Radiation Safety 101 For Medical Professionals, with Candace Krout
Episode Topic: In this episode of Skeleton Crew, we delve into the world of radiation safety and the importance of professional development, featuring guest Candace Krout. Candace, a Health Physicist, provides valuable insights into her field, the role of dosimetry badges and lead aprons, and the significance of annual checks for radiation protection equipment.
Lessons You’ll Learn: Candace shares essential lessons, including the significance of maintaining radiation safety equipment like lead aprons, the benefits of adopting a growth mindset in navigating challenges, and the value of networking through professional societies. The episode highlights how curiosity and asking questions are pivotal in a technical field and emphasizes the importance of tailored communication when training individuals from diverse backgrounds in radiation safety.
About Our Guest: Candace Krout, a recent graduate in the field of Health Physics, brings her passion for radiation safety to the forefront. Her experiences with annual checks, for radiation protection equipment, mentorship, and her role in the Health Physics Society showcase the dynamic nature of her professional journey.
Topics Covered: This episode delves into key aspects of radiation safety and professional development, featuring expert insights from Candace Krout. The discussion encompasses Lead Apron Maintenance, Growth Mindset, Health Physics Society, and more. Uncover the significance of a growth mindset in navigating challenges and seeking guidance when confronted with the unknown. Learn about Candace’s practical engagement, including work on shielding for linear accelerators and radiation oncology projects, underscoring the value of hands-on learning and skill development. Gain insight into the advantages of joining professional societies like the Health Physics Society, fostering networking, mentorship, and resource access to bolster career progression.
Our Guest: Candace Krout, Medical Health Physicist at Einstein Healthcare Network
Candace Krout is an emerging luminary in the realm of radiation safety, whose fervor for safeguarding lives shines brilliantly. Recently graduated in the field of Health Physics, Candace’s passion has ignited a transformative journey. Her career journey, adorned with experiences in annual radiation protection checks, mentorship, and active participation in The Health Physics Society, exemplifies her commitment to elevating the standards of radiation safety.
Currently, Candace is making waves as a radiation safety specialist at Einstein Healthcare Network, where she seamlessly applies her expertise in laser and radiation safety, she also has training in nuclear emergency response. As a member of The Health Physics Society, a prestigious scientific professional organization, Candace remains steadfast in her pursuit of excellence.
Equipped with comprehensive training in interpersonal communication, diversity, leadership development, and more, Candace is not only an advocate for safety but also an ambassador for meaningful engagement within her field. Her energy and dedication illuminate the path to effective radiation safety, making her a dynamic and invaluable asset to the realm of healthcare and beyond.
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[00:00:00] Candace Krout
It’s not the same day, every day where there’s different variation, you’re doing different things. And that’s personally what I love about each job that I’ve had or each opportunity I’ve had as an HP, everyday of the work is different. Of course, there’s things that you do that are regulatory or very similar, but your work day is different. I’m not just sitting at my desk all day. I’m getting up, I’m working with different departments. I get to work with different patients at time and there’s so many different things that allow me to grow.
[00:00:32] Jen Callahan
Welcome to the Skeleton Crew. I’m your host, Jen Callahan, a technologist with ten-plus years of experience. In each episode, we will explore the fast-paced, ever-changing, and sometimes completely crazy field of radiology. We will speak to technologists from all different modalities about their careers and education. The educators and leaders who are shaping the field today and the business executives whose innovations are paving the future of radiology. This episode is brought to you by X-raytechnicianschools.com. If you’re considering a career in X-ray, visit X-raytechnicianschools.com To explore schools and to get honest information on career paths, salaries, and degree options.
[00:01:20] Jen Callahan
Hey, everybody. Thanks for being with us here again, on another episode of The Skeleton Crew. I’m your host, Jen Callahan, and today I have with me a wonderful guest. Her name is Candace Krout. She is a representative from the Health Physics Society and then she’s also to the medical health physicist at Jefferson Einstein Hospital. Just a little background about the society. It has been in existence for approximately 70 years, and it’s the leading organization for professionals who are specializing in radiation safety. Candace, thank you so much for being with us here today.
[00:01:55] Candace Krout
It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m excited to talk about the Health Physics Society and our field.
