At one point in her life, Rolanda Cordero was headed to a career as an accountant. A chance discussion with a cousin had her switching to learning about becoming an X-Ray technician.

“I always liked the medical field,” she says, shrugging her shoulders about the abrupt shift. “I got accepted, and that’s all she wrote.”

After working for a bit as an X-Ray technician, Rolanda found a more permanent calling as a Registered Technologist in LVMC’s Diagnostic Imaging Department. She’s been at LVMC for 26 years and has become so popular with patients that they often complain when she’s on vacation, saying to her coworkers, “You’re not Rolanda!” It has become a bit of a joke in the department among the collegial crew.

Rolanda is responsible for conducting mammograms and breast ultrasounds in the Diagnostic Imaging Department. She is confident in her skills, saying, “I’m (darn) good at it.”

She’s also now mentoring the Santa Barbara City College X-Ray students doing their rotations at LVMC.

When she first got hired, she recalls just coming in to chat with the then-imaging director. They chatted for about an hour about her children, people in town and the like.

“He then said. ‘You got the job,’” she laughs. “I had not applied anywhere, so I said, ‘Ok.’”

Many longtime employees work in the DI department, she said, noting as a whole that it probably has the most longevity of any department.

“We’re like a family,” she says. “Even coming here (to the new hospital) didn’t stop that.”

She keeps a busy pace, and last year conducted 2,000 mammograms. LVMC now uses the latest technology known as breast tomosynthesis, also known as digital breast tomography (DBT) and 3D mammography. With the new, better imaging, Rolanda said they’ve been able to identify six cases of cancer in women that would not have been detected with the older mammography machine.

When people ask her what she does, she replies, “I save lives, what do you do?”

“I love working here,” Rolanda says. “The job is detail. You’re saving women’s lives by doing a good job. It’s very important to me. I have the respect of the radiologists. If

I say something’s there (on the image), there probably is. So let’s find it. I would put my skills against anybody.”