May 2013—I was shocked and excited when I received a call from Ed Morgan, chair of the AHRA Education Foundation Board of Directors, telling me that I had received the Osborn Scholarship for the 2013 Spring Conference in Los Angeles. A girl from a small, one stoplight town in Kansas, who has transitioned to director of the radiology department in our little 25 bed critical access hospital, was going to hear facts, opinions, and lessons from leaders in radiology departments and health systems across the country!
Being new to my position, I chose to attend the Basic Track program. The topics that were covered were: quality improvement, imaging informatics, project management, budgeting, communication, employee continuum, asset management, developing procedures, negotiation, patient, satisfaction, business writing skills, and marketing. They were perfect subjects. It was just what I needed and have had questions and concerns about.
At first I was nervous that I would feel out of place. I was coming from a small department, and I was among other managers who ran multi-modality, multi-site departments with tens of thousands of exams performed each year – some performing more in a week than my department does all year. But I quickly learned that no matter what size department we were coming from, we all had the same questions, and we were all dealing with similar situations (budget cuts, employees, etc).
I really enjoyed all the speakers and the discussions that went on during the presentations. Budgeting and negotiation have been my biggest challenges so the presentations on these two subjects were probably my favorites. They really gave me a lot of things to think about, great suggestions, and points to ponder. Preparing my capital budget for October will be a lot easier and less stressful than last year.
Networking was also a wonderful benefit to the conference. Having someone to call upon for ideas and suggestions is so beneficial. For instance, during one of the presentations, someone said that they were from a critical access hospital and, “when they were purchasing a 256-slice scanner…” I don’t even remember what else he said or the question he asked because I was picking myself off the floor thinking, “how are you critical access and getting a 256-slice, I’m fighting for a 16!” During the break, I quickly ran and caught up with him to find out! We exchanged information, and he has already provided me with some valuable information that will help me in the future.
The speakers were very helpful and wonderful examples of what a radiology professional should aspire to be. They truly were knowledgeable about their subjects and cared about them as well. I really appreciated that many either said they would email us tools they were using or included them in our handbook. They weren’t there just to present, they were there to help us succeed! The most impressionable thing I believe every presenter expressed was “do not forget the opinion of your technologists!” That meant a lot to me because I have spent more of my career as a working technologist than I have in management. Also I have had management that didn’t seem to care what the technologists thought; it was about what the calculations showed. The presenters are truly class acts!
The design team did a great job of keeping everything on track and flowing in a comfortable order. They were an enthusiastic and friendly group. The team was very eager to make the conference a great experience for us.
With all the budget cuts we have had, I would have never been able to attend this conference. I am so thankful for the Osborn Scholarship and the opportunity to jump start my leadership career. There are some days when I feel like a kindergartner thrown in a class with high school seniors! Do I really know what I need to know? Will I ever get comfortable and figure this out? I will! Thanks to my former boss Sam Mittman RT(R) for his knowledge and for expressing the importance of being a member of AHRA, and to the AHRA for helping me build my foundation!
Joy Broyles RT(R)(M)(CT), BSRT is the radiology director at Greenwood County Hospital in Eureka, KS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.