Alumni - Jonathan Sanders - Resized

Jonathan Sanders


Class of: 2018
Degree Program: Associate of Science in Radiography

What factors led you to decide to attend Hudson County Community College?
After being laid off from my job as a Salon General Manager, I spent some time trying to figure out my next direction in life. My mother, a nurse, had suggested a job in the medical field, where you are always needed and offered job security. While I was still living in Astoria, NY, I had looked into the possibility of going back to school. While first thinking about nursing school, and discussing with my parents, my mother warned me that I might not like the “clean up” aspect of the job. I decided to return to Jersey City, where I grew up. After I started working downtown at a hair salon as a stylist, I discovered that HCCC had a radiography program. I went to ask some questions about the program, and before I knew it, I was enrolled and being scheduled for the few prerequisites that needed.

What is your favorite memory of the College, in or out of the classroom?
I have many great memories of being in my program, and also of my instructors. With the Radiography program, you basically become a big family with your classmates. We are together five days a week, and unlike other programs, we are together through the entire program. We shared many laughs over trying to memorize all of the information, creating songs, laughing over jokes that the professors had created to try to help us and also just everyday life of being in a rather stressful and intense program. We all laughed together, but also shared a good cry when the stress became too much.

What is your favorite memory of the College, in or out of the classroom?
I have many great memories of being in my program, and also of my instructors. With the Radiography program, you basically become a big family with your classmates. We are together five days a week, and unlike other programs, we are together through the entire program. We shared many laughs over trying to memorize all of the information, creating songs, laughing over jokes that the professors had created to try to help us and also just everyday life of being in a rather stressful and intense program. We all laughed together, but also shared a good cry when the stress became too much.

How did you become interested in radiography?
I was an early diagnosed case of Lyme disease back in 1989, when doctors had no idea what it was. I was in the hospital for a week before they figured out that I had a rare neurological strain. I was bedbound for three months because it had settled in my knees, and I had PICC lines which fed a medicine called rocephin (chemo without the radiation). I became very familiar with x-rays, CT’s and MRI’s. The disease returned exactly two years later, but this time focused itself in my ankles. It feels as if everything that I have ever done has led me to radiography – 20 years of retail, waiting tables, and being a hairstylist has all led me here. Understanding that scared patient, truly knowing how it feels to be in their place.

How did your time at HCCC prepare you for your career/ life now?
My time while being at HCCC truly prepared us in the radiography program for what we should expect after graduating. We spent two to three days a week actually working in the department in three CarePoint Heath locations and at Richmond University Hospital in Staten Island. We knew from the second month of school what our days would be like. This opportunity gave us time to get used to the fast pace and sometimes chaotic life of working in a hospital. I feel that this makes the program at HCCC amazing. It showed us that we needed to be strong in our knowledge but also determined not to let ourselves be overwhelmed by the whirlwind pace that school, the hospital and life were throwing at us.

What is a typical work day for you?
A typical work day for me is rather hectic and very fast paced. I was hired directly out of school by Christ Hospital, into the CAT Scan department. It was like jumping out of one fire and falling directly into another. While X-ray and CT share a same background, they are totally different. It was school all over again, while learning the concepts, positioning, the ins and outs of injecting contrast and also learning to start my own IV's. Being here now, eight months after my first day, I can truly say that it was all worth it. I love what I do. I love helping patients feel safe and calm in the department while getting tests done that could truly save their lives.

Who are your biggest inspirations that have impacted your work in some way?
My biggest inspirations are all of the amazing Techs that I work with, and the professors who shared all of their knowledge knowing that they were grooming the next generation of a profession that they love. In the two years of school and the eight months of working since, I’ve never come across anyone who wasn’t happy to teach or help you.