Posted on: December 5, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Xena Romo, JRN 111 Student

If everyone could see COVID through her eyes, Crystal Lozano thinks the world would be a safer place.

“I feel like people in the public don’t take the pandemic as seriously as they do in the hospital, which makes me feel less safe,” says Lozano, 22, who works as a radiology assistant at Edward Hospital in Naperville.

Starting off as an orderly, Lozano worked her way up to become a radiology assistant, a position that is giving her a firsthand look of what to expect in her upcoming field.

In 2018, Lozano began her studies at College of DuPage, majoring in radiography. She chose the medical route because of her father’s passing in 2016. Seeing all the staff members in the hospital and everything they did to try to help her father awoke something in her.

“Being able to save someone’s life is what inspired me to go into the medical field,” Lozano said.

Because of her job, Lozano literally sees coronavirus in a way few people can. She explains that through radiographs, it is possible to detect COVID. In the first wave, she said, doctors would order a chest X-ray or a scan. If either of them returned with foggy or glossy results, doctors would have an idea if they were dealing with a possible COVID patient.

“Doing this, I was able to see what COVID looks like through a scan,” Lozano said.

Lozano is not yet qualified to take the actual images of patients, but she helps prep the patient. She begins by setting the patient up for the scan, gets them on the table, positions them correctly and then finally, the technologist takes the pictures. She and the technologist then review the images to ensure that they are acceptable for a proper diagnosis.

During her typical eight-hour workday, she takes many precautions to avoid any possible contamination of COVID. At the hospital, she not only has protective equipment like goggles, gloves, and gowns, but constantly is surrounded by hand sanitizers and sinks to wash her hands. In addition to a mask, she wears a face shield.

 “I’d get rashes on my ears from wearing the mask and goggles all day,” Lozano said.

Lozano experiences difficult times with patients along with the difficulties in her environment. The patients’ nerves play a big factor in their behavior and attitude towards medical attendees. With restrictions put in place to limit patients and their guests, it’s a “s—show,” Lozano says.

Both she and her mother work in health care so they take equal precautions. To ensure their safety, when she gets home, Lozano throws her scrubs into the washer and showers.

“I would change at work into my regular clothes so that way I wouldn’t contaminate my car and bring gems into my house,” Lozano stated.

Lozano plans to continue to take in everything she sees, fighting through this learning experience in hopes that being in this environment will help her as her career grows into her future.

Photos courtesy of Crystal Lozano.