[00:02:00] Jen Callahan
Yeah, So let’s start there. Give us a little background on what the Health Physics Society, does and the different avenues that they’re in.
[00:02:09] Candace Krout
Okay. So the Health Physics Society, essentially it’s a professional organization dedicated to advancing science and practice of radiation safety and radiation protection. It was, as mentioned before, established in 1956, and since then has become one of the largest organizations of health physicists in the world. Health physics is a science of protecting people and the environment from potential radiation hazards, while also utilizing radiation for beneficial purposes. Whenever I declared my major in college and I tell friends and family I’m a health physicist, I always get those looks like, hmm, how does health and physics go together? So sometimes I’ll just say radiation specialist to explain it as well. And the Health Physics Society has a couple of main objectives. The main ones are promoting excellence in the science and practice of radiation safety and radiation protection, providing a forum for the exchange of information and ideas among professionals in the field, educating the public about the benefits and risks associated with radiation use and applications, and supporting research and development in the field of health physics as well.
[00:03:17] Jen Callahan
So your impact then on radiation safety and protection. That’s the main thing of what you guys look for. And it’s not just, as you said in the medical realm, it would branch outside of health care as well?
[00:03:30] Candace Krout
Yes. Something that I really enjoy about my field is it’s not just one field-specific or one industry-specific. You can go into environmental, you can go into power plant, you can go into industry. There are so many different fields that you can go into. Also, if you’re ever interested on the health physics website, they do have a brochure as well that outlines the different fields that you can go into as well. (http://hps.org/documents/what_is_hp_brochure.pdf)
[00:03:58] Jen Callahan
While you were in school going for this. Did you think about any other jobs besides going into healthcare and doing the radiation safety?
[00:04:08] Candace Krout
So it’s actually really funny how I found this major. I went to Bloomsburg University and I went in as undecided with a particular major mind. I’m not going to name it because all majors are great in their own way. I’m a firm believer everyone has their own niche in what they will thrive in. And I was at my junior year and I was in this major and I was just not feeling it. I was going to class as a junior. I was like, I cannot imagine doing this for the rest of my life. So I got back to my dorm room and I googled “What majors does Bloomsburg University offer?” And was reading and I was reading. I was like health physics because I love math. And it was something where I was like, okay, I was interested in physics, but I was like, I don’t know what I would do with that. And I have a passion towards radiation oncology, oncology in general. So I was looking at this. I was a little interested. I emailed my advisor, Dr. Simpson, and was like, hey, I’m interested, can I come sit down and talk to you about it?
He’s like, sure, swing on by. So I went into his office and we talked for about an hour, and after that conversation, I switched my major and with our program, how was it was the classes were offered every other year just because with enrollment that we had with just making sense of the classes as well. So I took my classes a little backwards, but my professors were very great. They were so helpful. And then I got an internship within that one year where it was the medical side, and I worked at Geisinger and that’s what really solidified the medical portion was for me. And I’m open, of course, to experimenting later in my career with different aspects of it. But my internship is what really solidified. Like, yeah, this is the career field for me and that’s how I actually fell into my field. I never knew health physics existed until that Google search on our college website.
[00:06:07] Jen Callahan
That’s great. How did you find your profession? I just Googled it. That’s great. What did Dr. Simpson say during your conversation that kind of sparked your interest? Do you remember?
[00:06:21] Candace Krout
I actually do, because it’s something that really just still draws me to the field. While we were talking about it, I was. What’s your typical day as a health physicist? What does it look like? What is career growth? What are the different opportunities? And he did not disappoint with his answers. We talked for about an hour probably, but something that he said that really stuck with me is it’s not the same day every day where there’s different variation, you’re doing different things. And that’s personally what I love about each job that I’ve had or each opportunity I’ve had as an HP everyday of the work is different. Of course, there’s things that you do that are regulatory or very similar, but your work day is different. I’m not just sitting at my desk all day. I’m getting up. I’m working with different departments. I get to work with different patients at time and there’s so many different things that allow me to grow. Also with health physics, with it being such a broad field, sometimes you are exposed to things you may not have experience with or you may not know too much about. So I also like the challenge of thinking and working with others to accomplish that goal as well.
[00:07:31] Jen Callahan
So the different departments within a hospital, who would you be working with? Obviously radiology. But from there, what other departments would you be in contact with?
