There are many moments that I look back on this year, but my favorite was my very first day at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I began my journey here this past January as a radiology tech aide — my very first job in a hospital. To say I had little experience under my belt would be an understatement. But soon enough, and with the help with my fellow CT techs, I caught on. My co-workers not only modeled how to do the job, but they also, most importantly, demonstrated empathy and compassion. I knew then that I was exactly where I was meant to be — here at BWH.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital has always been a huge part of my life. I am both a Brigham baby and the daughter of a former sonographer at Brigham: Karen Carten. My mother worked as an imaging technologist for 33 years. She started her career at 850 Boylston and then moved to the Foxborough campus as their lead sonographer. My mother loved her career and the role she played in patients’ lives, but what she didn’t know is how big of a role she would play in my own career. In May 2018, I lost my mother to a sudden illness. She had just turned 61 and was full of love and light. She was such a bright light not only for the Foxborough family but also for Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a whole. I feel so lucky and loved.

I’ll never forget my first time bringing a patient to their room. I do not drive in general, so driving stretchers was a whole new ballgame. I remember talking with a patient while bringing her through the Emergency Department, and she asked me what made me want to get into radiology. The answer was really so simple, yet it felt so hard to articulate. But in the moment with that patient — explaining my past and present — it felt so safe to tell my story. I felt a sense of comfort, happiness and love come over me. Most importantly, I felt my mother, and, in fact, I continue to feel her every time I walk into the entrance to 75 Francis St.

Each moment I am given with a patient is one that is easily time well spent. From my own experience, we never know when our last moment is our last, so be sure to make each one count. That patient interaction in the ED opened a new door in helping me become who I am meant to be here at BWH. It’s true what they say: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Ellie Carten
Radiology Tech Aide, Department of Radiology