October 4, 2005
A Q&A session with Barbara Kavalvs, an X-Ray Technician, who works at Scripps Hospital in Encinitas, CA. Barbara provides great insight into the career of an X-Ray Technician.

Q: Describe your average daily routine. What types of tasks are you expected to complete as part of your job?

A: To take x-rays of people that come into the ER. If they break a bone, we are there to x-ray. If there is a trauma (car accident, etc.) we are there immediately to take x-rays before the patient can be moved. We also take x-rays in the operating room (OR) while surgery is being performed. Mostly for orthopedics, when screws or plates need to be inserted to hold bones together. We also x-ray internal organs by injecting contrast materials that is radiopaque. This includes stomachs, intestines, colon, kidneys, uterus, fallopian tubes, etc. We use a method called fluoroscopy, which is a live x-ray, like a movie.

Q: What do you like the most about being an X-Ray Technician?

A: I enjoy helping people. I also enjoy how interesting the human body is.

Q: What do you dislike, if anything, about being an X-Ray Technician?

A: You are exhausted at the end of your shift. At times it is very stressful, especially if you work at a trauma center. The pace is extremely fast at hospitals.

Q: What is your work environment like?

A: My work environment is very busy and very stressful. You just learn how to work under these conditions. I work with great people and that makes all the difference.

Q: What is your work schedule like?

A: I work 8 hour shifts, but at places you can work 12 or 16 hour shifts. Grave yard shift if tough to stay awake, but some people love it. You can also take “call” overnight which means if they get busy they will call you to come in.

Q: Where did you get the training necessary for your job?

A: I took a 2 year college program and earned an AS degree in radiology. You must also complete so many clinical hours. You then must take a registry exam earning you an “RT” degree. This will allow you to be licensed in the state. The program is difficult and involves a lot of math, physics and anatomy. It is a very interesting field, but right now there is a waiting list at some colleges.

Q: Would you recommend your job as an X-Ray Technician to another person?

A: I love my job and yes, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make a difference. My daughter just joined the program as well.

Q: What is the next step in your career?

A: I will be staying as an x-ray technician for the foreseeable time being.

View a list of schools in California offering x-ray programs.