HCC Coleman College helps HCA Houston Healthcare expand CT workforce

Partnership advances techs into in-demand, specialized roles

HOUSTON – As one partnership is proving, sometimes the best way to fill specialized job vacancies is to stop hunting and start growing.

With the help of HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences, HCA Houston Healthcare is solving a shortage of computed tomography technologists by up skilling some of its general radiologic technologists. This local initiative has taken root and already reached other cities.

Such technologists are highly trained radiographers who work with computerized, rotating X-ray equipment to take cross-sectional images of the human anatomy.

Growing need

There is an increasing need for these imaging specialists, particularly in hospitals. This is because the use of CT scans has increased significantly over the past two decades, according to Christopher Daza, program director of radiography at HCC Coleman.

“The scans are a good diagnostic tool for physicians, so there’s a high demand for CT techs to take and deliver these scans,” Daza said. “When HCA asked us to develop a fast-track CT program for some of their radiologic techs, we were glad to help.”

The partnership between HCC and HCA Houston began a year ago after a chance meeting between Phillip Nicotera, M.D., president of Coleman, and Douglas Goodman, regional human resources vice president of HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division.

“We were at an event, and we began to talk about the challenge to fill CT positions,” Dr. Nicotera said. “Mr. Goodman and I both believed we could resolve it by working together. HCA would invest the time and resources into some of our X-ray technologists, and our college would provide the instruction to transition them into certified CT technologists.”

Hybrid course

The college soon developed the 10-week hybrid course, and it launched in June of last year with a 13-member cohort from HCA Houston.

Though it was intended to help fill a local need for CT professionals, the course has already graduated cohorts in the HCA Missouri and Kansas markets. There are also plans to extend it to the HCA San Antonio market, according to Nicotera.

Goodman lauded the collaboration. “Dr. Nicotera and his visionary team understand the significant need for efficient, adaptable and high standard programs to address the evolving demands of our growing communities,” he added. “Our partnership has flourished.”

The strategy to grow rather than continuing to hunt for CT techs benefits the employer and employee, according to Diana Howell, vice president of human resources at HCA Houston Healthcare.

“Up skilling helps our hospitals fill the CT vacancies and essentially promote from within,” Howell said. “As an organization, we want to see our employees advance with us. We believe it will lead to greater retention and better patient care.”

Life changing impact

The impact on employees can also be life changing.

“CT technologists earn considerably more than general X-ray technologists,” Howell said. “Some radiographers want to continue their education but they can’t because they need to work. Now they have the opportunity to earn their CT certification and increase their income. It’s really been a game-changer.”

Learn more about HCC Coleman College at: https:// www.hccs.edu/locations/coleman- college/coleman-campus.

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