It’s a very good thing that radiography student Kristin Ploshay, Pottstown, likes to be busy. Between enrolling in classes at Montgomery County Community College when she was 18, raising her young daughter, and clinical rotations, Ploshay don’t remember what it’s like to slow down. Luckily, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
When Ploshay applied to the MCCC radiography program in 2010, she had graduated high school a year earlier and was looking for a way to better herself and provide for her then two year old daughter. Choosing radiography, Ploshay felt as if she was taking a risk with a field that she knew little about, but she was hopeful.
“I love the hospital environment. I had known forever that I wanted to work in a hospital,” Ploshay shared. “I like dealing with different kinds of patients, and I like to hear their stories too.”
For Ploshay, a huge part of her transition into college and the unknown world of radiography was smoothed over with guidance and support from the KEYS program.
“KEYS helped out financially, especially with providing money for the textbooks. And they helped to make it a more comfortable environment, because college is so different than high school,” Ploshay mentioned. “This way I could see the same person to schedule my classes and it felt like I had more guidance. It’s kind of like having a guidance counselor and an adviser all at once.”
It turns out radiography was the perfect choice for Ploshay, who definitely feels the rewards of working so closely with patients and hearing about their journeys.
“Patients come and you take the image and it might give them the diagnoses they were looking for. It’s a great feeling,” Ploshay said. “You can get some pretty cool stories from people.”
Of course the transition into college and radiography was not always an easy one, and certainly not a well-rested one for Ploshay who was raising a “night owl” toddler and then waking up early to get to clinical. Her parents were extremely supportive of her going back to school, which Ploshay credits with her successful transition.
“I have the full support of my parents,” Ploshay shared. “I have a built in babysitter there. I wouldn’t have made it through anything…I wouldn’t have graduated high school without their support.”
Even with the encouragement from both MCCC and her family, Ploshay had to make adjustments in order to move forward.
“It really took a toll on me,” Ploshay revealed. “Walking back and forth and up and down to get patients. It’s a lot of exercise. I’m half dead and so tired and they are working me to the bone. At home I would just sit on the couch and with the books, playing with my daughter, and try to study as much as I could.”
Ploshay’s hard work paid off however, as evidenced by her excellent grades and involvement in the radiography club. Ploshay was among the students chosen earlier this spring to represent the MCCC radiography program at a competition during a trip to Florida for national conferences. However she insists that she couldn’t have gotten so far without the support of her MCCC community.
“We all support each other,” Ploshay said of the radiography students. “We all help each other and we’re all rooting for each other. It’s kind of like a big family.”
Ploshay is getting ready to graduate in May and at this point she not only has adapted to staying busy on her feet as both a mother and a radiography student, she has actually found that the demanding roles can at times complement each other.
“At home my daughter definitely keeps me on my toes, and sometimes with patients you have to be on your toes,” Ploshay clarified. “And having a daughter helps me deal with certain patients, and it helps me interact with little kids as patients. Because I have her it helps me to communicate better.”
For Ploshay, staying on her toes and staying busy is the plan, which is why her ideal job is working at a hospital in Philadelphia.
“I want to see all of the trauma,” Ploshay insisted. “I want to be worked really hard. There is a bigger flow of patients and there is no time to sit around.”
For now, Ploshay is getting ready to graduate, spending time with her daughter, and waiting to take certification tests before applying to more urban hospitals. But she’s definitely not becoming idle anytime soon.
“It’s just what I’m used to,” Ploshay admitted. “I want to keep going and going.”
~ by Kelly Cox