[00:07:42] Candace Krout
So I work with cath lab. I also work with nuclear medicine, also the emergency room as well, where I’ll help them with emergency preparedness drills. So say if a dirty bomb would happen or some kind of event that is radiation-related of how we would handle that and just the overall safety aspect as well. And that’s something too, because it’s different departments you wouldn’t think that you’d be working with and also the dental field as well. Anyone who may be using an energized equipment is someone that I’m getting to work with as well.
[00:08:16] Jen Callahan
Before we started this recording, Candace was telling me about something that she might possibly have to hop off just for a hot second because she said that there was a patient who is having a procedure that might possibly have something ionizing inside of them. And I said to myself and to her like, wow, that’s something that would have never even crossed my mind, that a health physicist would have to take a call or be part of a surgery because of something within the body like that.
[00:08:43] Candace Krout
The reason why we are involved with that as well is the ALARA principle. And I know this is a medical podcast, so some of y’all might be familiar, but if you’re not. ALARA stands for as low as reasonably achievable. You always want to drop it low. That’s what I tell people. Make it into a joke. You drop it lowest as in dancing. But that’s why. So say if someone had a procedure done, say a Y-90 procedure within the last two weeks, that liver is going to be hot.
[00:09:17] Jen Callahan
So sorry. Let’s just stop real fast. For anyone who isn’t familiar with what a Y-90, can you just real briefly just say what a Y-90 procedure is?
[00:09:25] Candace Krout
Yeah. So the Y-90 procedure, essentially what that is, it’s radioactive microspheres that goes into generally a patient’s liver and that helps with the oncology. Well, the cancer treatment basically, and how radiation safety is involved. So you’re taking a radioactive material from one room and into the other, and then you’re injecting it into a patient. And the radioactive material is not in a controlled system, essentially, because whenever you remove it from its container, there’s possible contamination. And we all know contamination is something that we do not want. So radiation safety is there to help monitor that it’s used safely. And if something would happen, we’re there to help that situation as well so we can de-escalate it before it’s escalated as well.
[00:10:14] Jen Callahan
So you had touched on other career paths for the health physicists. Do you have any friends that work in those fields that you might have possibly met through the society?
[00:10:24] Candace Krout
I actually do. So I actually have some friends from college. My graduating class was, I think about five people, but whenever I was a student, my graduating class and some classes underneath us. So we have a very small major. It was probably about 13 students total. So we just got a study group formed and we got really close because there’s nothing like bonding with fellow college students as you’re studying and cramming for an exam at 2 a.m., 1 a.m., or you’re just standing in the library, sitting there for hours upon hours trying to figure out the homework. Because my one professor and I’m glad she did it now, but she would give us problems from CHP. So there’s a certified health physicist certification that you can get. And for one of our homework assignments, the one time she gave us a problem from the Part two, which is a lengthy word problem, and we were just racking our brains around it for hours trying to figure it out. But there’s one (a friend) who works in Academic, which is a university.
I have a friend who works in the environmental portion where they get to actually go all over the place, working with different institutions or different organizations with the radiation safety aspect. I have a few friends working in government as well, and throughout the professional society I’ve gotten involved in different aspects. So I’ve gotten to network with different professionals all over the country and they all have different industries as well. There’s a couple of individuals I know who are in waste management or nuclear, so that’s one of my favorite parts about the Health Physics Society is just the organic networking and that relationship you build and then you get insights on different fields as well and with some different institution or different fields. We all follow the same regulation but with humans we all have different approaches to things. So it’s great to see how what their thought process or what their approach is on a similar situation.
[00:12:24] Jen Callahan
So going with the public, obviously for the longest time, you know, with different things that have happened like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island and stuff, there’s this public misconception out there about radiation. Does the society try to address that at all or put out information on that?
[00:12:43] Candace Krout
The society does with the misconceptions behind radiation. A lot of the time it’s because the lack of understanding so radiation, it’s invisible and intangible phenomenon. Sometimes it makes it difficult for the general public to grasp its nature and potential risks accurately. Misunderstanding and misinformation can easily take root in the absence of clear, accessible and accurate information and pairing with media influence. So sometimes in centralized or inaccurate portrayals. Radiation related events in the media can perpetuate misconceptions and fears, and news stories or movies often focus on extreme scenarios for the dramatic effect rather than the routine safe applications of radiation. And again, fear of the unknown. Because you can’t see it, smell it, hear it, taste it. People aren’t sure.
