Inspired early on by her father, who was a firefighter and emergency medical technician, Melanie Mears was also greatly impacted by her grandmother’s diagnosis and subsequent passing from cancer when she was 11. At that point she knew that she wanted to do something in the medical field but wasn’t quite sure what. She found her answer at age 12, following an accident that saw her break her arm. As she was being treated, she met an x-ray technologist and was instantly struck by the thought of what a cool job that was. Ms. Mears achieved her x-ray certification in 2000 and additional certification in nuclear medicine in 2001.
Ms. Mears began her career with Mobilex USA, an x-ray laboratory, before going on to spend two years with Easton Hospital in Easton, Pennsylvania. Feeling it important to never stop learning new things, she furthered her education independently, gathering and studying all the materials necessary to take the CT registry exam offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists on her own. She passed the exam in 2020 and became licensed as a certified tomography, or CT, scan technician. Additionally, this certification notably made her triple certified in radiology, something she cites among the highlights of her career. Over the course of her career and education, Ms. Mears has been particularly grateful to the support of her mentors, Debbie Miller, Suzanne Brenner, Jean Leinhart, and the director of her x-ray program.
Today, Ms. Mears excels as a CT technologist in the level one trauma center at Lehigh Valley Hospital, also known as Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, the flagship hospital of the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She sees a wide range of sick and injured patients every day, including people who have suffered from severe strokes, brain injury or other trauma. Her duties as a CT technologist involve using imaging machines and tools to create maps of patients’ internal systems to assess overall health as well as accurately interpreting scanning instructions from physicians, administering contact materials, preparing patients for scans, and operating the scan equipment. In addition to their regular patients, in recent years Ms. Mears’ duties have also grown to encompass seeing to COVID-19 patients.
Motivated by the knowledge that she is doing something that will make a difference in someone’s worst day, Ms. Mears’ plans for the future include continuing to further her professional skills and eventually obtaining certification as a positron emission tomography, or PET, scan technologist. In an effort to remain up to date with new developments in her field, she maintains professional affiliation with several industry organizations, including the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. She would advise anyone looking to get involved in radiology or who is just starting out in the field to never give up hope, no matter how difficult it appears. Attributing much of her success to the support of her parents, who were always behind her 100% and encouraged her in all of her endeavors, Ms. Mears also credits her innate sense of empathy along with the expert knowledge she has cultivated throughout her career.
Ms. Mears was born in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, to mother Julianne Mears and father William Mears. She later married her husband, John Jennings, and they spent many happy years together until his passing in 2020. Her family also includes her two brothers. Above everything, Ms. Mears hopes to leave a legacy as someone with a big heart, who was always compassionate and empathetic to the people around her.