Starting as a patient transporter in Radiology, Christopher Schmidt, RT, 32, became the first colleague to be cross-trained as a technologist in Interventional Radiology, neurointerventions and Cardiology catheterization interventions.
Schmidt attributes his career growth to his love of learning and the encouraging environment of Mercy Health.
“It’s my home-away-from-home,” said Schmidt about Mercy Health. “This is where I have met my wife, who was a transporter over a decade ago like me. I was drawn here by the Catholic faith. Mercy Health is a place where I can be appreciated and where I can grow and learn, to better serve our patients.”
Beginning as an entry-level patient transporter for Radiology back in April 2007, Schmidt describes his tenure at Mercy Health as having “gone by really fast.”
“As a Mercy Health colleague, I was able to take full advantage of the tuition reimbursement programs each semester,” said Schmidt. “I came to the organization, not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life, to now having a pretty clear picture of wanting to become a leader or manager within the organization.”
While working as a transporter, Schmidt was informally mentored by those in the Radiology department. After much discussion, Schmidt decided to take the plunge and achieve his X-ray technologist degree. “At that time, there was a long wait list and it was kind of a gamble to see if I would even get in,” Schmidt recalled. After three long years, his gamble paid off when he was accepted into the program, and then he became a registered X-ray technologist in 2011, where he continued to advance his career at Mercy Health. He worked as a registered X-ray technologist for a year and a half until until he decided to work as a staff technologist for Computed Tomography (CT), which was an elevated role for Schmidt.
In 2014, while working full-time and with a family, Schmidt continued to pursue his education and earned his bachelor’s degree in medical diagnostic imaging. Not resting on his laurels, Schmidt continued to develop his skill set by becoming an Interventional Radiology technologist in May 2015. One short year later, he also became an interventional cardiology technologist, making him the first Mercy Health Saint Mary’s colleague to become cross-trained in both fields.
Schmidt’s versatility means that he can fill in for both positions. He was the first technologist who could respond to emergency calls if there were two types of emergencies after hours. His pioneering attitude has encouraged other colleagues to start the process of becoming cross-trained among different disciplines.
Schmidt shares his love of learning with others in the community within his new role as an adjunct professor at Grand Rapids Community College. In October 2018, he was the only non-physician asked to present at the Great Lakes Association of Radiology Imaging Nurses Conference, where he presented on his evolution of becoming cross-trained in both Interventional Radiology and Interventional Cardiology
His aptitude for learning shows no signs of slowing down, as Schmidt is currently enrolled in grad school to earn his master’s in Health Care Administration. Internally, Schmidt serves on the HERT team and the Unit-based Council to provide his perspective on care for patients, and is formally mentored by his director, Teresa LaLonde.
What keeps him motivated to keep growing and learning?
“I want to learn all I can, to help as many people as I can,” said Schmidt.
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