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November 5, 2008 > Career Ladder Program Graduate Calls It a Win-Win

Career Ladder Program Graduate Calls It a Win-Win

Career in Medical Imaging Provides Challenges, Room for Growth

Adriane Calles calls it "pure luck" that brought her to Washington Hospital but says it got her foot in the door after the dot-com company she had been working for shut down. She was placed at the hospital through a temp agency and was hired full-time in January 2002.

Adriane remembers wanting to become a nurse just out of high school but changed her mind after working briefly in a nursing home as a certified nursing assistant. Still interested in the health care field, Adriane found the health care career she was looking for when she started working in Washington Hospital's Medical Imaging Department.

An integral component of the hospital's facilities, the Medical Imaging Department performs medical imaging procedures, such as X-rays, CT scans, (computed tomography) nuclear medicine scans, and ultrasound scans.

The Medical Imaging Department, Adriane says, gave her a whole new perspective on the wide variety of careers in the health care field.

"Before coming to the Medical Imaging Department, I didn't really know that a career in radiology existed," she says. "Working in the file library, I realized I could become a radiologic technologist. From there you can become certified to work in computed tomography (CT) or ultrasound. Medical Imaging is the gateway to branch off into different modalities; it's not a dead end. You can study, further your education and obtain a license in a different modality."

She adds, "Being in the program, I discovered there are so many different exams and different types of patients in medical imaging, you're not doing the same thing over and over every day."

Adriane says the opportunity to interact with so many different people and perform different exams would prove to be challenging, which ignited her interest in this career.

She celebrated her graduation from the Radiologic Technologist (RT) Program with academic honors in August and took her certification exam just days later and passed.

Washington Hospital's Career Ladder Program was instrumental in her ability to complete such a rigorous academic program while maintaining a full-time job and raising two young children, she says.

"I couldn't have done this without Washington Hospital's Career Ladder Program," she explains. "Everything just fell into place for me. I was hired full time and then a couple months later the hospital created a career ladder programs in nursing and radiology. That's what pushed me into going back to school."

She applied three times and was placed on the waiting list before her application was accepted. Having little college background she started from scratch and completed all the required courses to gain acceptance into the program. Competing against candidates who already had bachelor's degrees, it has been well worth the effort, she says.

"It was hard but I had to do what I had to do. I wanted it not just for myself but for my children's future," Adriane says.

When she receives her certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists(r) (AART), she will then apply to the state of California for her Certified Radiologic Technologist (CRT) license before beginning her new career as a Radiologic Technologist.

As part of the Career Ladder Program, Adriane will have a job waiting for her in Washington Hospital's Medical Imaging Department.

Having worked in the department, Adriane already knows the radiologic technologists she will be working with and she says their personalities were part of what attracted her to the profession.

"They're great people to work with. You have to be very outgoing and have people skills to work in this type of career," she says. Plus, she already knows her future manager, Raju Thiara, the department's technical manager.

Until she receives her state license, Adriane will continue working for her current supervisor, the department's clerical manager, Cheryl Capece.

"Cheryl's a great manager," Adriane says. "She was always the one who pushed me to keep going. If certain classes conflicted with my work schedule, she was able to accommodate me. And after my mom passed away, everyone was unbelievable. Cheryl became like a second mom. She was even there for my graduation. Cheryl, her husband and the hospital's Director of Medical Imaging Don Wood went out of their way to come to Oakland for the ceremony. It's heartwarming to know the that entire department is behind me."

With such a high level of support from the hospital, there really is no downside to the program, Adriane says.

"There is pressure in the beginning because you can't let the hospital, your coworkers and family down," according to Adriane. "But it's a win-win situation. If it wasn't for this opportunity, I would have never been able to go back to school. This was a true blessing."

A huge baseball fan, in her spare time, Adriane plays softball and takes her sons, Christian, 7, and Patrick, 12, to Oakland A's games. For her next challenge, she plans to go back to school to pursue a career in ultrasound.

Washington Hospital offers several programs to help its employees expand their career horizons. To learn more about the hospital's services and programs, visit www.whhs.com and click on "Services & Programs." To see open positions at Washington Hospital, click on "Careers" from the home page.

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