So the Health Physics Society, we do have something called the Public Information Committee, where we put out different information for the public where if they have questions or if they’re curious, you can go on the website and you don’t have to be a member to access it, which is really nice. And on the health physics websites as well, if you look within it for the public portion, it will also mention other credible websites for you to look at. And that’s a thing as well, which why I really appreciate the Health physics society its mission to educate the public because Google is a great thing, but can also be down the rabbit hole. So if you do a Google search and if you start searching for the wrong thing, you can really go down a rabbit hole and it may not give you an accurate sense of radioactive events. And we also something called ask the experts as well.
[00:14:32] Jen Callahan
So coming off of like my background with being, you know, I was first an X-ray tech. And then as I shared with you, I recently transitioned into a hybrid or room for non-invasive for less invasive procedures, I should say. But you had already touched on the principle of ALARA. Just thinking to myself, like time distance shielding. Now, I went to school 11 years ago and obviously, that was like drilled into our head. I’m just distance shielding. Is that still one of the principles that is big or the main one? Because I mean with the advancements of technology with like x-ray equipment and how far you can collimate down is the shielding aspect. Not to say is it necessary, but is it something that you should be superiorly worried about 100% of the time?
[00:15:17] Candace Krout
So that’s something where it may vary institution between institution on patient shielding. That’s something where there has been studies where there’s been different information, people share different opinions on the topic, but you yourself, as a radiation worker, I always say time distance. Schilling when appropriate. Your goal is whenever you do time distance shielding as low as reasonably achievable and not impacting patient care. Because at the end of the day, you want to make sure that you’re protected and you’re also able to provide great treatment to the patient. An example would be, say whenever Chernobyl was cleaning up, they were on the roof and they would be cleaning up in very short increments and just going there just to get it all done. But if they all geared up in very excessive shielding, it would have slowed them down and as they were doing that, they would actually have some shielding, but with that increased time.
It’s a sea action. And that’s something where if you’re ever concerned, you can ask your radiation safety team for clarity on that or a fellow health physicist. But I would still say the time distance shielding is still a very adamant thing for all the training, for all the individuals in the hospital. That’s something that we will always touch upon. I usually have that in the training at least 2 or 3 times just so it can really sink in, especially with the inverse property as well. So whenever you step away from radiation, it’s one over R squared. So the distance that you go away from something, the lower that your possible exposure is as well.
[00:16:56] Jen Callahan
So six feet just to put out there for everybody, usually six feet is the baseline. You want to try to be as at least six feet away from the area of exposure.
[00:17:06] Candace Krout
Whenever and again, whenever it’s not impacting the patient care, because obviously, a physician on a patient can’t be like six feet unless they have really long arms. That’s why the shielding aspect is so great and a fun fact about dosimeters. So there’s different types of dosimeters, but for dosimeter specifically like this kind, you’ll see sometimes there’s there’ll be like a red man or a black man, and that represents the different types of calculations. So there’s something called Webster’s calculator that if you wear your dosimeter, it will factor in that lead factor. So you can get an accurate reading with wearing lead. What is your exposure. And then you could always get the calculation without the Webster’s, and then you could see what your exposure would be without lead.
[00:17:56] Jen Callahan
The health system that I work for, they have us wear two dosimeters. They have us one wear for the collar and then one for the waist. Now I’ve worked at a few different health systems and the ones prior that I worked at the only time you ever wore one at your waist was when you were pregnant. So I actually found it pretty interesting that I worked for mainline health that that’s just standard that to wear the two, the collar and the waist.
[00:18:18] Candace Krout
And that’s something that’s great about dosimeters. And it’s different institutions have different options meaning institutions decide on the specific dosimeters utilized. So you can pick what works best for you. And I did want to touch upon the pregnant or the fetal dosimetry that you were talking about. So anyone who’s working in the field who may be occupational radiation worker, if you ever do become pregnant while you’re working as something that we offer that most radiation safety offices will offer is to declare your pregnancy. So declaring your pregnancy, that’s not mandatory by any means. It’s actually optional. And whenever you declare a pregnancy, it remains confidential between you and the member of radiation safety.
