June 23, 2022
A new MRI Program was launched in Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences to address a shortage of MRI technologists. The program at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, pairs classroom instruction with 96 hours of laboratory work and 900 hours of clinical work in inpatient and outpatient settings.
Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences started the one-year Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Program in 2021 to help address a shortage of MRI technologists that goes well beyond Mayo Clinic. The program recently graduated its first class of eight students.
Nicole Fischer, a program manager for Radiology Education and Staff Development, was part of the team that proposed the creation of the program after the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists created accreditation criteria for MRI programs. That paved the way for Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences' MRI training program.
The new program pairs classroom instruction with 96 hours of laboratory work and 900 hours of clinical work in inpatient and outpatient settings. Students get hands-on experience during MRI scanning sessions in the Opus Building, which primarily is a research hub for the Department of Radiology. For clinical work, students go to the Charlton North, Charlton, and Gonda buildings, where they work in inpatient and outpatient areas.
Students also collaborate with radiologists and physicists.
"Our students are able to learn about physics from the physicists who are working in MRI along with technologists, and by performing MRI research," Burnes says. "It is a unique experience to be able to learn about scanning a patient with an implanted device and then go out to the clinic and sit down next to the physicist who was giving the lecture for hands-on experience."
First group of graduates
The program's first class included: Tham Duong, Nourhan Halawa, Amela Hamzagic, Daisy Lin, Quyen T. Nguyen, Mia Otzen Rossi, Ashlie Perzynski, and Angela Tichy.
The program offers a streamlined process into the MRI profession by earning an associate degree or higher and completing an approved educational program. The graduates will have to pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists' MRI certification exam to begin working in the field.
"At the end of the program, graduates are entry-level technologists who are ready to sit for boards," says Jennifer Myers, MRI clinical coordinator.
While the program focuses solely on training students to be MRI technologists, there is room for growth within the field for its graduates, Burnes says.
"Technologists can do research, work with high-field-strength MRI, PET (positron emission tomography)/MRI, neonatal scanning, education, and more," she says.
"It's exciting to see the program bear fruit," Fischer says. "We're glad the students took a chance on this new program and look forward to welcoming a new group for the second year."