Specialties Emerge among MR Technologists

July 19, 2011

Magnetic resonance (MR) technologists have developed three de-facto specialties over time, which could herald new training programs to meet the community’s needs.

Magnetic resonance (MR) technologists have developed three de-facto specialties over time, which could herald new training programs to meet the community’s needs.

Advancements in the medical sciences, imaging technology, and magnetic resonance clinical applications have driven the emerging specialties, said Michael L. Grey, PhD, a radiation technologist and associate professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and author of the study published in the July/August 2011 issue of Radiologic Technology, a journal of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

Grey examined the results of an MR practice analysis questionnaire distributed to a random sample of registered MR technologists by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Participants were asked to describe the type and frequency of procedures they performed.

He analyzed 78 MR tasks outlined in the survey results and found four imaging task groups that were consistently used in MR practice. Out of the four areas, three MR specialty areas emerged: vascular/cardiovascular imaging, central nervous system imaging and musculoskeletal imaging.

“When I was doing the study, I noticed that there were commonalities in each factor,” said Grey. “As I dug deeper, I discovered that MR specialty areas have developed over time.”

As new MR applications are developed, education and training programs will be needed to meet the demands of the imaging community, he added.

The results point to the need for the American Registry of Radiation Technologists (ARRT) to consider developing advanced specialty certification examinations to provide opportunities to the technologists operating MR units in the new specialty areas, he said.

But training is the first priority, Grey said, adding that “formal education and training protocols should be in place before technologists take the MR Registry exam so they are prepared to effectively practice in the area.”