Generally the radiation safety officer or the individuals that you speak with, it will remain confidential and pending what your conversation is with them. Sometimes they’ll speak with your supervisor, but otherwise, generally, you’ll meet with them once a month, pick up, and exchange your badge again. The exact way it goes may vary from institution to institution, but it’s a nice thing to say if you have a quarterly badge and quarterly means you get one badge every quarter. Something that’s nice about fetal is you would get one badge every month, so you would get a more of a quick read around time. Also with the radiation badges, there’s a certain amount that you’re allowed within a calendar year. But whenever you have a fetal badge, the amount that you’re allowed through that gestation period is a lot more restricted and conservative.
[00:19:51] Candace Krout
So that’s something that we monitor talking about. ALARA I know sometimes people don’t like wearing the radiation badges, but I promise everyone it’s for a reason. It’s for a purpose. Whenever you hand those badges back in, depending on if it’s an instant dose bluetooth or you send it, get it back, they’ll be reports whenever you get your dose back. There’s a ALARA level one and a ALARA level two attached to those readings as a threshold. And different institutions can attach different percentages to it, but that’s a signal to radiation safety be like level one or level two. Your exposure was a little higher than what we than what we expected or what the percentage was. And that’s just a way of protecting everyone to make sure that we’re using safe practices because there’s been times where there’s been an ALARA level. And the reason why it was over is because someone left it on the machine or in the room, or they brought it on a plane with the plane with them or put it through the x-ray machine whenever they were going to the airport, they put it in there. What’s going like? Why is your reading so high? Like, we didn’t think that it was a very unusual experience, but once investigating, that’s why.
[00:20:58] Jen Callahanan
Okay, if someone does have a high ALARA level, your department would obviously want counsel. The individual whose reading was high would you also to maybe possibly just have a department-wide meeting and just go back over your standard principles of time, and distance shielding?
[00:21:17] Candace Krout
So again, that depends from institution to institution. Some institutions will have different percentages set to regular radiation workers and then interventional radiation workers. Because whenever you’re working in interventional, you’re using fluoro (fluoroscopy), so your dose will naturally be a little bit higher. And physicians are people that we know use longer times. We expect that their dose would be a little bit higher, but that’s something where if it’s higher, we’ll sit down and talk to them. And then if it’s a repeated thing, we’ll re-educate or we’ll go over those items as well.
[00:21:53] Jen Callahan
How about like with like doctors and such or procedures like that? So as I was saying, I work in the hybrid room using fluoro C-arm, and some of the I have to record the doses and the time for the procedure. And sometimes I’ve recorded down like 50 minutes worth of fluoro, which it’s not continuous fluoro, but still, at the end of the case, it’s still a good amount. And for the patient, it’s not a big deal because it’s them really just having it done once. But you have these doctors who are standing there literally right next to the unit.
[00:22:27] Candace Krout
And that’s why we’re so adamant about wearing your dosimeters, wearing the proper shielding. So then you are being protected yourself and the radiation dosimeter, the limits set are for a reason. So there’s been education, there’s been there’s was research done, and those are the limits. So that’s why we track it each year. And there’s something called a form five that gets sent out every year If you have more than 100 milirem (mrem) and we send that to anyone, an individual who received more than 100 milirem (mrem) within the last calendar year, because you may not have received ALARA level one or ALARA level two. But that way you can say, okay, I got some dose. But to put it into perspective, 100 milirem (mrem) may seem like a lot, but you get about 620 milirem (mrem) of background radiation within one calendar year. So just putting that number into perspective.
[00:23:23] Jen Callahan
Okay. So the background radiation coming from just off the earth, like coming up from the ground.
[00:23:30] Candace Krout
Yeah, like just from walking around the sun, the radon. And then also just studies overall as well. So you had said.
[00:23:37] Jen Callahan
Like maybe if you fly a lot, you’re getting radiation from flying and little things out there that you never know we’re going to get you.
