As an immigrant from Poland, Dorota Koniec opted to study radiology as she launched her new life in Chicago because she didn’t know much English and figured it wouldn’t require her to talk very much. Ironically, it is her talking that makes her so successful at what she does as an Ella Health mammo tech.
The key to making women feel more comfortable during the exam, she said, is to keep them engaged.
“I try to keep their mind off of what they’re doing,” she explained. “You have to really read people. Sometimes you have to be professional and not joke, but other times it’s better to try to make them laugh.”
Dorota came to America seventeen years ago to be with her sister. She was almost 30 and starting her life from scratch. It wasn’t easy learning the language while studying to be an X-ray tech.
“I was determined. I had to do something with my life,” she said. “You have to be really dedicated, and I was. I would study with a dictionary because most of the words I didn’t know.”
But she finished the program and found work that satisfied her for nearly a decade. Then, she was ready for another challenge. She had realized how much she liked working with patients and that led her to mammography.
“I knew I could make these women happy, and I do,” she said.
One of her favorite things is to ask her patients about where they’ll be shopping after the appointment. She tells them they should get two presents, one for each breast. She’ll even tell them about where the best nearby sales are.
She also puts women in charge during the exam. She tells them to let her know how they are feeling so she can stop the compression before it becomes too uncomfortable.
“This is team work, we do this together,” she said.
Dorota’s tips for a better experience:
- Schedule your appointment ten days before you expect to get your period. Avoid coming in right before your period. Breasts often are more tender at this time. You can easily call and reschedule if need be.
- Come in every year. As you get older, your breast tissue changes. If you come in every year, your doctors can monitor the changes more closely, making it less likely that you will be called back.
- Tell your mammo tech if you are nervous or scared about the exam. She can take the time you need to make it go more smoothly.
We’re happy to hear from our patients:
I loved the white robes and the excellent Mammography Techologist who taken my test. Her name is Ms. Dorota Koniec RT of your agency. She is an excellent person and truly care for her patients. I am so happy I had her as my specialist. If you had a survey I would give her very high performance. Thank you Ella Health of Chicago for my excellent experience. — Audrey
The technician Dorota Koniec was wonderful. What a breath of fresh air she is. I loved every moment and my mammogram was actually a pleasant experience for the first time in my life. Kudos to Doroto! –Carol