Discovering Radiologic Technology
Discovering Radiologic Technology

Discovering Radiologic Technology

Lead Author(s): Tracy Freeman-Jones

Student Price: Contact us to learn more

This is an intro course on the basic aspects & principles of radiologic technology & the health care system, including radiation protection & patient care and safety.

Customer Service in Allied Health


Radiography is a specialty with the healthcare community. This book is designed to introduce you to the tools you will need to get started on the journey of Radiology. The healthcare environment is comprised of individuals who have dedicated their selves to provide a service of care. In order to fully understand what is meant by service, you must examine the health care environment, the patient perspective the benefits of service, the customer service cycle, and dealing with conflict.


When a patient enters comes into the hospital or the radiology department, the patient will encounter many people and experience many things. As they enter the facility, the patient becomes the customer of that facility. The customer is the recipient of a service provided by a medical facility for a monetary or other valuable consideration. So what is service? Service is the action of helping or doing something for someone. In the radiology department we are providing a service of diagnosis. What you will learn in this book is what goes into providing that service.


As a radiographer, you will encounter many types of patients. You responsibility to make sure that the patients feel comfortable in your presence. Patients should want to return to your facility whenever the situation presents itself. Students in the Imaging Sciences should become comfortable with dealing with patients that have a diverse background. Diversity is the state of differences or having differences. In the radiology department, there is a need to be sensitive to all needs of all of your patients. Below are a list of tips for dealing with patients who are non-English speaking:

  • Speak clearly and precise- The use of slang or familiar language will only confuse the patient and may be a potential problem performing an x-ray
  • Do not speak loudly- Just because a patient does not know English does not mean the patient cannot hear.
  • Maintain eye contact- Many cases the non-English speaking patient will be able to read your lips
  • Use simple language- Using simple language keeps the conversation from becoming muddy for both and your patient
  • Ask questions that will require a yes or no answer- This will allow the patient to be able to communicate with some understanding
  • Be patient when asked to repeat what you said- Do not get frustrated because many times patients just need clarification.

The key is to remember to think before you speak. Consider who is receiving the information that you providing.


Working in a radiology department, the radiographer will provide a service many who enter the doors. Who are these individuals? They are our customers. We have two customers that the technologist will encounter. First is the outside customers. These are the people we provide a service to that come from to the community into the radiology department. These individuals includes patients, families, and physicians. Second type of customer is the inside customer. These persons come from inside the facility that would include other departments, coworkers and the radiologists.

Chapter 1 Question 2
  1. Give an example of an inside customer.


As stated before service is providing help to someone. In providing that action, one must do it with the highest merit. The following are benefits to have high quality service:

  •  Self-image—the idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality
  •  Self-esteem—the confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect
  •  Self- confidence—a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgment
  •  Values relating to life and the workplace

Each of the attributes makes for a person who is going to provide the utmost in patient care. The radiographer student must strive to maintain or possess these benefits in order to be successful in the healthcare profession.

Chapter 1 Question 3

The ability of a Radiographer to deliver high quality care is directly related to what?


A time when a person or thing is tested, a decision has to be made, or a crisis has to be faced this is called moments of truth. In Radiology, moment of truth occur the very point in which the patient enter the department. Usually when patients come to the department they are coming to get a diagnosis for their ailments. During this process, the patient will go through a customer service cycle. The customer service cycle is the patient’s total experience while at the facility or when interacting over the telephone. The customer cycle consist of two parts, events and incidents. Events are those steps that a patient goes through to get an exam done in the radiology department. Incidents are those steps that a radiographer goes through to get the examination done. Each of these parts work together to give the patient the total encounter.

Patient and doctor interaction [1]​

Chapter 1 Question 5

What is the term used for the total experience that a patient goes through to get an exam done in the radiology department?


Life cycle cost


Inside customer


outside customer


customer service cycle


A part of the customer service cycle involves the service that is provided on the phone. This may be the first impression that a patient has about a particular radiology facility. Below are some helpful hints when it comes to dealing with customers on the phone:

• Speak clearly—be sure to enunciate. Make sure that patient can hear plainly enough for the caller to understand who they have called and are speaking with on the phone.

• Address the caller by name—this give the call a personal touch. This provides the customer with an assurance of professionalism

• Speak in a calming voice—Use as normal tone to give the impression that there is no conflict

• Listen to the caller—be prepared to answer any questions that may come to light during the conversation

• Make sure to wait for a response when putting customers on hold—this ensure that no conflict will arise do mid-perceived rudeness

• Be sure to let the customer hang up first—this also will reduce conflict between you and the customer

The whole idea here is make sure that the person calling does not feel if they being neglected and made to feel they are not important.


Conflict is a tension resulting from disagreements of incompatible inner needs or drives. It is up to the technologist to make sure that conflict does not arise. If conflict does come to play, then conflict resolution should take place. Conflict resolution is doing whatever it takes to settle the conflict. Conflict resolution has 2 key elements. They are effective listening and empathy. Below are traits that a person should possess in order to have effective listening skills:

Chapter 1 Question 4

What are the two key elements in conflict resolution?


Empathy and symphathy


Empathy and effective listening


effective listening and sympathy


sympathy and personality

Face the person and maintain eye contact—this gives the impression that the person is be heard

Remain relaxed—if you are tense the person will tense and this will only add frustrations of the situation

Keep an open mind—be open to hearing what the person has to say

Be attentive—make sure you are giving the person you undivided attention

• Ask questions—questions ensure that concern is present and understanding

• Give feedback—Feedback reinforces the fact that you are paying attention and that you are understanding their point of view

Question 1

What are the traits of an effective listener?


Eye to eye contact





The idea is that you want to provide an atmosphere of comfort and understanding. The second element needed for conflict resolution is empathy. Empathy is understanding and acceptance of another person’s feelings or experience. It is important to make sure that these elements are in place to ensure that the conflict can and will be resolved.

In the radiology department, there come times when patients will ask questions. Depending on the answer that the technologist gives, will determine whether a situation will turn into conflict. Below are some questions that may come up during any exam in radiology. It is up to the technologist to respond in a manner that will not cause any conflict during an exam.

• How much radiation am I getting?

“I know that radiation safety may be your concern. Rest assured that we are using the least amount of radiation for the exam that we performing on you”

• Will this hurt?

“I know that you are concerned about this procedure. I can promise you that all safety precautions will followed and you will be fine possibly uncomfortable but fine”

• How much will this cost?

“I know cost can be a major concern for you. I can refer you to our billing department. They can provide you a breakdown of your cost to you”

• How many pictures are you going to take?

“We will perform the necessary images to make sure that we provide a diagnostic image” “We want to make sure that we have done all that we can to make sure we are able to provide the necessary information for your physician”

• When can I leave?

“We want to get the necessary images to make sure we get a proper diagnosis, once the exam is complete and we those images you will be free to leave”

• What do you see on the films?

“I know that you really want to find out what the x-rays show, I assure you that if you consult your physician who ordered this exam, they will give you your results.”


Radiography is the imaging of body parts with the using radiation. As a technologist, you will encounter many different people. In this diverse society it is imperative that technologist be able to deal with non-English speaking patients. In the effort to provide care one must possess skills to ensure high quality care, empathy and effective listening skills. With these skills you can be able resolve any issue that may come up in the course of doing your job.


Image credits

[1] Image courtesy of National Cancer Institute under public domain