How Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs) can help you in your health care journey

Jadyn Hansen, Brian Allison, Courtney Bulman, Emily Leblanc, Shanie Kavanaugh, and Cassandra Leaman are fourth year students at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital School of Radiologic Technology.   

Hello! We are fourth year students at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital School of Radiologic Technology here to tell you a little about our chosen career.  

We want to help you understand our role and how Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs) can help you in your health care journey. Let’s get started.  

The Role of an MRT 

MRTs specialize in radiography by using high-tech X-ray equipment to produce images of the body.  

We work in various areas of the Medical Imaging Department including general radiology, computed tomography (CT), mammography and interventional radiology. We provide education about procedures and treatments and answer patients questions to increase understanding and alleviate anxiety and stress. Ensuring the safe use of radiation during examinations is a priority.  

The images we take provide crucial information, a first step to the diagnosis required for patients to begin their treatment journey.  

MRTs are an integral part of the health care team.   

Where do MRTs fit in the patient journey? 

Let’s look at a familiar scenario and see how MRTs fit into the patient’s health care journey!  

Winter is a common time for injuries, particularly slipping on ice. When you slip and fall, the first thought that comes to mind is probably ‘ouch’! But the second might be about visiting your local hospital to have the injury checked out.  

If you go to the Emergency Department the physician or nurse practitioner will determine if an X-ray is needed.  

If you need an X-ray, you’ll head to Medical Imaging, where you’ll meet an MRT.  

It can be tricky getting X-rays on broken bones, but the MRT will use their expertise to produce the required images. With those images, the physician will develop a treatment plan.  

Hopefully an injury doesn’t lead to surgery, but when it does MRTs are involved in imaging the body in the operating room.  

While a wrist or ankle is being repaired by the orthopedic surgeon, an MRT will produce X-ray images confirming realignment of the bones and appropriate placement of any metal hardware that needs to install. Not only that, but the MRT will be the patient’s advocate for safe radiation exposure during surgery. 

After surgery an MRT will often meet you in the recovery area (you might be a little groggy). X-rays are taken while in recovery to confirm placement of the new metal hardware. Sometimes patients go to the Medical Imaging Department the next day for the X-rays.  

At discharge, plans will be made for to have rechecks as an outpatient with the orthopedic surgeon. During those visits, an MRT will perform follow-up X-rays. Images will verify if bones are healing.  

MRTs are a consistent part of the health care journey!  

Fun fact: X-rays were discovered on Nov. 8, 1895, and more than 19 million Canadians receive an X-ray exam each year.  

Where do MRTs work? 

MRTs are integrated into many areas of the hospital, including outside the Medical Imaging Department. Here’s where you can find us!  

  • Intensive Care Units: MRTs use a portable X-ray machine to image patients anywhere in the hospital from the neonatal intensive care unit to the neurosurgery intensive care unit.  
  • Emergency Department: In most situations involving an accident, an MRT is part of the initial health care team. Efficiently taking X-ray images – is vital for the patient’s road to recovery.  
  • Operating Room: MRTs assist the surgical team by using portable X-ray equipment. Our knowledge of the equipment helps the surgeon efficiently complete surgeries.  
  • Outpatient (Ambulatory) Clinics:  MRTs are often called upon to use an X-ray technique called fluoroscopy in the outpatient clinics for issues such as gallstones. A regular X-ray image is like a photograph, but fluoroscopy is like a video. 

We even complete X-ray images in the morgue. However, you’ll most often find an MRT in our home department of Medical Imaging, completing both inpatient and outpatient examinations. 

The Moncton Hospital School of Radiologic Technology and Saint John School of Radiological Technology partner with the University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNBSJ) to deliver a four-year Bachelor of Health Sciences in Radiography. Graduates of the program become Medical Radiation Technologists (MRT).