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Interview with Deborah Murley, President of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists

Deborah Murley, R.T. (R) is the President of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. She works as a general duty radiological technologist and has spent over thirty years enjoying her profession. She is passionate about advocating for her profession and is loyal to promoting the benefits of growth found by volunteering within the profession of medical radiation technology. In her words, “It is an awesome career.”

What event or series of events led you to pursue the field of radiology as your professional choice? Please elaborate.

deborah-murleyI choose my career quite by accident (literally). At age 15 I fractured my clavicle and during the recheck exam I was intrigued by the science of radiography. The technologist doing my imaging kindly answered all my questions and set up an interview for me with the head of the School of Radiography. Throughout my high school years I had summer jobs doing clerical and dark room work in a local x-ray department, giving me a well-rounded view of my chosen career.

Name 1 or 2 guidelines you would offer the radiology professional just entering the field?

We work in an environment of rapidly evolving technologies that demand that we are highly competent and up to date in our practice. My advice to you is to take advantage of all the available educational opportunities you can, whether it is at your site or through your professional association. The students at my site have even started to take advantage of the online courses from our national association towards a Specialty Certificate in Breast Imaging–Screening, Certificate in Breast Imaging–Diagnostic, or CT Imaging Certificate. There is also a Dosimetry Certificate, and a Certificate in Interventional Radiology. Taking even short courses above your entry level education will make you a desirable employee.

Get involved at the local and/or national level of your professional association as soon as you can. Be a volunteer; opportunities will arise that allow you to be a part of directed change. The networking and learning from others in the committee or work-group will help you to grow in your profession. Attending a professional conference as a student, even as a volunteer, is a memorable introduction to your profession and its leaders that cannot be replicated elsewhere. You will grow as a professional and the personal benefits will surprise you.

How would you advise an individual entering the radiology professions to proceed? What are the challenges, or obstacles that may be faced?

Each graduate will have a different experience. The common denominator is the anxiety of having a job at the end. This is the time, if you are able, to move to a new geographic area or site. The experience you will get and give to your new environment will establish you as the technologist of choice for current and future employers.

Take advantage of what is available to you. The Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT) recognizes that our vendors cannot educate us to the extent needed to provide a full service to our patients with all the new equipment we operate in our facilities. The CAMRT have continuing professional development guidelines to help us identify where our gaps are and then how to plan to address them.  Another tool we have is our Best Practice Guidelines. They have a number of guidelines related to practice that is common across all of our disciplines and additional guidelines  that are discipline-specific. These guidelines address entry to practice questions all the way to the complex issues that test even the most experienced technologist or therapist in their practice. The end result is your ability to provide enhanced patient care.  I am sure your association will have many of the same tools.

Can you give us an example of an interesting case or project that you have worked on and your role in helping to achieve a positive outcome?

As a young President from my province, I was invited to be one of the founding directors of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists Foundation. We laid the groundwork of incorporation, policies, and by-laws. I have been able to watch the Foundation grow from its infancy of supporting practicing technologists/therapists to continue their education to its current role of supporting students, as well as practicing members to fulfill their dream. The Foundation’s support has helped to advance many committed volunteers and leaders on the foremost edge of our profession at that time and even now.

As an experienced professional in the radiology profession what role do you feel advanced technology is playing and what other advances do you foresee?

What an exciting time to be working in diagnostic imaging. Previously, advances to our technology were slow and steady but now with computerization our profession is advancing in leaps and bounds. What is advanced practice today will be an enhanced practice tomorrow so it is so important to stay current.

Continuing competence through professional development is important in the dynamic environment of medical radiation technology. It will enhance your professional image, increase your credibility, and improve patient outcomes. This is a time for collaborative care with other health care providers where you can be an integral part in change by sharing your skills, knowledge and judgment.

What is the key strength you bring to your career and how would you advise radiology professionals to mine their own strengths to further their careers?

I love my job! It is my passion to provide the best care to my patients and solve the puzzle of providing excellent diagnostic images. It is an art and science. I’ve held many provincial and national executive positions plus committee memberships over the last thirty years. It has been rewarding to me personally and very satisfying to see the resulting growth of our profession. It helps to work at a clinical site. The current teaching methods keeps you fresh and motivated. Needless to say, I am hooked on promoting the life and growth of our profession.

We appreciate Deborah Murley’s time in sharing her experiences, insights, and advice. You can learn more about Deborah at the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists website.