When she first started with Methodist Hospitals, Rita Rendina had the option to work at the Northlake location, but instead she decided to work at the Soutlake location. This was a decision that would lead Rita to a dream job that she did not even know existed yet. Through her role at the Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals she has helped save lives, comforted struggling women, and witnessed the evolution of the battle against breast cancer.
It has been over 35 years since Rita first joined Methodist Hospitals as an X-Ray Technician. She has seen machines come and go as technology advanced. In 1995, when mammography expanded and became a dedicated and separate department from general x-rays, she took the registry test and joined the new department.
“I was always interested,” said Rita. “I was very passionate about working with women one-on-one and making them feel less uncomfortable. I also have a chance to educate them.”
In 2012, Methodist opened the Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center, an extension of the hospital intent on providing high-quality exams in a soft, comfortable environment. It was in many ways a realization of Rita’s goals. She was made the Senior Mammography Technologist, a challenge and a reward. She learns something new every day.
Early detection of breast cancer is what drives the Center.
“Breast cancer is not a doomsday diagnosis. Back [when I started] we didn’t know a lot about the disease, it was scary.”
The Breast Care Center teaches women what to look and feel for in self exams. Technologsts like Rita give mammograms, and if anything abnormal is spotted, they take great pride in providing follow up tests on the same day. Mammograms are followed by ultrasounds, then biopsies - if necessary.
If they find cancer in its early stages, it is often very treatable.
“It’s all about survivorship. Cancer is always a bad word but they have come so far with treatment, it is not a death sentence. [This job] has made me a better person and made me appreciate life more. You learn to live in the moment and count your blessings,” she explained.
Rita’s next step in her career is to take the Bone Density Registry test. She is a leader in her department, steps up to help her supervisor with scheduling and administration, and assist doctors while they are performing tests. Being on the Bone Density Registry is one more way she can be a part of her patients’ journeys.
“Ever since I was little, I was the one taking care of my siblings. Little did I know I would be doing this as a career,” she explained. You can hear Rita smile over the phone. “It takes a certain personality to be here, to take care of these women. We are all very passionate.”
For more information on the Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospital, click here.