By Bruce Hammond, CRA, CFAAMA, CNMT
July 2012—One of the happiest days for a parent is hearing your child’s first word. One of your worst days is when your child learns the word “why.” (If you are a parent, no explanation is necessary.) The same is true for a radiology administrator who hears this word from staff, patients, physicians, and other departments.
As a CRA, you are constantly answering this and other questions related to the credential. The usual questions are: What is a CRA? What are the requirements? What do I study? These are the easy questions. The easy ones always lead, just like in parenting, to “why.” It is imperative that a CRA be able to answer the “why” questions about the credential, which are usually some version of: “Why should I?” The answers are many and vary from person to person, but they provide the value to the credential.
Being a CRA is the demonstration and validation of your experiences, education, development, and comprehension as a business manager. The CRA is outward evidence to others that you have attained a goal and an elite status most others have not. The CRA is your evidence to the public, regulators, administrators, and other department leaders that you have dedicated the time, effort, and desire to set yourself apart from the rest and that you have made a commitment to your profession and the standards of conduct, ethics, and activities required by the credential.
What a CRA is and why someone should become one is something you can easily articulate. So why are you, as a person who cares enough about the profession to join AHRA, not a CRA? That “why” question is answered most often by three statements: 1) I don’t know enough about it; 2) I am afraid I can’t pass it; and 3) I don’t know what to study.
The first and the last are easily answered on the website. Just get the five AHRA books – all the questions come from those books, as well as one other. The second statement has more to do with insecurity than lack of competency. With an examination designed to test what you do every day, a set of reference materials available from one source, multiple exam days, and computer aided testing locations around the country, the question of why you haven’t taken the next logical step in your career is harder to escape, except for the fear factor.
Your peers on the Radiology Administrators Certification Commission (RACC) have done all we can do to make the application requirements reasonable, the test available, the reference materials concise, and the examination as pertinent as possible to the requirements of all radiology administrators. The examination is not just for big institutions, big departments, or hospitals; the CRA is a credential based on your knowledge and skills as a manager, business person, and leader. You will notice on the application that all your clinical work is worth only one point, but your experience is worth more. That is because this credential is more practice based than theory based.
So now it is up to you. Why not you? Why not now? Why not start today? Why are you limiting your progress in your chosen career? You would not tolerate this from your staff members who ask you why they need to be registered, so don’t tolerate it for yourself. This may be the day you come to realize the word “why” is holding you back. Forget the fear, forget the excuses. Do it for you, do it now. Become a CRA and help set the standard for your facility and your community.
Bruce Hammond, CRA, CFAAMA, CNMT is the President and CEO of Diagnostic Health Services in Addison, TX. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.