Academic Excellence Award: Courtney Holst, Radiologic Technology

Courtney Holst always knew she wanted to be in the medical field. But it wasn’t until she had her own experience with an X-ray technician that she knew Radiologic Technology was her path in life.

“I knew I wanted a career in the medical field, but I didn’t know what it would look like,” Host said. “When I got an X-ray in high school for a softball injury, I thought it was cool.”

Originally from Calumet, in northern Minnesota, Holst attended Itasca Community College after graduating from high school and earned her associate of arts degree. While she was there she began researching Radiologic Technology programs. The program was offered at a college up north, but it had a three-year wait list. So Holst started to look at other options. That’s when she came across Dunwoody.

Holst had never heard of Dunwoody before, but she decided to come down for an open house and take a tour.

“As soon as I walked into the building and met Dave [Blake], I knew,” Holst said. “I love the small class sizes, and the clinical experience we get here is amazing. It’s all hands-on and we are [at our clinical sites] even more than we’re here.”

Holst has had two different clinical experiences during her time at Dunwoody. She spent one semester in a clinic setting at Park Nicollet, but most of her time has been spent at North Memorial Hospital, a level one trauma center. And it is here, where Holst has discovered what she really loves to do.

“Being in surgery is my favorite,” Host said. “It is mainly the critical thinking aspect. Two procedures in the same day could go completely different. I like seeing how it all works together and everyone’s part in it.”

Being in a hospital environment also provides a lot of variety. From performing mobile X-rays to dealing with emergencies, Holst likes the fast-paced environment.

“It’s a lot of thinking on your feet,” she said. “I always knew that I couldn’t sit down for eight hours a day. I knew I had to be moving and not in front of a computer all day.”

Holst said her cohort of classmates have kept her motivated during her time at Dunwoody – they all encourage and push each other to do their best.

“Dunwoody is a close-knit group of people who want everyone to succeed no matter what their circumstances,” she said. “There is always someone there to help when you need it.”

And Holst has risen to every challenge. She was one of two students selected as an Academic Excellence Award recipient for the Radiologic Technology program.

“Since day one, Courtney has been a go-getter,” said Blake, Radiologic Technology Program Manager. “She truly demonstrates compassionate care to her patients. Since health organizations are putting more emphasis on their customers, Courtney is already heading in the right direction. She is constantly thinking after each exam she does, how she could have improved the comfort of the patient.”

The style of learning has also helped Holst excel in and out of the classroom, even while balancing a part-time job, school, and clinicals.

“It’s a lot more hands-on here, and there are smaller class sizes,” Holst said. “The instructors also really care about what we are doing and how we are doing. And I know I’ll be getting a job, but loving what I’m doing is the biggest motivator.”

Holst has already earned a permanent spot at North Memorial as a radiologic technologist as soon as she graduates and passes the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam, which she plans to take in early July.

“I love the environment there,” Holst said.

Besides the technical skills she has learned at Dunwoody, Holst said one of the biggest lessons she has learned is gaining confidence in herself.

“I just want to be the best I can be and give patients the best care,” she said. “We don’t spend a long time with patients, but I want the time I do spend with them to be the best time it can be. I want to be someone that others want to learn from.”