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Radiologic Sciences and Imaging department begins utilizing new MRI simulator


By Jessica J.W. Beans
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Taryn Talbott uses the new MRI simulator with students during class   Photo: Jessica J.W. Beans



Kettering College advanced imaging associate professor began implementing a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) simulator this semester in the MRI Theory and MRI Aspect courses. This sophisticated and innovative computer software program allows students to set up and run sample MRI exams—in the classroom, at home, or anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection.
Kettering College is one of only two institutions in Ohio to use this innovative software, and Taryn Talbott, associate professor of advanced imaging at Kettering College, says it is helping students grasp the science behind the technology. “MRI involves complex physics, and it is very different from other kinds of imaging technologies that our students learn about, such as X-ray and computed tomography,” says Talbott, who also is clinical coordinator of the Advanced Imaging Program at Kettering College. “This simulator familiarizes students with the technology and allows them to experiment and practice in a relaxed setting. It makes a real difference when they participate in their clinical rotations at local hospitals.”
Tipp City native Hannah Kirkpatrick says that working with the MRI simulator is a great learning opportunity. “Getting hands-on practice in the classroom is beneficial, because you can learn and ask questions in a non-intimidating environment,” says Kirkpatrick, who is pursuing her bachelor’s completion in advanced imaging. “You’re not in the hospital setting, where techs are waiting on you or there’s a sick patient on the table. You can learn at your own pace.”


New MRI simulator builds confidence and clinical skills for students at Kettering College.  Photo: Jessica J.W. Beans


Scott Larsson, who moved to the area from Maryland to earn advanced imaging certificates at Kettering College, agrees. “The simulator gives you a good grasp of how the technology works, so when you get into clinicals you can focus on other things too, like how to interact with patients and position them properly on the table,” he says.
Students log on using their laptops and access the same screen, then perform the sample MRI exam with Talbott’s guidance. They review the patient’s demographic information and diagnosis, enter test parameters, select image views, and so on. While the exam is running, the system generates an MRI unit’s distinctive knocking sounds. In fact, the only difference between what the students are doing and what they would do during a real MRI is that no actual patients are involved.
Next fall, Talbott will integrate the simulator with her online MRI Theory and MRI Aspect courses so that distance learners can benefit from it as well.
MRI is one of many stand-alone certificate programs at Kettering College, and also is offered as part of the school’s bachelor’s degree completion in advanced imaging. After completing the course, students must pass a registry exam to achieve certification. Kettering College students typically perform very well on the exam; last year, they achieved a pass rate of 100%.

About Kettering College Kettering College is a fully accredited, coeducational college that specializes in health science education.  A division of Kettering Medical Center, the College is located on the KMC campus in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, and is chartered by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Kettering College offers a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, a Master of Physician Assistant, Bachelor and Associate of Science degrees, and certificate programs.


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