Interview with Mary Messengill, Past Secretary of the Illinois State Society of Radiologic Technologists

    The mission of the Illinois State Society of Radiology (ISSRT) includes the promotion of quality patient care. Mary Massengill is a past secretary of the ISSRT and in doing so fulfilled one of her most important guidelines that she includes in the following interview. “Pay close attention to your patient; they do not always communicate all their needs.”

    We are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the topics related to the radiology profession with Mary, and to learn about the many ways in which professionals today are finding innovative methods of modernization through advanced technology.

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

    My husband is from a medical family. His father was a speech pathologist and clinical director of a hospital. My brother in law is an oncologist and his wife is a pharmacist. I initially went to school to become a radiation therapist but enjoyed radiography. Technology in general interests me and when it is married with the ability to take care of patients, I knew it was right for me.

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

    The professional must pay close attention to their patient; they do not always communicate all their needs.
    Collimation as related to radiology not only provides higher quality images; it also lessens the amount of radiation accrued over the patient’s lifetime. This is an important fact to keep in mind when practicing.

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

    With all the implementations with the healthcare system, hospitals are trying to do more with less staff. Regarding that, I would encourage an individual to stay in shape to avoid injury from being overworked.

    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?

    With the implementation of electronic medical records, I have witnessed the changing over to a new HIS. I was trained to use the new system, as well as, troubleshoot any problems. My interest in technology has helped in the troubleshooting phase. I have been able to share my knowledge with other departments.

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

    Every year, it seems that new technology provides way to minimize exposure. After talking to one of the foremost textbook authors for radiography, I have learned radiographic tomography using extrapolation will replace some CT exams and provide for minimal radiation exposures to patients. This is very exciting in protecting patients from unnecessary radiation.

    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.

    Curiosity is a strength that helps me stay abreast of current technology and techniques. Also, I have a strong work ethic. It seems the younger generation produces weaker and weaker work ethic.

    We want to thank Mary Messengill for sharing her story and advice for new radiologic technologists.