Trending: Where Did the Mammographers Go?

There have been frequent postings recently lamenting the fact that directors cannot fill or even get applicants for their vacant positions in mammography.

How did this trend happen? Are we so confused by Covid that we lost track? Did the shutdown of normal mammo departments mask or delay the realization of shortages? Or has the entry into the field and the clinical requirements coupled with fears of liability reduced the window of entry to only the chosen few who are selected by facilities.

AHEC decided to ask our readers to share what they knew about this trend among the rank and file mammographers. The respondents were 92% RT(R)(M) and 85% were over the age of 36 years. The respondents were spread across 26 states giving a good cross section of the nation.

The responding mammographers reported that 52% either had a vacancy or knew of vacancies at other facilities. This gives some veracity to the trends reported. It seems to be a well known fact that new radiologic technologists do not favor advanced training in mammography as 47% reported they knew or had heard others describe this phenomenon. In conjunction with the verification of vacancies, mammographers were asked if the Covid-19 pandemic caused o-workers to retire and/or stop working and 71% said they did not know anyone who had retired or stopped working because of Covid-19.

Practicing mammographers were presented with a list of reasons and asked their opinions regarding the influence these factors had on the entry to the field of mammography. Their responses are reported in the table below.

Pay scale too low 21.2%
Afraid of repetitive motion injuries 7.0
Do not want to work closely with patients 8.0
No interest in mammo modality 34.3
Afraid of MQSA regulations and liability 20.2
Other 9.0

The other category produced many comments such as new technologists do not want to work that hard, federal guidelines are strenuous and very time consuming, and multiple comments about lack of interpersonal skills and not wanting to get that close to the patients.

Practicing mammographers were asked if the MQSA training entry to the field of mammography was too difficult and a resounding 87% said the training guidelines were not too strict. This is huge support and understanding about how critical it is to learn the fundamentals of basic mammography.

Mammographers were asked to respond to the process of electronic job applications and the impact on recruitment and employment and 56% said it made the process more difficult than applying through the facility in person.

We will be closely watching if the job vacancies multiply and the trend becomes more pronounced affecting patient availability.

2 thoughts on “Trending: Where Did the Mammographers Go?

  1. I became a registered mammographer in 2001. Worked doing mammography for a year and went back to X-ray. I’ve kept up my CEU’S and registry. What do I need to do to get back into mammography? Could I take one of your training sessions to get my 50 exams under supervision so that I can get a job?

    1. AT the present time, clinical assignments for obtaining compliance has been suspended during Covid precautions. We currently are only accepting technologists for mammography that have a facility sponsor that can provide clinical experience under the facility guidelines. If you have a sponsor, we can work with them to get you requalified. The other alternative now is to wait until things change with the pandemic. Please keep up with us as we will announce when we can accommodate technologists who must requalify.

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