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Medical Imaging: Key Role in Patient Care

Medica Imaging

Medical Imaging Nurses at Highland are committed to caring for patients while radiologists and radiologic technologists gather vital images for diagnosis. The specialty, a young profession in the nursing field, naturally arose from significant strides in diagnostic radiology during the past 20 years coupled with a deepening commitment to patient- and family-centered care.

The staff of 13 registered nurses and two patient care technicians provide care for about 95 percent of patients during some point of their hospital stay.  Patients from every specialty – pediatrics to geriatrics; outpatient to inpatient; ED to ICU – come to the department for interventional radiology, CT scan, MRI, nuclear medicine, ultrasound and X-rays. Volume in Medical Imaging has grown 25 percent over the past five years. Dr. Ray Tan serves as department Medical Director.

“Our nurses truly enjoy the diversity and the challenges of caring for patients with a wide range of ages and diagnoses,” says Valerie Aarne, RN, Nurse Manager. “We are blessed to have many nurses who have been in the department for a long time and have been at Highland most of their careers. This is a staff of professionals who are truly energized by learning, support each other and are totally committed to the highest quality of care for our patients.”

An atmosphere that encourages staff to “take care of yourself and your family,” flexible scheduling with staff input, and co-workers ready and willing to cover when needed are the secrets to staff longevity.

“We create a schedule that keeps us fully staffed and works for the team members,” says Valerie. “The department also has a ‘no guilt’ policy. If we ask employees to come in and they decline, we know they have good reasons.” 

Marcia Garcia, RN, a 20-plus year veteran of the department, stresses the team supports each other from one assignment to another, helping each other when appropriate. “We have each other’s backs,” says Marcia.

Karen Zinnecker, RN, appreciates that her co-workers supported her when she was diagnosed with cancer several years ago.

“I experienced every part of this department as a patient,” Karen says. “I am grateful that when I was ready to come back to work my hours were adjusted in a way so I could heal and return gradually.”

Such compassion extends to every individual, and staff members have been recognized by patients, physicians and co-workers for the care they provide and the skills they use in providing the care. Velecia Marston, RN, recently received the DAISY Award for Nursing excellence and Garcia has been an Employee of the Month. Others are CPR instructors, achieved advanced degrees, work with student nurses and volunteer with professional organizations. Valerie is on the New York State Board of Nursing. Staff members also serve on committees throughout the hospital and share information at monthly meetings.

“I am fortunate to work with highly skilled professionals who are passionate about their work, care about each patient as an individual, support each other and truly love being at Highland,” says Valerie.

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