By Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Inside the 21st Medical Group Clinic, tucked into an alcove along a main corridor in the building, is an area where a small team of Airmen use their expertise to identify troubling effects of their patients.
With specific body positions and a few clicks behind a lead wall, radiology technologists here at Peterson Air Force Base are able to look beyond the surface of the human body to discover complications lurking below.
From the top of the enlisted food chain all the way down to first term Airmen, each member of the radiology team is entrusted with training and skills that allow them to provide the best care for Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and their families.
Airman 1st Class Rachael O’Keefe, 21st Medical Support Squadron radiology technologist, has been in the Air Force the shortest amount of time in her office, but she doesn’t let that stop her dedicated professionalism and eagerness to serve patients.
The Radiology Department handles all diagnostic imaging for uniform-wearing service members, regardless of branch, as well as any family members. Ten active-duty Airmen are responsible for the Radiology Department. Six of those Airmen specialize in X-ray, the department where she works. The clinic is consistently busy, said O’Keefe.
“On a daily basis we handle all things concerning patient care,” said O’Keefe. “We handle front desk responsibilities of scheduling and patient interactions. We also prepare our patients for their mammograms, ultrasounds, X-rays and proceed to the exam rooms where we perform the exams and record the images.”
With the radiology schedule always full and the demand for service constantly lingering, O’Keefe finds her interactions with her patients to be what eases her stress after a long day.
“I love to talk with patients,” said O’Keefe. “I really enjoy meeting all the patients and asking them about where they are from and learning about them. I think it helps calm their nerves and it makes my day learning about the diversity on base.”
O’Keefe not only aids the radiology department with her strong work ethic and her recently acquired knowledge from her technical training; she also brings with her a zest that helps the department maintain its positivity and personable services.
“She’s our team cheerleader,” said Tech. Sgt. Kathryn North, 21st Medical Support Squadron radiology NCO in charge. “She’s big on morale activities and brings a new energy to the department which is nice.”
Although seeing radiology technologists may not be enjoyable under the circumstances, O’Keefe and her professionalism mixed with her enthusiasm create an atmosphere where patients can obtain the high level of patient care they come to Peterson AFB looking for.