[00:23:46] Candace Krout
But again, it’s nothing to be scared or nervous about because the one thing with radiation is, you know, for sure it’s heavily regulated and there’s always a lot of paperwork. There’s a lot of things involved with it. So if there’s ever a circumstance where there might be concern about the dose there, there will be an investigation or there’s been steps put in to ensure that that is not a risk to those using it. And something you may notice is sometimes you may walk around a hospital or an area or a facility and you may see a caution high radiation area or different things like that which signal areas that you shouldn’t enter for extended periods of time. Also, whenever a machine is added into a hospital, there’s shielding surveys done. So whenever the machine is on, there’s different things that are it’ll be put on and there’s a physicist that that’s usually put in that will do the calculations to make sure that the rooms around it aren’t getting more than what they should be. And each room for shielding has something called an occupancy factor. So say a waiting room would have a different occupancy factor than a closet. So these are all behind the scene things that radiation professionals do to ensure the safety to staff members and members of the public as well.
[00:25:05] Jen Callahan
So we’ve been talking about the dosimetry badges, something that I have to wear on a daily basis while I’m in my case is a lead apron at my health system. A good majority of people wear the top and the bottom like the jacket and the skirt. So there are some people who have decided it’s really like preference feel like who wear the actual aprons that come around the sides and Velcro. But as a health physicist at an institution, one of the roles there for a health physicist would be to test the aprons or skirts and or jackets. Really every year.
[00:25:39] Candace Krout
Mhm- that’s something that we do. And I did want to add on. There’s also always a thyroid collar that’s added on. No matter if it’s a two-piece or one-piece, there’s always should be a thyroid collar attached. And if there’s ever not, let someone know and they should be able to get you one. But for the lead aprons, that’s something that is checked annually. Sometimes radiation safety does it. Sometimes different departments do it. But overall, radiation safety generally are the ones who will keep track of the aprons or make sure someone’s keeping track, that the inventory is being checked on an annual basis. And the reasoning for that is like anything else, there’s wear and tear. Like I know I have a couple of purses that have seen brighter days from all the times I’ve used it. And what we’ll do is so this for my institution, what we do whenever we get a lead apron, we always use fluoroscopy first. And the reason for that is we want to make sure there’s no cracks, there’s no nothing. Thing going on that would be concerning. And then once we give it the okay, we’ll distribute it to whoever let apron it is, and then we do annual checks and within the different departments, sometimes one person will do it for the department. Sometimes if it’s a larger department, someone from our office say, I’ll go to cath lab or a different department just to help them out, because sometimes with the higher caseload they have, it’s a little difficult to get all those aprons in.
[00:27:02] Candace Krout
So we’ll try to go in on an off-hour time or we’ll just try to tag team it and get all the aprons done. And again, this may vary between institution to institution, but a decision was made for the annual checks. We were just going to physically feel the apron and look at it and if there was a concern, we would then fluoro (use fluoroscopy) it. And the reasoning for that is we want to keep it ALARA. And if, say, if a department has about 50 aprons and if you’re FLOURO-ing (using fluoroscopy) 50 different aprons, that can really add up over time. And again, that is a judgment call between each institution or the apron as well. If you know for sure that apron was not taken care of last year. So whenever you have a lead apron, there’s usually a heavier type of hook or hanger for you to hang it on properly. And the reason why you want to hang it on there properly is so you don’t get any of those creases or you don’t get any impairments within that apron. So that’s something that we do every year just to make sure that everyone is being safe and that the apron has its integrity as well.
[00:28:11] Jen Callahan
I can only imagine the amount of aprons that you might have to check between the different departments in radiology alone. Intervention specials, Interventional radiology, general X-ray CAT scan has at least like lap shields and things like that. And then you go up to the O.R. because all the staff up there who are in cases for orthopedics or anything that is going to be using a calm in there. And then, like you said, cath lab, if you had a guesstimate, how many aprons do you think you might have possibly had to check, like last year?
[00:28:45] Candace Krout
I don’t even know, at least 300 at least because our hospital also has different satellite sites. So sometimes we’ll go to those satellite sites as well, or there’ll be different individuals. So definitely a couple hundred easily.
[00:29:02] Jen Callahan
So going from that, have you ever met, like any challenges within your field that are memorable to you, that you want to share?
