From a young age, Sylvia Grant knew she had a future in health care. As a child, she would dress up in a lab coat and pretend to take notes on her clipboard while visiting a family member in the hospital, setting her on the path to discover her passion in diagnostics imaging.
Starting as a general x-ray technologist, Grant followed her passion and continued to specialize her skills, finding her home today in Computerized Tomography (CT).
“There’s a lot of misconception about what we do,” said Grant. “CT scans provide greater detail than your average x-ray, capturing images of organs, blood vessels and soft tissues inside the body. It’s fast-paced and you have an instant connection to the pathology. You get in there like a dirty shirt, it’s fascinating.”
A computerized tomography (CT) scan involves a series of X-ray images taken at different angles with a computer that can create a cross sectional or ‘slice’ image of the body which are then provided to physicians and specialists to inform diagnoses and treatment plans for patients.
“I’m here for the patients,” Grant explained further. “Those moments when you connect, especially when they are fresh on their journey, helping them get through what could be the scariest moment of their life, stands out for me.”
“The ten minutes you take to listen and talk to them can make a really big difference in their journey,” Grant added. “They will remember those moments forever and it’s so fulfilling to know that you helped them through it.”
Since starting her career in 2011, Grant has kept busy, helping patients and expanding her skills through different roles across Canada including positions in The Pas, Yellowknife and Calgary. Now as charge technologist in HSC’s dedicated CT department, she brings her past experience into organizing the day-to-day workload while supporting members of the team to help them be successful in their role.
“It’s like a dance and there’s a delicate balance of scheduling scans with all of the different units in the hospital who rely on our services,” described Grant. “It’s like a very big puzzle and I think my brain really enjoys that aspect.”
From transport to nurses, it takes a multidisciplinary team working together at HSC Winnipeg to make sure patients are effectively and efficiently seen in the CT department. Grant’s team of specialized CT techs are supported by nurses who help prep patients, streamlining the process and enabling techs to perform the scans that patients need. On average, the team performs approximately 120 scans per day using all three CT scanners in the department.
“HSC is unique in itself because it’s just so busy. Until you’ve worked here you have no idea -it’s actually quite astonishing the sheer volume of how many people we serve in a day. Our techs are amazing at their jobs which makes my role so much easier. I really do have great staff.”
Grant describes radiology as an ever-changing field with a new technology, applications and techniques being introduced regularly. Medical Radiologic technologists (MRTs) may wish to specialize, similar to Grant, and apply their skills in a diverse range of fields such as angiography, mammography, interventional radiology, pediatric radiology, nuclear medicine, and in her case computerized tomography.
“The thing about radiology is that there’s always something new and you can take your learning in different directions,” shared Grant. “You have to be willing to adapt and push yourself to improve. But you will find so much variety that it’s nearly impossible to feel stagnant, especially working at HSC!”
Shared Health is proud to celebrate Medical Radiation Technologist Week, an opportunity to recognize the compassionate care MRT’s deliver to Manitobans every day and how their roles span diverse areas of the health system as a critical part of supporting patient treatment and care.