A Radiographer and Clinical Manager at Houston Medical Imaging
Houston Medical Imaging (HMI) is a full-modality imaging center with multiple locations across Houston. Running a successful business that delivers exceptional patient care is no small task and requires high level professionals who can deliver consistent, thoughtful, as well as compassionate care to patients. At HMI, we are very fortunate to have hired some excellent technologist over the years, most of whom are still with us. We strive to find individuals that not only want a stable career, but also want to make a difference in people’s lives. One such person is Kimberly Bridwell.
Kimberly moved to Houston with her family from Delaware when she was in high school. She started her professional journey into healthcare 19 years ago. She knew she wanted to work in healthcare in order to have the ability to help people, but she wasn’t sure what path to take. One of her friends was in enrolled in radiology school and encouraged her to do some research into the profession. Her friend relayed what it was like to be in radiology school and how a skillset of this nature allowed you to work with technology that ultimately helps people. This encouraged her to take a leap and she enrolled in school. Her original plan was to become a sonographer, but then decided that radiology was the path for her. Nineteen years later, she is still thrilled with her decision. She received her degree and registry in radiology and CT. Kimberly has worked with HMI for eight years, starting as a technologist and then assuming the role as clinic manager at the outpatient imaging center located on Campbell.
I asked Kim what made radiology so appealing to her as a young student and she said, “Having the ability to look into someone’s body was so fascinating and intriguing, not to mention that I had the ability to help identify a potential disease. Learning about how dynamic our human bodies are, provided me a passion for this job.”
When asked what she liked most about her job, she said that having the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life is by far the most rewarding, “I get to interact with patients all day long. I try and treat all patients as ‘human beings”, I want to make them feel as comfortable as possible in what can be a very stressful time. I try to identify with people and put them at ease as quickly as I can. The team I work with are all professionals and have the same desire to deliver great customer service and improve in areas that we may lack in. The radiologists are a great resource to all of us technologists. Dr. Stenoien has grown a very successful business and is a wonderful doctor which is not easy to do.”
We talked about job motivation and what keeps her going. She very passionately said that she feels like she is doing good every day. Technology is always advancing, and it keeps her job interesting, not to mention all the people that she gets to meet. She feels a responsibility to the patient to learn as much as she can about them, such as their medical history, symptoms, previous exams, surgeries etc., as all information is seen as pieces to a puzzle that must be collected and then relayed to the radiologist. Diagnosing a patient takes a team effort and she promotes an environment that works in collaboration.
Kimberly not only manages the clinics and other technologist, but she also maintains a full schedule of scanning patients in either CT or MRI. Her day is typically busy, fast-paced, and full of excitement, with no two days ever being the same. “We work as a team to ensure our patients are taken care of, not only in a timely manner, but also in a professional one. At the end of the day, our job is to ensure the patient has an experience as comfortable as possible, whether it’s offering music, pillows, or blankets to make the exams as tolerable as possible.”
Kimberly often finds herself multi-tasking, ensuring that the clinic is running smoothly, and on time. Problem solving is another responsibility that she doesn’t take lightly. When asked what her biggest challenge is during the day, she told me “adding more patients to the schedule”. At HMI, they try to accommodate as many patients as possible especially when it is a stat-order. “We rely on our referring physicians, so maintaining a trust with them and their patients is an absolute must.”
According to Kimberly, one of the biggest misconceptions is that patients think that the technologist can describe if they “see anything” on the images. "The radiologist is the person who will review the images and then will send a report to the referring doctor to discuss the results with the patient." Understandably, patients are anxious and prefer to know what is wrong with them instantly. However, they must understand that the technologist play a very specific role in the diagnostic process and discussing anything related to the exam is not authorized under their license.
“I love that HMI is always on the forefront with technology. Dr. Stenoien focuses his attention on ensuring that we deliver the best in care.” Kim has pride knowing that she is part of an organization whose main goal is to continually improve the patient experience and meet referring physicians’ needs with high quality and quick report turnaround. She also said that her patients mention quite often that the out-of-pocket costs are considerably less at HMI when compared to hospital-based facilities.
She feels like she is constantly growing while working at HMI as there is always an opportunity to add to her skillset, like learning new technology, which in turn, allows her to give back to the community.
While sitting with Kimberly, it was clear that she possesses a very calm demeanor, which no doubt allows her to be good at what she does and compassionately care for patients.
This calm demeanor is also a strength in her personal life as her home was flooded during hurricane Harvey and her family lived on the second floor as they slowly rebuilt their first floor. When asked about the ordeal, she very positively said “It’s been a challenge, but at least we had a second floor to live on while we remodeled. There were so many people that dealt with much worse circumstances.” I admire her positive outlook on life and maintaining composure while talking about a very stressful time. Everything about Kimberly says that she is a kind and considerate human being.
I asked her if she had a magic wand what would she change in healthcare, her response was not what I expected, but at the same time completely understandable- “I would speed up the MRI scan time so we could schedule more patients and not be so rushed to stay on schedule when we are trying to accommodate stat orders.” You can tell that all her energy at work is dedicated to ensuring that patients are cared for.
When not at work, Kim is raising a daughter. They love to swim and recently started to travel.
HMI is grateful for the hard work and dedication to our patients that Kimberly and all the technologists provide. They are a very valuable part of the team.