Why I Scan - Lauren Bureau

Name: Lauren Bureau

Hospital: Foothills Medical Centre

Province: Alberta

Title: MRI Supervisor


In your own words, what do you do: A day in my life is extremely varied. I oversee the day to day operations of multiple busy MRI magnets at a large level 1 trauma hospital, where the demand requires us to stretch an hour out of every available minute. This could mean working on the floor providing direct patient care, scanning neuro, oncology, abdomens, trauma, MSK, vasculars, etc. Working alongside my coworkers on the floor often includes precepting MRI students, researching implants for MRI compatibility, coordinating inpatients and balancing outpatient exams. Our patient demographic requires us to be extremely proactive, with the ability to think outside of the box to provide our patients with the best exam possible, when they need us the most.

The other side of my position requires me to balance our staff scheduling needs between 30 MRI technologists, across five MRI magnets. This involves vacations, training, and education days and adjusting our staffing volumes to our scan volumes. It also requires the upkeep of all supplies needed daily, equipment maintenance and services, protocol management and a large collaborative effort between management, vendors, DI modalities, nursing units, radiologists and physicians.

How did you end up in your current role? I started off as a casual technologist at a few sites in the Calgary zone, where I eventually moved into a permanent part time position, while continuing to pick up additional shifts at other sites. The opportunity to take on the supervisor role on a temporary basis was presented to me, and after learning the roles and expectations. I was able to move into the role on a permanent basis.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career and why: I’m extremely lucky in the sense that the majority of my days are good! I’m surrounded by a strong, intelligent and courageous team, whom I enjoy working with. Foothills provides me with the opportunity to take part in a fast pace, dynamic environment with the ability to perform exams, procedures and protocols that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do elsewhere. It keeps me on my toes, teaches me new things daily, and challenges me to think outside of the box. Our patient interactions day to day leave a lasting impression, and I feel as if I’ve made a difference in their care. It’s easy to have good days when you love your career and those you’re surrounded by.

What do you do to stay motivated? I think a healthy work life balance is important to maintain motivation. When I’m not at work I enjoy doing different things with friends and family that keep me active and healthy, which makes me feel energized and ready to take on anything at work.

Tell us about the toughest day of your career: The toughest day I had started out as any other. It was a busy but manageable shift on the floor, and we had a pending inpatient on our list who we had received a request to scan urgently. This patient was immediately brought down to us and we started to ask him our routine screening questions, where we learned all about his family, business ventures and how “fortunate” he felt to be here. He told us that his kids were currently en route to visit him. After completing his MRI, he squeezed our emergency call bell indicating he felt short of breath. We immediately rushed to his side, and in the ten seconds it took us to remove the camera and undock the MRI table, we knew his status was drastically declining. We yelled as loud as we could across the department to call for help, and we all came together as a team to start performing CPR and activating a code blue response. The code team arrived and we worked on him for what felt like an eternity, everyone with one common goal in mind…but it wasn’t enough. We lost the patient that day. I can still picture the text messages he showed us from his kids saying how much they loved him, and that they’d be there soon. I can still hear their screams when they arrived, and were met by the physician telling them they’d just lost their father. I’ll never forget that day.

What do you do every day to improve patient care? I’ve recently spent a bit of time with my father on the other side of the healthcare system and it truly opens your eyes. My dad had esophageal cancer that ultimately metastasized to other areas of his body. I spent a year jumping from specialist appointments, to radiation, to chemo, to multiple CT, NM and MR scans with him. Those health care employees that took the time out of their day to listen to us. will forever have a lasting memory in my mind.

I always try to put my best foot forward, and put patient and family centered care at the forefront. Treat every patient as if this is your family member, take the time to listen and communicate with them, and establish a rapport. A small gesture can go a long way when other areas of their lives aren’t as planned.

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