By Denise Cole, RT(R)(N)(M)
October 2013—I am a “grown in the field” radiology manager and came into my management position by not being able to say “no” when asked! I received some basic training and then did the job as best I could. I had no idea AHRA existed until I began working with the radiology department at Humboldt General Hospital in Winnemucca, NV. Their very kind radiology manager, Pam, offered to give up a few weekends a month to provide ultrasound services for my facility, Pershing General Hospital. As I got to know Pam, I found that she was the type of manager that I wanted to be. She told me about AHRA and showed me all the information provided on their website.
I am part of a small (but very important) critical access hospital. My CEO was working on the budget so her managers could go to training sessions. I saw that AHRA was offering the Osborn Scholarship to provide access to an educational opportunity for worthy folk – who was more in need of education and more worthy than I? The Education Foundation (EF) must have agreed, because I won one of the three Osborn Scholarships offered for the 2013 Annual Meeting!
It was an amazing experience just to be among professional people who were kind, smart, and cared about others. The Basic Track I enrolled in was packed full of useful information and the speakers were dynamic. One of the many radiology managers I met was Bronwynn from Georgia. I sat next to her for all the Basic Track sessions, and I feel confident saying I made a new friend! It was nice to walk into a room and know there was a specific spot and person expecting you.
Managerial communication and patient satisfaction were my two favorite session topics, as they specifically pertained to working with people. Most of the time I love this aspect of my job, but sometimes it also makes me feel uncomfortable. These sessions provided some insights to a better understanding of people. For example, introverts explore single topics in depth (great people to give projects to) and it is better to e-mail than talk to them. The written word gives an introvert something tangible to look at and mull over. With interesting information like this, I can learn to stop feeling uncomfortable in difficult people situations.
Vendors from all aspects of the radiology field set up their wares in the exhibit hall, and we were able to browse through and meet with them all, learning about the equipment and supplies they offered. This was very informative and a real eye opener as to what is out there for our use.
A session was offered on what your radiology department should look like and what to keep in mind when building a new imaging room. It made me realize that I needed a cabinet built in my radiology room to accommodate all of our positioning sponges and make the room look cleaner and more professional.
There were also sessions on budgeting and five year plans, how to figure out FTEs and productivity (keeping in mind Leap years!), how to look at exam volumes and expand on marketing, and what to look for when doing monthly variance reports. I went to a session on business writing that taught “netiquette” when writing emails to better establish your objective and really say what you mean to say. This was a much needed class for me as email is the main avenue of communication at our hospital.
I learned we need to strive for preference with our patients, not just acceptability.
I gained so much knowledge and made many friends and contacts at AHRA, and to think I just scratched the surface with their Basic Track! They have much more to offer, which I am looking forward to learning at future AHRA Annual Meetings.
The most important thing I learned is that you can work hard, reach impressive goals, and still have fun doing it. With AHRA teaching and guiding me, I CAN become the type of manager I desire to be!
Denise Cole, RT(R)(N)(M) is the radiology manager at PershingGeneralHospital in Lovelock, NV. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.