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Getting the picture: Radiography students add skills through clinical experiences

Feb. 23, 2023

By Cheri Ghan

SHP Radiography Program junior Kiley Bailey palpates the side of a patient to make sure the X-ray tube is lined up in the correct anatomy before taking an image of his abdomen.
Kiley Bailey, a junior in the Mizzou Radiography program, palpates the side of a patient to make sure the X-ray tube is lined up correctly before taking an image. Photo by Sam O’Keefe.

Most students today enjoy hands-on learning, and students in Mizzou’s Radiography Program are finding their clinical placements can also lead to first jobs. Radiography Program Director Carla Allen, PhD RT(R)(CT), says six of her students who will graduate in May have already accepted positions with hospitals that begin after graduation. Allen adds that at least five of the six new jobs are positions working with advanced modalities in radiography.

Mizzou Radiography students have two years in the professional phase of their program. They start their program in the summer with classroom instruction only then begin to add clinical rotations during the fall and spring of their first program year.

Kiley Bailey is a junior in her first year of the Radiography program. She recently completed a clinical placement where she was able to finesse her patient care and technical skills practicing everything from abdomen X-rays to assisting a radiologist with esophagrams. An esophagram is a series of X-rays where the patient swallows liquid barium so the radiologist can see the anatomy of the esophagus and the stomach.

“While positioning the patients, I make sure they are still doing okay and explain what to expect from each position,” Bailey says.

Kiley Bailey holds the handle of the X-ray tube to control the movement of the machine while taking an image of a patient.
Kiley Bailey prepares to take an X-ray image of a patient. Photo by Sam O’Keefe.

Starting a clinical rotation so early in a professional program shows students what their careers will really be like. Bailey says in each of their classes, she and other students learn about every aspect of exams including patient anatomy, radiation protection and how the machines work.

“Being able to have hands-on experience with each patient exam helps us retain every detail we have learned previously,” Bailey says. “Seeing it done on an actual patient compared to using a fake body is completely different and really allows us to make that education-to-real world connection.”

While Bailey loves her classes, the opportunity to be in the hospital setting is her favorite part of the program.

“The amount of encouragement and motivation that you get from the radiology department is the best feeling,” Bailey says. “I have seen so many exams and traumas throughout clinical that I could talk about for days. Your love and passion increase every day while you are at clinical.”