MRI Techs Are So Much More Than ‘Button Pushers’

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Neil Huber, MRI technologist, founder and CEO of Pulse Radiology Education
Neil Huber is the founder and CEO of Pulse Radiology Education.

Neil Huber spent nine years on the front lines of the MRI technology field. During that time, he was eager to learn new skills, but he had to scramble to make that happen — reading books in his spare time and catching training classes as he could. He decided he wanted to solve that problem, making the process easier for others so they could more easily advance from the role of radiologic technologist. He started Pulse Radiology Education with that goal in mind, and the company has educated hundreds of technologists since.

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My name is Neil Huber. I am 34 years old and am currently the founder and CEO of Pulse Radiology Education. I hold a BS in Radiologic Sciences from St. Francis College/St. John’s University and earned my MBA in Strategic Healthcare Management at Hofstra University.

Pulse Radiology is the largest online provider for ARRT Structured Education in MRI, CT and Mammography. We have been in operation since 2016 and have educated more than 600 radiologic technologists, sonographers, nuclear medicine technologists and radiation therapists in the United States and offer free MRI courses to professionals in India and other countries abroad.

Prior to founding Pulse Radiology, I worked at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, New York, which is the #1 ranked U.S. hospital for orthopedics for 11 years to date. I have also spent time at RadNet as assistant director of clinical operations where I directly supervised 800+ technologists across seven modalities in the New York region.

Why did you get into this line of work? And did you always want to do this?

I was exposed to radiology as a child, as I spent time in the hospital for a chronic kidney issue.  Being exposed at an early age made me feel comfortable in a hospital setting and helped me develop a sense of empathy for patients in similar situations.

(An MRI technologist found his career footing in medical imaging and has never been happier.)

What does a typical day of an MRI technologist look like?

As an MRI technologist, a typical day would be arriving to work and reviewing your daily work schedule, since MRIs are normally scheduled. (This is compared to general radiography, which normally involves walk-in patients.) I would then start with my first patient by screening, positioning and communicating with the patient as I progress through their examination. Once complete, I would ensure all paperwork is properly scanned into the patient's chart. At that point, I would end the case, which transfers the exam from an in-progress exam to a finished exam.  At this point would be distributed to a radiologist for a diagnostic reading.

What do you like most about your job? And least?

What I like most about being an MRI technologist is the ability to help patients and be an arm of support as they move through their diagnostic journey. In addition to this, there is a demand for MRI technologists, so job security is a great added perk.

What’s the most common misconception about your job?

I would say a common misconception is that MRI techs are “button pushers.” There is so much effort that goes into one MRI exam such as making a patient comfortable, handling claustrophobic patients, moving patients and still being able to provide an image with no motion or poor quality. In addition, being able to recognize pathology and/or diseases are very important so having a keen eye is very important.

What do you wish you knew about the job before you got into it?

Due to the increased amount of requested MRI exams, your day can be quite busy as you need to balance patient waiting times with complexities and the level of attention needed for each examination.

How did you train to be an MRI technologist?

I trained to become an MRI technologist after completing X-ray school. I learned on the job by volunteering after my work shift. I also prepared by studying various books and resources to prepare myself for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) MRI Certification exam. Now, there are Structured Education programs, such as Pulse Radiology, that provide online education and clinical training.

What personality traits or qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?

A personal trait to becoming an MRI tech would be to have a sense of empathy and to be able to focus on the task at hand.

Is there a time where you felt your job made a real impact on someone’s life?

There have been many times where I felt I made an impact on someone’s life, but one specific example was when I was scanning a routine lumbar spine case and noticed a mass that needed immediate attention. The patient was able to get fast results on an area that was not supposed to be viewed and the diagnosis was confirmed. If that patient had waited, it may have spread and caused unimaginable results.

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