NAIT’s MRI students enrich their education through a crucial gift-in-kind from MIC Medical Imaging

Published on September 20, 2022

Since 2019, MIC Medical Imaging has offered the use of their Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) space, equipment and staff oversight to give students real hands-on and real-world experience generating MRI diagnostic images.

Although NAIT utilizes an MRI simulator in their programs it does not have a clinical strength MRI machine so this gift-in-kind has been invaluable. “Advancements in technology have made it possible for students to simulate MRI scans from the comfort of home or in the classroom,” says Brianne Forest, Program Chair – Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 1st and 2nd discipline programs, NAIT School of Health and Life Sciences. “Still, the student experience each year during labs at MIC Medical Imaging has proven that there is no substitution for real-life experience and integration into the clinical environment.”

Partnering to train future MRI technologists

“For us, this gift aligns with our organizational values and demonstrates support for our educational partners,” says Brian de Haan, Director of Operations, MIC Medical Imaging. “It’s a way we can make a meaningful contribution using our resources to help provide a more life-like experience for NAIT’s MRI students.”

Shannon Stefaniuk, Site Manager at MIC Medical Imaging’s Century Park location adds, “While it’s important that the students get exposure to our clinical setting, our staff also have an opportunity to meet the students throughout the evening rotation and be involved, in a small way, in student development. We recognize that these students are the ones we want sitting beside us as technologists down the road.”

Real-world learning

Typically, a cohort of 18 MRI 1st discipline students is divided into 4 lab groups. In each weekly 2-hour lab, the students practice on a specific area of the body (with another student acting as the patient) to learn, from start to finish, what’s involved in generating diagnostic images. Since 2019, sixty-eight students have used MIC Medical Imaging’s facilities, representing 400 hours of experiential learning.

"As a hands-on learner, having the opportunity to learn at MIC Medical Imaging helped to clarify and reinforce the theory that I learned in the classroom,” says MRI 1st discipline student, Austin Harrison. “Gaining experience through MIC Medical Imaging and working with the software and equipment used in hospitals and clinics allowed me to hit the ground running when I entered the practicum portion of the program. Not only did it accelerate my capability as a student technologist, but it made the transition to a fast-paced, real-world setting smooth and comfortable."

MRI 1st discipline student Abigail Fedoruk adds, "MRI is like putting together a 1000-piece puzzle in a time crunch. You learn so much information so quickly in the didactic portion of school and then try to figure out how you're going to apply all this knowledge out in the real world. The opportunity to be at MIC Medical Imaging made those puzzle pieces start to fit together and connect so much easier. Learning with an actual scanner and real-life scenarios is game changing. MIC Medical Imaging built up my confidence as a student technologist and it allowed me to be in situations that textbooks just can't teach. This prepared me to go out into my first clinical, sit down at a scanner and not be scared to just start scanning."

“MIC Medical Imaging’s support of student education in the diagnostic imaging disciplines is so clearly reflected in this generous gift of access to MRI equipment for hands-on labs, staff oversight, and in their leadership advocacy for NAIT students and graduates,” says Denise MacIver, Dean, NAIT School of Health and Life Sciences. “On behalf of NAIT, the School and the MRI programs, it is an honor to work with MIC Medical Imaging and we are very grateful for their support.”

“NAIT’s been a great partner to work with,” adds Brian. “I think we’ve both demonstrated a commitment to students through this partnership and MIC Medical Imaging is happy to continue it. It is a commitment that, in the end, sets students up for success and we're honoured to do it.”

About NAIT 

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With 35,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to the provincial economy. NAIT’s School of Health and Life Sciences has a rich tradition of educating allied health care professionals and The Centre for Advanced Medical Simulation strengthens student skills via its inter-professional health education programming.

Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

About MIC Medical Imaging

MIC Medical Imaging is Alberta’s largest radiology partnership. They have 96 radiologists with diverse sub-specialties and areas of expertise and over 450 technologists and support staff. MIC radiologists play an essential role in 12 Edmonton area hospitals and community health centres, providing diagnostic imaging at the University Hospitals, Stollery Children’s Hospital, Mazankowski Heart Institute, Kaye Edmonton Clinic, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Strathcona Community Hospital, Sturgeon Community Hospital, Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital, Leduc Community Hospital, East Edmonton Community Health Centre and Northeast Community Health Centre.

They also extend the same expert level of diagnostic imaging to practitioners and patients through their 13 community-based clinics located in Edmonton, St. Albert, Ft. Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park.

MIC Medical Imaging is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of their patients and committed to improving the health and well-being of the people in the communities they serve. To that end, they proudly support many local organizations and post-secondary institutions.


Magnetic Resonance Technologist students in the MIC MRI lab Magnetic Resonance Technologist students in the MIC MRI viewing room
Magnetic Resonance Technologist students observing instructors in the MIC MRI lab