Emerging medical professionals begin careers in pandemic

By Pari Apostolakos

Katelyn Smith has always loved helping people. UI7 Live’s very own Pari Apostolakos learned more about what it was like for Smith to begin her career as a Radiologic Technologist at Carle Foundation in Hospital in May of this year, and all the challenges and rewards which came along the way.

There’s usually a learning curve when it comes to first jobs, but starting out in a hospital during a pandemic, like first year radiologic technologist Katelyn Smith, is a different story.

“You know, you see on the news that people are getting sick and they are dying from COVID, but actually being in the room and seeing how bad it actually can be, it was scary. It was very real,” she said.

Working in the E.R. Kate’s job was always going to be stressful, but COVID-19 has raised the stakes.

“There’s no time for any sort of, like, mistakes, and you have to be adamant about your precautions,” she said.

Although some might shy away from the challenge, Kate feels empowered by the work she has been doing.

“Obviously there are people that have been working for 30 or 40 years and they’ve never seen anything like this…if I start out in this, it’s easy from here,” she said.

And so far, Kate’s manager, Ariel Kinkelaar, only has positive things to say about her.

“She’s a great example of somebody that came in as a new hire and has really succeeded in that role … and excelled in what she does,” Kinkelaar said.

It’s a good thing too, because pandemic or not, this is her true passion.

“I love working with patients, I love being a part of their journey in whatever they;re going through and I know it can be very difficult. And I see … the worst of the worst. Just being a light in their life and showing them that there is good people that work in healthcare.”