By Erin Register
Susan “Sue” MacIntyre, MRI supervisor/MRSO at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has been in the imaging field for 34 years.
MacIntyre grew up in two small towns – Kittanning, Pennsylvania and Apollo, Pennsylvania. Up until her junior year of high school, she had plans to be a music major at IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). After a change of heart, she graduated from Kiski Area High School in June of 1984 and started X-ray school for her associate degree in science and radiology at Penn State University and Shadyside Hospital.
“After X-ray school, I got a job in Woodbridge, Virginia,” said MacIntyre. “I went there for about 8 months, then came back to an X-ray job in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. By the fall of 1989, I found an MRI job doing mobile all over western Pennsylvania. By July of 1991, I started working for UPMC in Pittsburgh for their new MRI center. I left UPMC briefly in 1996 for an MRI applications job working with MRI digital data and traveling to a variety of hospitals and outpatient centers. In 2001, I transferred from UPMC Presbyterian to UPMC Shadyside for both CT and MR. I always say that I ended up right back where I started, since I attended X-ray school here.”
In 2002, MacIntyre became the lead MRI tech at Shadyside and by 2008 she was a supervisor. In 2014, MacIntyre decided to return to school for her bachelor’s in medical imaging and then moved on to a master’s in healthcare administration, which she finished in February 2019. In September of 2016, MacIntyre became certified as an Magnetic Resonance Safety Officer (MRSO) from the American Board of MRI Safety (ABMRS). In November of 2019, she passed the Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA) exam from AHRA.
ICE learned more about this “Rising Star” in a recent interview.
Q: Why did you choose this field?
A: In my junior year of high school, I really started thinking about my career because, in music, I was afraid that I would spend years in school to do musical therapy, and may not be successful in the end, nor able to make enough money to live independently. I started looking at the health field; a lot of my friends were going to be nurses, but I didn’t want that. A friend whose older sister was an X-ray technologist started telling me all about that, so I became interested. The next thing I knew, I was signed up for X-ray school.
Q: What do you like the most about your position?
A: I enjoy working with the staff and being a contact person for issues in patient care, workflow, general operations, etc. I also enjoy being the MRSO and taking care of MR safety items. I love MRI and learn something new almost daily. The field advances every day, so, it’s never boring.
Q: What interests you the most about the imaging field?
A: I think the technology that currently exists and the technology coming in the future of imaging is quite exciting. I really enjoy all of the things we do for the patient experience. I think, overall, that imaging is a fascinating field where you can learn not only patient care, but about technology that helps in every aspect of medicine.
Q: What has been your greatest accomplishment in your field thus far?
A: For me, my greatest accomplishment has been my certification as an MRSO. I worked so hard over the years to gain as much knowledge and understanding in MRI as I could, and I was so very proud the day I passed that exam. I only spent a small amount of my career as a radiologic technologist. My focus changed quickly to MRI when it started to develop as an imaging modality. At that point, my goal was to work in MRI and work for Dr. Emanual Kanal at UPMC. I accomplished the goal of working at UPMC in 1991, so it just continued when I got my MRSO certification in 2016.
Q: What goals do you have for yourself in the next five years?
A: I have a few things I would like to do. I am a huge advocate for MR safety, so I’m trying to network and spread the word on the importance of safety in health care, such as speaking at ICE, writing articles for both the ASRT and AHRA, etc. I’m one of five moderators for the U.S. MR Safety group on Facebook, which has over 25,000 MR personnel from all over the world. We help each other learn and share work experiences. I also would love to advance in the imaging ladder and become an imaging director, so that I could grow in this field and expand my knowledge to all of radiology, which was really the goal I had in mind when I was obtaining my BA, MHA and CRA.