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Spotlight: Hospital Radiologic Technologists

Mitch Ross is a CT technologist at Lawrence + Memorial (L+M) Hospital in New London and vice-president of our AFT-Connecticut-affiliated L&M LPN/Techs union. He began his career nearly 10 years ago in order to “utilize both my technical and people skills to help make someone else’s life better.”
 
A central role that CT techs play in acute care is to create detailed images of the inner workings of a patient’s body using a computerized tomography (CT) scanner. These rad techs are a vital component of a patients’ healthcare team, working alongside doctors and nurses, as well as other technical professionals and caregivers.
 
“I work with trauma patients, stroke patients and cancer patients to support them and help them get through their CT scans during a difficult time in their lives,” said Ross. “We do so much more than just ‘push a button,'” he added.
 
Ross and his technical professional colleagues at L+M Hospital see their role as more than simply providing high quality bedside care. When leadership of the non-profit network that owns and operates their facility in 2013 began outsourcing vital services they took a stand to protect access for their patients. 
 
They joined with registered nurses, as well as advocates, civic and elected leaders, to demand hospital administrators halt the shift of care away from the facility’s main campus. But management responded by illegally locking out over 800 of their caregivers for three weeks in December.
 
“The lock-out strategy actually backfired on the hospital administration as employees bonded together, along with generating an amazing amount of community support for ourselves, our issues and our concerns,” said Ross. “My fellow union members stayed strong and we actually gained members,” he added.
 
Click here to learn more about the settlement that resolved the dispute with L+M Hospital management.
 
IB ImageMatt Hollins (left) is an x-ray/CT technologist with 10 years of experience at Danbury Hospital and serves on the Danbury & New Milford Federation of Healthcare Technical Employees’ negotiating committee. He, too, sees the role of rad techs on a patient’s healthcare team as being more than simply “carrying out the doctor’s orders.”
 
“We’re there to help talk our patients through the process, to help them feel comfortable,” said Hollins. “I work in the emergency room, so my patients come to me under the most stressful conditions. To help them heal, first I need to help them relax,” he added.
 
Hollins and his negotiating committee colleagues have been at the table with representatives of the non-profit network that operates their acute care facility for months. The technical professionals are seeking to codify the voice in patient care decisions they last year won in a secret ballot union election with a strong collective bargaining agreement.
 
“We came together because we saw how our hospital’s registered nurses were able to speak out for their patients,” said Hollins. “The only difference with techs should be the specific role we play in treating our patients. Our voices matter and we should be able to be advocates, too,” he added.
 
Click here to learn more about the fight for a fair first contract for technical professionals at Danbury and New Milford Hospitals.
 
The annual recognition of health professionals working in medical imaging and radiation therapy takes place during the week of November 8, commemorating the discovery of the x-ray in 1895. The American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) is promoting this year’s National Radiologist Technologist Week celebration with the theme “Discovering the Inside Story.”
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Click here to learn more about ASRT and the annual recognition of rad techs.
 
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