[00:29:11] Candace Krout
Something that has really helped me with going forward with work is having growth versus fixed mindset. It was a book I was reading when I was graduating by Carol Dweck, and it’s talking about how a fixed mindset functions is you’re born with your skill set. Either you’re good at something or you’re not. Whereas growth mindset has that idea where there’s potential for you to grow and improve yourself. So that’s something that I’ve tried implementing within my field of my day-to-day with my field being so broad as it is. There are different situations or instances that I’ll be faced with which I’m not too sure how to handle, and having that growth mindset really gives me the comfort for me to be able to ask those questions and allows me to be self-aware of what my knowledge is, because that’s a one thing in our field.
Never be afraid to ask questions. There’s no stupid questions because it’s always the best thing to get clarity if you’re ever unsure about something. And there’s been different situations throughout the years where say. There’s been a situation where maybe a patient got something, a dose that they shouldn’t have received. What do you do and that’s something where you’re like, okay, let’s look at the regulations, let’s do some calculations and everything and that’s how you would manage that or say, putting in a new linear accelerator. I’ve never done that before. So that was actually a really fun project I got to work on with our radiation oncologist at Einstein and I was there and used blueprints, taking the measurements, going to the different rooms, doing the shielding, getting to use a neutron ball to do all those kind of things.
[00:30:57] Candace Krout
Was it challenging? Yeah, a little bit, because I’ve never done any of those things and it was just learning on the fly as you were going and doing all these things. But it’s one of my favorite moments and usually for me, whenever it’s a challenging moment sometimes becomes one of my favorite moments because it’s something that you remember and it’s just something fun. Overall, radiation, sometimes that topic can be scary or it can be. Difficult to explain to different people or you for me, whenever for time, whenever we do our training, I try to cater it to that department so that it’s relevant to what they’re doing or what they’re understanding. Because we do training for almost any department, for Protective Services. We do it for. The techs, the nurses, the physician. So it’s they’re all at different levels of radiation that they need to understand or that’s relevant to their job. So you want to tell one person one thing that’s not relevant to their job or relevant to the understanding of what they need to do for their day-to-day, and then also implementing different things within a hospital as well. It’s all about learning different personality types, learning how to deliver information, learning how to work with different people. So learning new things, and then also learning how to adapt with different situations and different people as well.
[00:32:28] Jen Callahan
To go back to the Health Physics Society. Do you feel like the society has helped get you to where you currently are in your career?
[00:32:36] Candace Krout
I would say absolutely. Whenever I was a student, one of my advisors, they had us sign up for the Health Physics Society, which if you’re a student, the first year is free. And we all know free is for me, especially when you’re a student. And through there I signed up for a health physics society. It was a health physics mentor and I’ve been emailing them ever since I joined the Health Physics Society. We actually were we had a phone call last week. We’re still in touch. And whenever I was in undergrad I talked about different fields or different routes I want to go. They were really helpful with that. Whenever I was about to graduate, helped me with my resume. Different interviewing skills. Also, whenever I was a student, I was feeling the college, the college hurt with my funds and not going to lie. And I wanted to go to the annual meeting, but I’m like, Huh? I don’t know if I’m going to be able to afford it. And my professor’s like, Let’s try a research project. So he reached out to this company and basically just tried the project and was like, Yeah, it works. And it was actually really fun as a student because I got so much hands on experience with it and I got to do a poster. I submitted it to the Health Physics Society, I got a travel grant and I got to go to health physics meetings for free, which was so much fun and it was such a great networking opportunity. Like I said before, the Health Physics Society, I really enjoy it because you’re able to network with so many great people and you can get so much from the society.
[00:34:03] Candace Krout
And I’m a firm believer too in the more you develop within yourself and grow within yourself, you’re able to give out to others as well. I got involved with the Health Physics Society in about maybe 2020, 2019. I can’t remember the exact dates right now, but being involved with the Health Physics Society has expanded upon my expertise skill set as well, because being a working professional time management can be difficult. Just the different tasks that you may be handling as well. And I got to work with the Health Physics Society and that’s really helped me grow in my professional manner as well. There’s so many different resources as well. I actually got my first job off of the Health Physics Society. I was looking for different jobs and they have a job listing. And my friend who I actually graduated with saying, hey, Candace, check out this job listing just posted. Think you would love it? So I looked at it and it was in Manhattan and I was like, Oh, wow. Like, this looks really fun. This looks like something right up my alley. It would be really because I grew up in a small town. I’ve never been to Manhattan before this, but I was like, You know what? Why not? I sent my resume, I emailed, got an interview, and that was my first job.
