Patient focus helps radiologic technologist leap up the ladder

Jennifer Wallace, radiologic technologistJennifer Wallace sums up an average day of work in two words: changing lives. 

Wallace is one of the many radiologic technologists who make extraordinary patient care at Carle an everyday occurrence. This week, Wallace and her fellow providers receive recognition for the mindset they bring to their work every day.

National Radiologic Technology Week celebrates the vital role radiologic technologists play in providing patient safety and care through medical imaging and radiation therapy. For Wallace and her team members, the recognition is not a reward as much as it is a reminder of why they do their job.

“The single most rewarding part of my job is making patients happy and comfortable,” Wallace said. “It’s always our end goal.”

Thanks to a new advancement system recently implemented in Radiology, even climbing the ladder means improving the patient experience first.

In this system, any technologist who has been with Carle for a year or more can apply for a promotion and a pay increase. One of the criteria for approval: showing how you’ve made a difference.

“The career ladder is great,” Wallace said. “It gets you more involved with your patients and they in turn become more aware of who you are.”

The ladder is a points-based system, allowing the provider to earn points based on areas such as technical experience and professional leadership. But, according to Radiology director Kelly Oppe, the points are not what the providers strive for.

“The entire system ties into one question: What do you do for your patients above and beyond the normal?” Oppe said. “It’s very easy to get into the mindset of ‘I have to get the next person in.’”

According to Oppe, many in her department embody this patient-centered mindset, and that is certainly the case with Wallace.

“Jennifer is the first radiologic technologist to receive approval for a promotion in this system,” Oppe said.

“She told an amazing story about a terrified patient about to undergo a CT exam. Jennifer and another technologist rubbed the patient’s feet to soothe her through the process.”

But Wallace wasn’t done caring.

After hearing about the patient’s struggle to remove snow from her driveway, Wallace sent her son over to shovel.

“She goes so far above and beyond, all in the name of treating our patients the right way,” Oppe said.

For Wallace, it was another day doing what she does best. Changing lives.