Innovative Imaging: New Radiology Lab Equipped with Latest TechnologyBy Maaha Rafique
Students will gain hands-on experience with the latest radiography equipment in the expanded lab.
The installation of a new radiology lab at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) has shed light on a simple but essential truth about success — namely, that the more time students train with different pieces of equipment, the more prepared they are to work in a clinical setting.
Radiography students, who learn to create X-rays that physicians can then use to diagnose patients, train by practicing in labs similar to the X-ray rooms found in hospitals. An entirely new lab was installed at MCPHS during the summer of 2023. The digital X-ray system includes state-of-the-art equipment, such as a telescoping arm, an elevating table, and even AI technology to enhance images.
“I want students to be able to take the information that they learn in the classroom and get to practice it until they feel comfortable. Then they can provide the best care for patients during their clinical internships,” said Michael Farah, radiography program director in the School of Medical Imaging and Therapeutics.
Fewer people using the lab at once during the COVID pandemic allowed students to spend more time with equipment and better understand how it worked. This sparked an idea to expand, and the radiography department asked the University for funding for another lab. Now, students studying to be X-ray technologists have more room to practice their skills, using hospital-grade equipment provided by Radiology Services Inc.
“This is equipment that's out in the hospitals, and they're going to put their hands on it in the lab and practice in a very safe environment where they can learn and make mistakes without any cost to patient exposure. Then when they get in the clinic, they're ready to go,” Farah said.
Like the old lab, the new one is fully digital, enabling images to appear in high quality and faster than film provides. The lab also features an option to turn off the radiation and allow students to use the equipment without producing X-rays during open lab sessions.
Ryan Piccinin, Clinical Coordinator of the Radiography Department, said students enjoy having more time to practice with the addition of the new room. Now, students spend equal amounts of time with the equipment, rotating through each machine.
“Often when they go out to clinical, they're going to use multiple pieces of equipment, and there are a lot of different little nuances with each one. This gives them a great little taste of variety,” Piccinin said.
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