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Jan Martin's X-Ray Vision
Martin Teaching 2017 Rad Tech Students

Jan Martin’s X-Ray Vision


     Ogeechee Technical College is known for training a distinguished workforce for the healthcare industry in the region. But, there is one program at the college whose graduates exceed the industry’s standard year after year. The Radiologic Technology Program, led by director and instructor Jan Martin, produces exceptional medical professionals, many of whom go on to win distinction in the healthcare field and as outstanding student leaders on the state level and beyond.

     The program’s unusual amount of success can be attributed to Martin’s vision of how a radiographer should be trained to properly perform his or her job.

     “I’m old school,” said Martin. “I want my students to have respect for their fellow classmates, the instructors, and our program.”

     To Martin, teaching the students technical skills isn’t enough.

     “I want our students to be prepared to work anywhere. When they leave here, they will go to work in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and imaging centers. Some cross train in CAT scan, mammography, MRI and cardio imaging. Some come back to do stenography. Each modality in which they become certified makes them more marketable,” she said.

     The program is structured to be completed in 17 months, within four semesters after the General Education Core is completed. Each fall courses are taught including instruction in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and radiographic science, equipment and imaging, with over 20 hours spent in the field working in a non-paid position at one of 13 clinical sites. 77 hours of instruction are required to complete the program.

     A 150 sq. ft. classroom with adjoining lab space contains the latest in radiologic equipment and serves 13 students enrolled in the program each term. Films are developed in a dark room and assessed on a lighted board. Two medical simulation dummies, complete with broken bones, serve as patients for the students. The GE x-ray equipment has the capability of converting to digital images as well.

     During clinical rotations, Martin requires her students to wear white uniforms, a standard that may seem old fashioned in today’s healthcare environments, but which Martin feels sets her students apart.

     “When a doctor sees a student in white at our clinical sites, he or she knows that student is from OTC and is well trained not only in procedures, but also work ethic and professionalism,” said Martin.

     Matt Dunn serves as clinical coordinator for the program, in addition to being an instructor, Dunn oversees the students on clinical rounds. That’s the position Martin held when she started at OTC in 1997.

     “I couldn’t do it without Matt,” said Martin. “He was in the first class I taught here. He worked at the old Bulloch Memorial Hospital and got his bachelors and masters while here. We’ve known each other a long time and we work very well together.”

     The program falls under Dean for Academic Affairs Kelly Kingry and Executive V.P. for Academic Affairs Dr. Charlene Lamar.

     “We also couldn’t do it without the support of our administrators. They are behind us 100%,” said Martin. “They allow us the autonomy to do our jobs and the backing we need to make our program and our students excel.”

     Since 2004, OTC’s Rad Tech graduates have a 100% pass rate on the national ARRT radiography exam. “There is an incentive for passing the national test,” said Martin. “If students pass the ARRT exams, they don’t have to take my final.”

     OTC’s Director of Admissions, Molly Bickerton, a Rad Tech alumni, was the 2008 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership state winner from the program. In 2006, Malygua Roberts was a finalist. Amy Roberson, a 2009 GOAL winner is now a clinical instructor. Tyler Burgner, an alum of the program, is now an M.D. working on a radiology residency at Memorial in Savannah. In 2015, Rad Tech graduates Molly Bickerton, Elliott Lee, and Amy Roberson were chosen as Outstanding OTC Alumni. In 2016, Burgner was honored as an OTC Distinguished Alumni and asked to deliver the commencement address.

      Also In 2016, Melissa Behling was the state’s first runner-up for GOAL and in 2017, radiographer Amanda Merry was regional GOAL winner and a state finalist. This spring, when Behling was chosen as first runner up, Martin was there to receive the prestigious Rick Perkins Award from the Technical College System of Georgia, which recognized her as the TCSG 2017 Instructor of the Year.

      She credits fellow educators with showing her the way. “My mentors were Linda Tinker and Jessie Strickland,” said Martin. “When I started here, Tinker helped mold me in the professional sense. Jessie was a great lady and a friend. I can still hear her voice in my head at times. She was a beloved administrator and cheerleader – a superior educator.”

     Being awarded as the 2017 Teacher of the Year was a monumental moment for Martin, but she counts as her greatest success, “When my students have their ‘Ah Ha!’ moment. When it all clicks and you know you are reaching them. I also love it when they are pinned. When they go from being students to peers, that’s very moving to me.” Since the first Rad Tech class in 1995, over 285 students have finished the program. Since Martin started in 1997, over 250 have completed certification.

     “Our students have more clinical experience after six weeks in a clinical setting than other students,” said Martin. “OTC has top priority for placement in clinical slots at Memorial in Savannah. Our students are exceptional because they are committed concrete sequential people.”

     The Rad Tech Program is nationally certified by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

     “The first JRCERT accreditation we received since I became program director was in 2012,” said Martin. “It is a full eight-year accreditation. We submitted a four-year report last year and I was recently notified that the program could continue its eight-year accreditation until 2020.”

     Accreditation is important to the program and to Martin, who feels more certification and training would benefit healthcare overall.

     “It’s important to all of us, and we want people to know that the state of Georgia does not require licensing or certification for x-ray technicians in Urgent Care, Chiropractic offices, or in surgery centers. The state only requires six hours of radiation training. We are one of only seven states that do not require some type of advanced education certification,” said Martin.

     “I believe as a paying patient you should ask if the x-rays are being done by an ARRT certified radiographer. If they are not, then ask for someone who is,” she said.

     Martin’s commitment to best practices, quality education, professionalism, and overall excellence is reflected in the standards she pursues in healthcare and in achievements of the students she serves. Her vision for their future is superlative.

     “And, not just as Rad Techs,” said Martin. “They make great employees no matter what field they choose to pursue.”