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Breast Care--Nightmare on Mammo Street--The Story Continues

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"Jesus Christ! I am so tired and sick of these patients complaining, complaining, complaining," my coworker exclaimed between clenched teeth. I could only imagine her frustration. While most patients are apprehensive about coming for mammograms because of the compression, most technologists are frustrated about some other factors such as:

1. workload
2. paperwork
3. dealing with radiologists
4. technical difficulties with machines
5. dealing with different patients

6. administrative bureaucracy
7. dealing with co-workers
8. personal and health problems
9. pay raise issues

Please allow me to explain each one of these a bit more:

1. When I first started to work as a mammographer 15 years ago, the facility I worked for had patients scheduled every half hour for regular screening exams. We had one hour time slots for patients with implants or special diagnostic problems. Now, the average number of patients per technologist is anywhere from 20 to 28. The time crunch for keeping up with patients puts immense pressure on the staff technologists.

2. Introduction of computers at work places was supposed to reduce and improve the time management and quality of work. But along with the computers came the need for the mammographers to learn different software for patient assessments, medical records, and procedures. The amount of paperwork did not decrease either, hence, double the workload for technologists.

3. Mammographers not only have to deal with patients, paperwork, and administrative duties but most of the time with radiologists also. Technologists are expected to learn and follow through with different protocols for each doctor. Besides the protocols, technologists also have to deal with the mood swings of the radiologists on a daily basis.

4. Mammography machines are extremely sensitive and need to be calibrated daily. Quality assurance and quality control procedures are required to be carried out every day. Technologists often play superwomen or supermen when the machines break down in order to keep up with the schedules and keep patients happy.

5. Each patient is different.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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