Charge Technologist at HSC’s Nuclear Medicine Department Highlighted for Medical Radiation Technologists Week
“I know at the end of the day, I made an impact on somebody’s life…and that’s why I do it,” says Stephanie Rossi, Charge Technologist in Nuclear Medicine at HSC Winnipeg.
Rossi has worked at HSC for 12 years, but her career didn’t begin in health care. She had originally studied engineering, hoping to design and build objects that would improve people’s lives. Unfortunately, sitting at a desk doing paperwork, Rossi didn’t feel like she was having enough impact on the community and wanted to make a change.
While at the hospital one day with her mom, who was waiting for a CT scan, Rossi’s mom suggested that she do “something like this,” referring to the CT technologists. The idea was shelved at the time because of Rossi’s fear of needles, but after spending time volunteering in the hospital, her mind was changed. She wanted to pursue a career in health care.
Rossi knew she didn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse. Thinking on it, Rossi remembered what her mom told her years before and looked into diagnostic imaging, eventually landing in her current field of nuclear medicine.
Rossi’s training as an electrical engineer helped her in her nuclear medicine career, as engineering is about understanding how a system works. Nuclear medicine is the same, but the “system” is a patient’s organs.
On a daily basis, MRTs like Rossi deliver professional imaging and radiation-related treatment services with a caring touch, allowing patients to fully benefit from the latest in technology. This involves injecting patients with safe levels of radiation. Using a CT scanner and diagnostic imaging, Rossi can track how the radiation leaves the patient’s body to determine just how well specific organs are working. After a few days, the radiation completely leaves the patients body with no lasting side effects.
While most of Rossi’s job focuses on diagnostic imaging, some new therapeutic treatments for cancer patients have been introduced this year that Rossi is excited to be a part of. These treatments are intended for patients with certain cancers that cannot be treated with chemotherapy or surgery. Over the course of eight months, these patients receive safe levels of radiation through an IV drip that specifically targets their cancerous cells. This program, which began in February 2022, was not previously offered in Manitoba.
While Rossi provides life-saving care, she notes that it’s sometimes the little things you do that can make a big difference for patients. Patients, especially those from outside of Winnipeg, can have a difficult time navigating the hospital. “Even doing something as simple as giving directions makes a patient’s day that much easier.”
MRT Week is an annual celebration of the essential role that medical radiation technologists play in the health care system.
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By Andrew Lysack