STC student engineers his way into medical degree
Carlos Antonio Ruvalcaba, a family man, and STC student to aid Valley patients as he earns his way to becoming a radiologic technologist.
Inspired by his wife, Carlos Antonio Ruvalcaba is working to add a radiologic technology degree to his engineering one that has proved to be quite innovative.
“Since my wife is in the medical field and she’s always talking about helping others, I thought about wanting to do the same by combining my background in engineering with the technology aspect of radiology,” said Ruvalcaba.
Ruvalcaba’s quest for a second college credential did not come easy as he juggled work, family and the effects of a pandemic.
“I applied for the program once and I didn’t get accepted,” shares Ruvalcaba. “I then applied again and made it but couldn't attend because I was building a home and needed to keep my job as income.”
The father of three was accepted in fall 2020 and was committed to getting his new degree.
He now combines his engineering knowledge with his curiosity about the technology used.
“My engineering degree has been significant in my radiology studies,” said Ruvalcaba. “I am very comfortable with math equations and measurements so reading the images and using the equipment comes easy.”
Under COVID limitations, however, Ruvalcaba admits his rough start to the program.
“It was hard in the beginning for me to make sense of everything because it was online and the learning was simulated, so I didn't get the full grasp of the technology until the second semester,” he shares. “Once the spring semester came in, we were able to attend the Nursing and Allied Health campus and use the equipment.”
And with the help of everybody like my instructors and peers, there was always somebody there to assist with my studies.
Part of the program’s requirement is attending clinical rotations at local clinics and hospitals in the Valley.
“As everything is going back to normal, I am exposed to the different practices of each clinical setting and the equipment that's out there,” he said. “Correct positioning of the equipment is one of the procedures I am learning which I remember to obtain good imaging.”
Ruvalcaba also shares the important work radiologic technologists detect on a human body.
“We also learn about patient care in knowing how to care for them and how to talk to them,” he said. “We care for patients from newborns to geriatrics which are your patients sixty-five and older and patients of severe conditions.”
He also credits his academic success to his wife and peers.
“She may not be in the same field, but she would help me out with my anatomy questions,” said Ruvalcaba. "And with the help of everybody like my instructors and peers, there was always somebody there to assist with my studies.”
The future radiologic technologist is scheduled to graduate summer 2022 and will take the nationally recognized A.R.R.T. (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) exam to get certified.
Graduates of the program perform diagnostic imaging procedures and go onto work at hospitals, clinics and mobile x-ray units.
“Clinics and hospitals have their main x-ray rooms where every type of x-ray is conducted,” said Ruvalcaba. “And then we have the mobile units (compacted x-ray machines) which we take to the trauma floors in case the patient can’t come to us.”
National Radiologic Technology Week® is celebrated annually to recognize the essential work of radiologic technologists (R.T.) across the nation beginning Nov. 7 – Nov.13.
For more information about STC’s Radiologic Technology program visit, https://nah.southtexascollege.edu/rad/