WESTFIELD – Meet Kerri Degrange, RTRM, who works in the mammography department at Baystate Noble Hospital. Degrange is part of the breast health team at the hospital. The following article is in her own words and highlights what she does at Baystate Noble and the mammography services offered to patients.
I was recruited as a new technologist to work in Mammography in the mid-1990s. I originally trained and worked at Baystate, left the area for a period of time and five years ago returned to be closer to home and work for Baystate Health again in the Mammography department at Baystate Noble; a total of 24 years as a mammographer. I have to admit, I instantly felt as if I was truly making a difference in the imaging world when I became a mammographer. I absolutely love working with people. If I can make their mammogram experience a positive one, then perhaps they won’t be so hesitant to come back each year.
I enjoy working in mammography for many reasons. I do find it challenging, more so on an emotional level. Following the patient from an initial screening exam and at times to the Operating Room with the removal of the radioactive seed for lumpectomy. Our radioactive seed program with the breast surgeons is a newer process that started at Baystate Noble in June and I am very proud to be part of a team that offers new technology that truly benefits our patients. We also have a new 3D mammography machine and are providing our patients with the best state-of-the-art imaging that is available.
During this uncertain time, our patients are more anxious than ever to come for a mammogram. We want women to feel safe and secure and to know that these screening exams are just as important as ever. During this pandemic, you will find our staff with masks, goggles and gloves for every exam, in addition to cleaning and sanitizing after every patient.
Breast cancer awareness is not only one month in a mammographer’s eyes, it is a daily battle that we get through one patient at a time. The relationships I foster year to year with my patients is why I enjoy this profession. Everyone that walks through our mammography suite has a heightened level of anxiety that is unique to mammography. Often it presents in different ways. Easing patients through the exam, and more often having them walk out of my room laughing, with a smile on their face, or even exchanging a much needed hug, is such a rewarding feeling.
Our team at Baystate Noble is small and we pride ourselves with providing a more relaxed atmosphere. Working in this community hospital feels like being home to me. I grew up locally and now live in one of the hill towns. My patients are my friends, neighbors, and relatives. Being at Baystate Noble, I truly feel like I am giving back to my community.
This is the third in a series of articles promoting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the services offered by Baystate Breast and Wellness Center and Baystate Surgical Oncology and Breast Specialists. Articles will run Tuesdays throughout October.