Mammography Tech’s History of Caring Parallels Pappas Center’s
Carol Kut, RTRM has been a mammography tech at the Anne C. Pappas Center for Breast Imaging for 24 of its 25 years — and is proud of every one of them.
Kut joined the Pappas center as a staff mammographer in 1996.
“I can remember when I came here being so impressed,” Kut recalls. “The radiologists, Dr. Barbara Schepps in particular, had set the bar so high that we had to strive to be better to reach the standards that she set. I have always credited her and this department with making me the technologist that I am.”
The center started off with two mammography suites. “I can remember a ‘busy’ day when we saw 27 patients. We were so excited. Now we do over a hundred a day, so there’s been a big change over the years,” Kut says. “We’re up to four mammography suites, a biopsy suite, and three ultrasound suites. So, we’ve expanded a lot.”
A few years after joining the Pappas center, Kut became a teacher, leading radiology techs through classwork and clinical practice to prepare for their mammography registry exam. As director of the mammography school, in partnership with the Lifespan School of Medical Imaging, Kut trains two students at a time, twice a year. She proudly said students have even enrolled from other states, including California, because of the fine reputation of the Pappas center’s program.
“One of the things we always say here, and we drill into our students, is ‘We save lives every day.’”
There are mothers and daughters who make their appointments together and then go out to lunch, turning it into an upbeat day.
Women are understandably apprehensive when they come to the center, especially if they are returning for a diagnostic mammogram or a biopsy, Kut said. At the same time, “I think they’re grateful for what we can do to help them. Our department has grown over the years, with more staff and the newest equipment, so we can offer them so much.
“And I think our staff all have such empathy, that we make the experience — as scary as it can be for a patient — one that the patient is satisfied with. We take some of that fear away from them.”
The veteran mammographer is gratified to see patients return year after year. Kut has screened one woman, who followed her from the private facility where she previously worked, for more than 30 years. There are mothers and daughters as well as best friends who make their mammography appointments together, and then go out to lunch or shopping, turning it into an upbeat day, she said.
Despite her many years on the job, Kut has never become jaded.
“I had a patient last week who said, ‘I just love this place. Everybody I meet is so nice. I would never go anywhere else. It’s always so pleasant.’” Considering the heightened stress for frontline caregivers during the COVID crisis, Kut said, “I looked at her and said, ‘You have no idea what your compliments mean today to me, at this particular time. Thanks so much. It makes me realize why I do exactly what I do.’”
Four of Kut’s coworkers of similar tenure have retired in the past year, making her the longest serving at the center, but Kut said even winning the lottery wouldn’t stop her from doing her important work. “I love what I do,” she said.
“Just the quality, our doctors, our staff, our imaging — the care that patients get here is really exemplary. I’m very proud to say I’m part of this.”