Patient Safety Champion: Magnetic resonance imaging technologist Lynda Vidito says 'safety is at the centre of everything we do' at Valley Regional Hospital

Safety is top priority for MRI technologist Lynda Vidito's team at Valley Regional Hospital (Contributed).
Safety is top priority for MRI technologist Lynda Vidito's team at Valley Regional Hospital (Contributed).

Ensuring the safety of patients and staff inside the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) department is at the forefront of what MRI technologist Lynda Vidito’s team does at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville each and every day.

“We are working with a very strong magnet; that’s what most people are aware of,” Vidito said.

Many see MRI as a big magnet and imagine things getting pulled into the magnet,” Vidito explained. “But you don’t need to feel scared, as safety is at the centre of everything that we do.”

Although projectiles can pose a threat, Vidito and her team provide the safest environment possible through extreme caution and constant attention.

“There are many components of safety that come into play,” Vidito said. “From MRI department staff, to patients, to any accompanying staff that come in with a patient, their safety matters.” 

“We need to make sure it’s safe and educate them on magnetic resonance (MR) safety. It is an all-encompassing approach to safety.”
 
That includes having her team prescreen all patients and anyone entering the room. They conduct a one-on-one interview to ensure they do not miss any items that may pose a potential safety issue.

“Together we go over any previous surgeries, medical history, implants, tattoos; it’s quite an extensive list,” Vidito explained.

“Based on the information gathered, we may need to do more research. What people don’t know is that while something may seem safe to put in the magnet, it may cause dangers and problems when we do the scan.”

Apart from the screening process, patients are also required to change into scrubs.
 
“From workout pants to socks and underwear, there is new odor-free clothing with metallic fibers threaded into the fabrics,” Vidito said. “People arrive in T-shirts and Lululemon pants and don’t want to change, but we can potentially light a fire in their clothing if they wear these items when we scan,”

“As a safety precaution, we change everyone into scrubs to not only avoid patient burns, but to allow us to take proper images,” Vidito explained.

“We do our research, set our scanners properly and take the right precautions in order to scan everyone safely,” Vidito said.

“I’ve been doing MRI for over 28 years and ran into a lot of different things over the years.

“A lot of information is in my head. You can name a device and I will most likely know if it’s safe, but as they develop new devices, it can be an extensive process to find up to date information. We work as a team to make sure that if we learn something new that we are all sharing that information.”

Natasha Bent, MRI and X-ray technologist working out of NSHA’s Western Zone, nominated Vidito as a Patient Safety Champion.

“Lynda faces safety challenges on a weekly basis in the MRI department and is able to recognize safety issues and handle them in a timely and professional manner,” Bent said of her colleague.

“Being an MRI technologist means that safety is a top priority for all of our patients, and quite often requires research into medical devices and patient histories. Lynda always shares her knowledge and the research she has done,” Bent emphasized.

“She continues to keep our department up-to-date on new data and guidelines regarding MRI safety. She does a wonderful job keeping patient safety as a top priority in our department and because of this, we are all patient safety rock stars in MRI!”

This spring, the entire MRI department at Valley Regional Hospital, including Vidito and four MR technologists, attended an MR safety officer training course to receive certification as an MR Safety Officer (MRSO).

As technology develops, so too does MR safety. This will bring the entire department up to the highest standards of MR safety in the world.

“It’s not mandatory for you to have an MR safety officer on staff, but it’s moving in that direction,” Vidito explained. “The fact that all the staff here (have taken) the course is a strong statement of how serious we take MR safety. If you’re an MR tech, MR safety is your first and foremost concern.”

“Every day is different,” Vidito said.

“We scan every body part but every case, every patient is different. We take phenomenal images here. It’s rewarding, as we help a lot of patients, help diagnose a lot of issues and build relationships with clients we see on regular basis. We all know that what we do is of great benefit to our patient.”

Congratulations, Lynda, on being named one of NSHA’s Patient Safety Champions. Thank you for all that you continue to do to make our health care system safe for patients and staff alike!