Radiology Tech students visit Crossroads Hospital, try out Robotic Assisted Surgery Equipment

MT. VERNON, Ill. (Feb. 11, 2014) – Two dozen Rend Lake College Radiologic Technology students made their way to Crossroads Community Hospital last week to get a hands-on approach at learning all about the latest in robotic assisted surgery to help them with clinical practice and in the workplace after they graduate.

The students were able to use the robotic assisted surgery equipment and simulator at Crossroads after learning about the uses of the equipment and the training involved. The equipment came out of Stanford University in 1999 to be used, primarily, for patients with prostate cancer. Now, the machine can be used for many different surgeries, from hysterectomies to gallbladders, and single-site surgery.

While using the robot, students have the ability to move a number of arms while looking at a 3-D image. The arms can have a number of tools to use during surgery and give more flexibility than the human wrist.

Freshman Justin Holman of Ewing was one of the first to get his hands on the simulator. He said, after he completes his Radiologic Technology certificate, he is planning on moving on to a further degree, and maybe working with advanced machines like the robot.

“It’s really neat to use because the technology is pretty amazing. It’s true 3-D. To be able to look into it and see actual things up close is really cool,” said Holman.

DaVinciuser wRend Lake College Radiologic Technology student Cody Watkins of Johnston City, SITTING, uses the robotic assisted surgery equipment to move items the size of a penny last week at Crossroads Community Hospital in Mt. Vernon. Click on the image for a larger view.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

Another freshman, Tabitha Harris of Christopher, added it was similar to playing a video game, only with pincher-like tools as the controls.

“It’s pretty neat to use. I’d love to do something like this,” said Harris.

Radiology Program Director Bria Robinson attended the class as well and thanked Crossroads for providing the opportunity to the students.

“We like to expose our students to any new technology, especially when we partner with our local hospitals to do so. Our students do clinicals at local hospitals like Crossroads, and it’s a great opportunity to get them here,” said Robinson. “Some of our students may want to go on from Radiology. We try to teach them quality over quantity, and we appreciate everything Crossroads does to help us with that goal.”

DaVinciarms wShaquala Versteeg-Knifechief of Macedonia watches as another student uses the controls to move a number of arms on the robotic surgery equipment. Versteeg-Knifechief said the experience of using the new device was exciting and different. Click on the image for a larger view.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

Students were also able to speak with Medical Director of Imaging Services Dr. James Tarter and Imaging Department Director Kerri Carr. Both encouraged the students to follow what they love to do and they will have a career – not a job.

In another effort to help the students, Crossroads is also donating $120 to the Rend Lake College Foundation – $4 per attendee – to help future Radiologic Technology students.

For more information about the RLC Radiologic Technology Program, call 618-437-5321, Ext. 1251. Applications for the program can be found online at

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