. Since I already had radiology training as my background, I enrolled for an additional year at Cooper Hospital in Camden for Radiation Therapy in order to fulfill my goal of being trained to administer radiation therapy. However, to become a radiation therapist, it is not necessary to attend radiology school first as I did. Different programs offer a Bachelor’s degree (Jefferson Hospital, Gwynedd Mercy College, to name a few in my area) that can be achieved in 2-4 years. In my personal opinion, though, going through a radiology training program first is a great idea because you can actually take the time to visit the different areas and see what you enjoy the most.
Radiation Oncology can definitely be a difficult place to work, although it can also be very rewarding. You take a bad situation and make it better. I love to see follow up patients that come back to visit and are feeling 100%. The patients (and families) on treatment are going through a very difficult time in their life and the confidence and skills that you apply everyday can really leave a lasting impression on them. I love my job, and I wouldn’t trade what I do everyday for the world.