Why An X-Ray Tech Wears A Red Bow

Rhonda Jones, a radiological technologist has been with IU Health University Hospital for 16 years. She loves her job and has a reason for wearing a red ribbon on Fridays.

She was 10 when Rhonda Jones was diagnosed with scoliosis. Over time she became a regular patient at Riley Hospital for Children getting X-rays every three to six months to monitor the curvature of her spine. It was one of those visits for scans when a technician allowed Jones to help process the films.

“I told my mom then that I wanted to be an X-ray tech,” said Jones, 38. Her condition eventually led to multiple corrective surgeries. “I grew two inches in one day,” she said after rods were placed in her back.

She completed her degree at Ball State and worked in the film loan area of radiology while going through school. She started working at IU Health University Hospital 16 years ago where she specializes in fluoroscopy, a type of medical imaging that shows a continuous X-ray image on a monitor, much like an X-ray movie.

“I work in GI fluoroscopy which is often called the ‘barium kitchen. It involves all GI procedures such as post op swallows, barium swallows, all the way down to enemas. We do a lot of exams that people don’t want to do,” said Jones. “The most difficult part of the job is that a lot of the exams aren’t comfortable physically or emotionally. It can be embarrassing for the patient and it’s hard knowing the patient won’t be completely comfortable. I try to remind them and myself that we’re doing a lot of good,” said Jones.

“I start off by telling the patient the truth – a lot of the contrast doesn’t taste good and our table is cold hard and flat – I say ‘welcome to the barium kitchen. Our cooking isn’t good but the end result is going to help.’”

More about Jones:

  • What she likes best about her job: “Seeing the patients after they are healthy. A lot of them come back for post-op tests and I love seeing them feeling better.”
  • Hobbies: “I love hanging out with my nieces and nephews and going with them to wrestling meets.” She is also a fan of drag racing and attends the US Nationals every year.
  • Something that would surprise people to learn: In high school she taught roller-skating to kids five and under.
  • What people may not know about her: Her dad was Vietnam Vet. He died four years ago of complications from a brain tumor. He taught her to respect US Veterans. She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and every Friday she wears a red ribbon in her hair in remembrance of deployed soldiers.

-T.J. Banes