KOKOMO, Ind. – Comfort provided by a radiologic technologist changed Adhir Patel’s life.
Distraught after a high school soccer injury, he clearly remembers the caring technologist who took his X-rays, and the impact she made on him.
“Soccer was very important to me,” he said. “I learned I would never be able to run or play soccer again. I was bawling my eyes out, and the tech made me feel a lot better about it. I decided I wanted to be that person for someone else.”
In May Patel completes an important step towards that goal, completing his Associate of Science in Radiography. He plans to return for another year to earn his Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging Technology, specializing in MRI.
Along the way his idea of how to care for others changed. Talking to medical professionals during his radiography clinical experiences showed him medical school was a possibility with his degrees
“After going into the program, I realized I wanted to go to medical school, to do more,” he said. “It’s different. It’s not the traditional route where you earn a bachelor’s degree in a science area and then go straight to medical school. I have met a lot of nurses and other health care workers who have transitioned to medical school. They’ve told me that medical school interviewers love to see health care workers applying for med school.”
Heidi Sebastian, assistant clinical professor of radiologic science and program director, commended Patel’s initiative, which she said he has demonstrated since his first day in the program.
“Several clinical sites have expressed how impressed they are by this,” she said. “He continues to ask challenging questions in the classroom, which showed the faculty he was continually thinking outside the box. Adhir always has a pleasant attitude, and he is willing to help whenever it is possible. I know he is going to be an amazing technologist, and will have a great future ahead of him regardless of where life takes him.”
Patel looks forward to beginning his medical career in MRI, as he takes prerequisite courses after graduation, and prepares for the medical school admissions test.
“Our program has an excellent placement rate,” he said, adding that he’s seen several clinical sites with open jobs. IU Kokomo alumni work in many of the area hospitals, and can assist in finding jobs.
“Every hospital I get in, every tech has a story about when they were in our program here at IU Kokomo,” he said. “The professors can confidently say they have student everywhere, so they can help.”
The personal touch available on campus was part of what attracted Patel to IU Kokomo. With 12 students accepted in each radiography class, he knew he would receive individual attention in class.
“The professors really make sure you are learning what you are supposed to, and keep you on track,” he said. “Because the classes are small, they know each of our personalities, and how we learn best.”
He also enjoyed the hands-on clinical experiences at IU Health Tipton Hospital, Dukes Memorial Hospital in Peru, and IU Arnett Hospital in Lafayette.
“As soon as I started clinicals, I thought it was just amazing,” he said. “I like being able to work next to professionals who have had a lot of experience in the medical field. It’s really rewarding to be told by someone who has done so much that you did a good job.”