Amy Kuhns

Radiating Confidence

For Amy Kuhns, every day at work is sort of like a college alumni association meeting. Amy is the MRI supervisor at Midwest Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) in Sycamore and a graduate of Kishwaukee College’s Radiologic Technologist Program, Class of 2001. Her staff are also graduates of Kish, from 1983 all the way through 2014.  “When you add in X-Ray to MRI, 9 out of the 13 technicians on staff at MOI – including the two leads, Michelle Bryant and I – are Kish alumni,” she said.

The Radiologic Tech Program has long enjoyed a solid reputation for producing strong professional technologists who go on to work in all types of imaging. At MOI, alumni are found at the main location in Sycamore, but also at satellite locations at Valley West Hospital (in Sandwich) and Rochelle Community Hospital.

“I think the program did a great job of preparing us for all the job duties: positioning, anatomy, techniques used on every day radiation exposure,” Amy explained. “It really helped seeing the day-to-day work flow by working at the Clinical Sites. You could really see what an average day work flow would be like for for you as a radiologic professional.”

On a busy day, the MRI department at the MOI main location can complete up to 12 MRI’s. Each procedure takes around 45 minutes. Mattie Hiatt, MRI Tech, Class of 2006, has been working at MOI since 2015. She had worked at Dreyer Medical Clinic after graduation and joined the staff at MOI to be closer to home. One of the skills she noted that techs build on on the job after graduating is patient communication. “The MRI is loud and people are alone during the procedure,” she said. “Talking about what to expect during the exam with the patients beforehand helps them calm down. With kids, sometimes you let a parent sit near them.”

In X-Ray, because the procedure takes a shorter amount of time, the average day can mean doing 150 exams.  Lead X-Ray Tech Michelle Bryant, Class of 1999, explained, “An ‘exam’ is actually a single procedure and doesn’t refer to patients. One patient can include several exams – one exam on the knee and one exam on the hip and one exam on the shoulder, for example. When we say 150 exams, it is not referring to number of patients, but we still see a lot of patients during the day.”

X-Ray Tech Lauren Urda, Class of 2014, said, “The most exams we have done in one day is around 300, I think. We use CR, Computer Radiology, and are changing to DR, Digital Radiology and that will be even faster.” 

Amy and Michelle remember using film for X-Rays, a much slower process. They have seen many changes in technology in the profession during their careers. Amy said, “The program at Kish gives you a really solid foundation. Once you are in the workplace, the technology can change but you just build on the foundation you have and learn the new technology.”

The Kish alumni at MOI, radiating confidence.