Looking to the Past, Planning for the Future

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By Roland Rhynus, CRA, FAHRA

October 2010 — Sandy and I are unpacking, boxes all around. During the 2010 Annual Meeting, all of our belongings were in transit from Orlando back to Loma Linda, CA. For those of you who have ever moved, you know right where we’re at. Significant hassle factor, yet a fun time to start fresh; in fact, there is a certain energy infused into us as we go through this process. And a “process” it is: we want each item placed into just the right location for easy access or pleasant reminder. Those of you well beyond your last relocation are smiling right about now, and I’m green with envy.

It’s interesting how moving is a lot like life. There are certain “belongings” that get special attention in all phases. Extra bubble wrap for Grandma’s China piece that used to hold her best baked beans. That one gets double boxed and very carefully marked, not because it’s the only serving dish that can hold the now store-bought beans, but because of the value of it’s special use at Thanksgiving and all the reminders that go along with it.

While in DC at the Annual Meeting, I was honored to participate in a small dinner event with about 20 of our “heritage” members. Louise Broadley and Chris Pickwick organized what is becoming an annual event, an opportunity for long time friends and colleagues to “bring out the special China” and reminisce. You can likely imagine how some of the discussion went. What’s new? How have you been? What have you heard from so-and-so? Not too different from family gatherings and that’s the point: we in the AHRA are just like family, each working on daily challenges and seeking support and recommendations for improved process from each other.

As I mentioned last month, this year I plan to infuse some AHRA heritage into each President’s Post by asking one of our seasoned members three questions to provide some insight into their radiology career and the value our association brought.  My hope is their perspectives will provide each of us with additional tools to use as we build our own careers.

It was my pleasure to greet Chris Pickwick (at left, pictured with his wife Angie) as he walked through the doors at the President’s Reception on the opening night at the meeting. Smiles and hugs were all around (again, just like family) and the stories rolled. As AHRA President in 1982-83, and AHRA Fellow and Gold Awardee in 1987, he used my three favorite words: “I can help.”

Roland Rhynus: When did you join AHRA and why?

Chris Pickwick: I joined AHRA on September 1, 1975 when I was the radiology administrative supervisor at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The MGH radiology department was a large operational, teaching, and research department that was developing computerized scheduling, patient, and film file tracking systems, and I had more questions than answers. With Jim Conway’s nagging, I thought joining the AHRA would help me gain access to other administrators and managers, as well as their insights into solving operational issues and the development of computerized systems in radiology departments.

RR:  How did you find the time to engage and what value did that bring?

CP: I soon became familiar with other local radiology administrators and managers and we began setting up local meetings concerning absolutely relevant operational topics. At first, the meetings were limited to afternoons (a couple hours) and the meeting format followed radiology medical society meetings and carried little if any cost. My chairman found these meetings quite pertinent and he was happy to support them, especially when they were at the MGH. I found that these meetings were so helpful to me and others that I began helping others organize these meetings for other areas in the AHRA North Atlantic Region, and subsequently national meetings. It was a whole new world.

RR:  If given a chance to repeat, what would you do differently and what recommendation do you have for today’s member or prospective member?

CP: Without hesitation, join AHRA and immediately begin meeting other members who have common questions and frequently have new insights to add to your understanding. Take advantage of AHRA educational meetings, opportunities to meet equipment vendors and presenters, regulators, and non-AHRA members from other associations. Don’t overlook AHRA’s written resources and do sign up to take certifying exams. Get involved with AHRA; your future depends on your involvement. If I can help a current or prospective member, I would be happy to talk with them.

Thanks Chris, for your insight and continued engagement.  We all appreciate your contribution to our industry and our AHRA; past, present, and future!

One of my favorite sayings is “he who fails to plan, plans to fail.” That being said, I’m pleased to report that the board met in Dallas on September 21-22 to review/refresh/confirm our Strategic Plan. Implemented as a routine part of our operations (think The Joint Commission: continual compliance, continual readiness, annual adjustments), it is an annual process. You can find the refreshed plan on our website in a few weeks. Please do take a few moments from your busy schedule to review and comment back; we relish your input.

TTFN, RR

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