[00:35:13] Jen Callahan
And I’m sure, too, with being in a society like this and making the relationships that you have, that if you’re going for a job, you always need to have a reference. I’m sure like not only do you have the people that you have worked with in the past, but you also to have these relationships with people that share the same interests with you and can back basically saying, you know, that you’ve been working on different things with the society and that, you know, you’re integral part of it. And even listing it on your resume that you’re part of that society, I’m sure is something that can attract an employer to you.
[00:35:45] Candace Krout
And I want to add in, too, for anyone within their field, I always recommend getting involved in some kind of thing where you’re around professionals that are further along in your career. Because I personally loved how I am so new to the field. In my eyes, I feel still feel I’m new. And for the Health Physics Society, those people with the last meeting I went to, people have been in the field for 10, 15, 20, 25 years and the amount of knowledge that they have, like I was astounded by our conversations. They were just so interesting and invigorating. And it’s just hearing them talk about it. I love all the feedback that you can get from those kind of situations and in my experience as well, if you approach someone else in your field and if you’re curious about ways to progress or different things or different certifications, you can go or different routes, they’re always very receptive and willing to give back to the younger generation or the early career professionals.
[00:36:47] Jen Callahan
In the society, do you have individuals who are not necessarily in health physics themselves? You have people who just like work in radiation or a field that is related to radiation but don’t exactly do exactly like what you do, those kinds.
[00:37:02] Candace Krout
I have a couple of people who are, say, radiation oncology who they’re similar, but not exactly. I also have some individuals who aren’t even in radiology or the medical field. I was an orientation workshop leader whenever I was at Bloomsburg and we used to call Owls for short and it was just an on-campus leader when the freshmen come in, you know, for orientation, those people who you’re like, Oh my gosh, I just want this to be over. And they’re all like teaching you all on high energy or like doing the tours. That’s something that I did in my undergrad and it was so much fun. And the person in charge of it, she’s become a mentor to me where there are different situations where I’m like, hey, what’s your approach on this? Or What do you think about this?
Recently for my business cards, I made my own business cards, and I put a QR code to a link tree that has my information on it. And I reached out to her. I was like, Hey, what do you think about this idea? And she’s like, Oh, love it. Or she’ll give me her honest opinions, which I really appreciate because you need those type of individuals in your life. And then I also have different individuals I’ve reached out to different directors or a VP as well to ask their perspective on, Hey, this is what I’m thinking about for my approach. What would your view be with hiring someone with doing this? Would you want scenario A or scenario B as well? And it’s you never be afraid to ask those questions because the worst someone can say is no, they don’t want to talk. But then if they say they do want to talk, you’re able to get valuable insight from an individual.
[00:38:34] Jen Callahan
I’m definitely going to make sure that we include the information in to be able to access the website for the Health Physics Society. If anyone who is listening or watching wants more information about it, even if you’re a student like Candace was saying, interested in signing up for membership to go on the website and check it out. Candace, I can’t thank you enough for taking your time tonight to share with us, you know, about your own profession and then also to about you being a part of the Health Physics Society. So thank you. I really appreciate it.
[00:39:05] Candace Krout
You’re welcome. I am going to put a shameless plug in at the end as well. If you’re interested, please follow the Health Physics Society on all the different social media aspects for part of the Public Information Committee. I hope with all the social media postings, so feel free to give us a follow, give us a like or we’ve been over the last couple of years really improving our social media presence as well. So you can always follow us on there for updates about different events or different things that we have going on as well.
[00:39:35] Jen Callahan
Do you also want to put information on there for like the general public, just about for information based in regards to radiation safety?
[00:39:44] Candace Krout
Yeah, we’ll put different information about that as well. Also on the website for the Public Information Committee, we have different fact sheets as well that are openly accessible for individuals as well, and it ranges with what we post example for. I was really proud of my society for this. In March it was Women’s Month and every day for the month of March they had 1 or 2 posts honoring a different woman in the field, which I thought that was phenomenal that they did that.
[00:40:17] Jen Callahan
I love that. All right. So maybe we can try to link that up as well for the different social media sites that you guys have as well. So. All right, guys, thanks for being with us here tonight with Candace Krout, joining us to be a rep for the Health Physics Society. We’ll see you, everybody, later.
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