It’s been two years since we last caught up with Rob who recently completed the MRI training programme here at Cobalt. The programme offers a complete and structured education and development package in all the key areas of MRI; safety, physics and basic and advanced imaging techniques. Participants will engage in lifelong learning with regular CPD opportunities, including post graduate study. They also get to work with the latest technology. Here’s what Rob had to say.
Since joining the training programme it’s been a whirlwind! I have worked all over the country, different locations, hospitals, private, NHS and got a wealth of experience in scanning in different ways, different protocols and working at different hospital sites. It’s been an amazing opportunity and experience. I’ve been on the MRI in Practice course which is a really useful thing to go on in terms of physics and getting a good understanding of MRI. I’ve also been on a couple of study days. I’ve just recently come from a MRI users group meeting which was good to go to and I got to meet different people and see different talks and lectures onMRI imaging and new imaging trends emerging.
A lot of my work is mobile scanning, so it’s going out to a scanner housed in the back of a big trailer working as part of a two man team. We tend to do 12 hour shifts. We have a number of scanners which are mobile and also have static sites. We have a partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where they’ve got a static site called the ITM Imaging Centre. Although I’ve been coming back to head office quite often to gain more experience, to do paperwork, and get the support from the trainers, a lot of the time is generally spent out on the road. I’ve been to Plymouth, Manchester and London.
I would recommend the training programme. It is challenging and it’s been a phenomenal two years. From when you start you’re looking at a year and half to two years until you’re really on your feet scanning and confident. You get a lot of support and a lot of experience. Because it’s a mobile job you do get the added benefit of going around the country and working at different sites and the experience of working in different hospitals and scanning in different ways. This provides a variety of experiences in a short amount of time.
MRI is very good for soft tissue characterisation. We get really fantastic image quality and lots of detail and lots of diagnostic detail in the images. Generally we do a lot of neuro work so looking at the brain and spinal chord, the central nervous system. We also do musculoskeletal work. We can image any area of the body, whether it’s your knee, your hip or your head. We can look at your bowel or your pancreas, even all the bile ducts in your liver. We can go into every area of the body and have a good look. What you generally find is that some hospital sites will have you on a contract to do specific imaging such as musculoskeletal so knees, hips and spines or prostate imaging. By spending time at different sites, I have also been doing more advanced scans with contrasts. This involves injecting contrast to get really fine good quality images, the gold standard in imaging.
Sometimes MRI is used for breast patients. MRI gives us a vast amount of information. It’s very sensitive in looking at lesions in the breast. We do 3 dimensional imaging and use contrast dye which picks up even very small lesions. You could be looking at over a 1000, 2000 images for a standard breast scan. Patients often have contrast which gives the consultant radiologist who reports the accuracy for diagnosis. It’s good for patients if they do have a suspected lesion as there’s no dose of radiation but we do get a lot of diagnostic information and data improving diagnosis and treatment pathways.
For more information on the MRI training programme at Cobalt, click here.