Spotlight: Jessica A. Pfannenstiel, BSRT (R)(CT)

Jessica A. Pfannenstiel, BSRT (R)(CT)Jessica A. Pfannenstiel, BSRT (R)(CT), manages CT operations at Parnassus Heights, Benioff Children’s Hospital at Mission Bay, the Spine Center at China Basin, the Precision Cancer Medical Building, and Mount Zion Medical Center. 
 
Brought up in the small town of Munjor, KS, Jessica recalls that “The town population was about 150 people. Life was good and full of family.” She spent her high school and college years in Hays, KS, just a few miles from Munjor. 
 
Looking back, Jessica attributes her career success to setting aside time to discern her goals. “I went from being an English major to a pre-law then took a year off to figure out what I really wanted.” Jessica’s paternal grandfather was among her best supporters, offering essential advice in education planning. Around the same time, a friend of Jessica’s was in the radiology tech program and her excitement piqued Jessica’s interest. “I asked a bunch of questions, then applied. I did not get in the first time.” After completing a few medical courses and then reapplying, Jessica was accepted. As a student Jessica performed mammography, clinical ultrasound, and MRI procedures. 
 
The fast pace of CT imaging was a draw for Jessica and she focused her efforts there: “I wanted a diverse radiology background and the tools to manage a team, so obtaining a bachelors was a must for me.”  In 1998, Jessica graduated from Fort Hays State University in Kansas with an Associate’s Degree in Radiologic Technology & bachelor’s degree in Medical Diagnostic Imaging.
 
After two years of working at Riverside Hospital in Wichita, KS, Jessica ventured out as a traveling CT technologist. “It was the best move to advance and diversify my career. I experienced what it meant to work in a fast-paced trauma center like the Medical Center of Aurora, Colorado, as well as academic teaching institutions in Pennsylvania, and smaller hospitals. 
 
Aside from using an array of imaging modalities, the relationships Jessica made with other technololgists along the way taught her the most. “Some have been technologists for their entire careers. I was lucky to be shown the do’s and don’ts of radiologic imaging early in my career. I credit most of my CT skills to the many career-technologists I’ve worked alongside.”
 
Jessica enjoys keeping up with advancing technologies and decided to set up home base in the action-packed Bay Area.  In 2001 Jessica relocated to California for contract work at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, CA, the VA Hospital in Palo Alto and Marin General Hospital. “I feel lucky to have been contracted at these beautiful coast-side locations.”
 
Jessica’s career at UCSF began in 2003. “A contract came up at UCSF and I jumped on board.”  She recalls that techs, first-year and second-year residents would often learn from each other.  “I’d show them how to scan and they’d show me what we were looking for. I even spotted appendicitis once. I learned and shared so much during the first few years of my career at UCSF. I miss the in-person collaboration between new trainees and technologists.”
 
In 2007, Jessica accepted a career position and by 2008 she took on the CT supervisor role, which led to the CT Operations role in 2016 overseeing multiple sites. “I still enjoy scanning and patient interaction, which I do on occasion to fill any gaps in staffing.”
 
Jessica has received advice from many people. The greatest career advice given to her was to take time for herself.  “Work often dominates so taking moments to refresh and reboot goes a long way physically and emotionally.”
 
Radiology has changed dramatically over the last 22 years and Jessica is excited to be a part of it.  “I humbly work alongside some of the best staff and Radiologists that I have ever encountered in my career. I’m especially lucky to have witnessed the construction of the new Mission Bay Hospitals and look forward to being part of the new Parnassus Heights hospital set to open in 2030."

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