|Job Title:||Medical Technician - CAT lab|
|Place of work:||Texas Tech University Medical Center - Heart Station|
TQ team: What motivated you to pursue a cardiology-related area of work?
Mrs. Hartfield: Well, I'm a technical person in cardiology so I am not a physician. I've been interested in medicine since I was in high school. In fact when I was in high school I worked at the old West Texas Hospital as an EKG technician and that is how I got started.
TQ team: So what exactly is it that you do?
Mrs. Hartfield: I perform exams on patients, their hearts. I look at the muscle, the function of the muscle, the heart valves, and the blood flow through the heart.
TQ team: What was your major in college and where did you attend?
Mrs. Hartfield: My college major was Premed, I really only have an associated degree. I took Respiratory Therapy over at South Plains College, and then I went to Dallas for a specialty exam. I should say, now people can't get into Ultrasound the way I did because it's gotten very, very technical. I've been doing this for about 20 years when I started there was a limited amount of data that you had to know, and so you could go away for a month and learn all of it. But now it has become so technical and involved that it is a two year program.
TQ team: What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Mrs. Hartfield: I like my patients. I also do management of this department, so I oversee the personnel who do treadmill stress testing and EKGs, but I really like patient care the best.
TQ team: Take us through a day in your life, I mean as far as work is concerned.
Mrs. Hartfield: We see both adult and pediatric patients here. So we evaluate congenital heart disease as well as coronary artery disease, and other cardiac diseases: congestive heart failure, valvular disease, those sorts of things. We start our day by coming in and getting our work load. We have out-patients that are scheduled as well as in-patients that just come in when they might. Usually we start in the units, go and perform our studies, then we come back and prepare the study for the physician to read.
TQ team: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to pursue the same career?
Mrs. Hartfield: Well, I think that at this point in time (and we are not sure what will happen later) it is a very lucrative career. Most people are making from $35,000 to $50,000 a year, depending on where they work. That's for the sonographer, which is the most technical kind of the job. I would tell to go to College, major in Biology, and try to find an Ultrasound school. The problem with the Ultrasound schools is that they are just not readily available. In Texas there are only 2 right now.
TQ team: So Ultrasound differs greatly from Med School?
Mrs. Hartfield: Yes, it's different from medical school. It's a more technical field. I would be glad to show you a study so you could see exactly what we look at.
TQ team: That would be great!
Mrs. Hartfield: And then you will understand a little bit more than just me talking about it.
TQ team: Before we go, one more question: what is your favorite movie?
Mrs. Hartfield: What's my favorite movie?
TQ team: Yea, it's the last question.
I would have to say, Breakfast at Tiffany's.