AHRA: A Network for Continuous Learning

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By Robert Brzuchalski, CRA, BS, RT, RDMS

August 2011–The AHRA Education Foundation afforded me the opportunity to attend the 2010 Fall Conference through the Osborn Scholarship. At the conclusion of last year’s fall conference in Savannah, GA, I walked away with fresh ideas, insightful perspective, and new friendships. It amazes me when I think about how much the AHRA has contributed to my own knowledge and understanding of imaging management over the course of my career.

I reflected back to 1989, the year I accepted my first position as a radiology director. I viewed myself as someone who was willing to take on whatever challenge came my way, but I did not have the foresight to realize how much I needed to learn and grow in order to truly be effective throughout this journey.

I was in my new position for only about a year when I was approached by a fellow colleague to consider membership in AHRA. In the months ahead, I frequently found myself contacting this same colleague about various issues surrounding departmental policies and procedures, job descriptions, regulatory concerns, reimbursement, equipment, technology, etc. At some point during our conversations he would always reference AHRA and again encourage me to give it thoughtful consideration. I had often wondered how my new friend remained so current and informed about all the intricacies involved in radiology management. Finally, the light bulb went on: AHRA was the reason for my colleague’s vast knowledge about all these pertinent radiology topics.

As soon as I joined, I was immediately impressed by the vast array of resources and reference materials that were available through AHRA. I continued to gather information and implement changes throughout my organization. Progress, as slight as it might have been, was beginning to show. I no longer felt confused about such topics as department operations, fiscal responsibility, or regulatory requirements, and was more confident in my decisions. I soon began attending regional and national meetings. All the individuals I met with were very genuine and committed to assisting and sharing their expertise. The camaraderie and networking was, and still remains, by far second to none. Many years have passed, with countless seminars, meetings, and conferences now in my rearview mirror. I have collected professional insight and developed my own leadership qualities based on shared knowledge and experiences from this peer group.

When the CRA exam was created, I was anxious to find out if what I had learned through the AHRA would ultimately pay off. I took and passed the inaugural CRA exam in 2002. The battle was complete, but AHRA continues to provide new information on issues materializing throughout the industry and the assault marches forward. The landscape is forever changing and there are many moving targets. Our profession is one that requires ongoing and continuous learning. Thank goodness for AHRA.

Last year’s Fall Conference reiterated that message during the educational sessions by helping prepare us to successfully compete in today’s consumer driven market. Other presentations discussed optimizing workflow, dose reduction techniques in CT imaging, customer service, value planning, and marketing—all provided useful information and strategies for implementation.

Since I was first introduced to the AHRA back in the early 1990s, the organization has evolved into a robust mechanism and network for continual learning. I strongly encourage anyone holding a supervisory or management position within the imaging industry to take full advantage of the multitude of wonderful offerings from the AHRA. Visit the website, search the Sample Document Library, contribute to the Forum, check out the CRA reference materials, consider Partners in Learning opportunities, use the Online Institute, look for available scholarships and grant offerings, volunteer, and consider all available products from which you might benefit.

Who knows, some day you too might be chosen as a scholarship recipient. This dedicated organization is committed to providing valuable resources for the benefit of its membership and the profession. Thank you, AHRA, for being my ongoing learning resource over the past two decades. Special thanks to the Education Foundation for allowing me the opportunity to attend last year’s Fall Conference through the Osborn Scholarship. I hope you will attend this year.

2011 Fall Conference Osborn Scholarship applications are due August 22, 2011. Click here to apply.

Robert Brzuchalski, CRA, BS, RT, RDMS is an imaging services manager at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale, PA. He can be reached at brzuchalski@wmh.org.

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