A Worthwhile Investment

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Stout Ken_4013

By Ken Stout, BS, RT(R)(CT), CRA

As one of the 2014 Partners in Learning program participants, I was excited to get the chance to learn and see how another facility tackles the similar issues and processes that we both face. I looked forward to sharing experiences and getting an insight into the inner workings of the imaging department at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona. Lori Garrett, Director of Medical Imaging and Outpatient Treatment Center, made very good use of our time together. Since my facility is fairly new to the children’s side of imaging, Cardon was a perfect match for me to get a glimpse of how a children’s imaging department should function.

Cardon Children’s is part of Banner Health Network and consists of 206 beds and a 26 bed pediatric emergency department. At only 5 years old, the facility is very bright and updated. Even as you enter the building, you can definitely tell that you are in a children’s facility. Everyone I encountered was very pleasant and helpful, and I was eager to start my visit.

Prior to traveling to Cardon, I had communicated with Lori about some of the key areas that I was interested in exploring with her: staffing, productivity, anesthesia/sedation, and child life specialists. Upon arrival, Lori and I got to know each other and discussed how the day would be spent over a much needed cup of coffee. Her itinerary for me was very well put together and designed to ensure that all of my questions would be addressed.

My first meeting of the day was with the senior managers from each area of the department. I must say that Lori has a great group of people working with her. We had discussions about scheduling, productivity, and the common issues that we face. It was nice to see that we all face some common challenges, but it was even better to get a different perspective on how to tame those challenges.

Next, I was given a complete tour of the facility by Senior Manager Sarah Goodall. Throughout my tour, I was impressed by how well laid out the areas were. The cleanliness and appearance of the building as a whole was also impressive. The atmosphere was one of professionalism and was quiet and relaxing.

I then met with the supervisors of each modality for an hour, at which time we discussed anesthesia and sedation policies and protocols. It was then that I learned about the use of nitrous as a minimal sedation technique in the radiology setting. This was something that I had never even thought to use in our department. Cardon Children’s has implemented the use of nitrous for procedures such as VCUGs and NM renal scans. I was immediately interested in seeing their protocols for this and was obliged without hesitation. On top of that, I was able to witness the use of nitrous in a procedure that same afternoon. I was impressed, to say the least. We later discussed all of the smaller details of their initial implementation and the challenges that they had to overcome so that I might be able to provide this service to our facility in the near future.

I ended my visit with a face to face talk with Sue Eaton, the director of child life. In my hospital, I am very interested in incorporating child life specialists into some of our more “delicate” procedures. Sue is a very caring person and is well suited for her position. She gave me many ideas and pointers to help our already fantastic child life department make a smooth transition to being a physical presence in our radiology department.

My visit to Cardon Children’s Medical Center offered me more than I could have hoped for. It is always nice to see how others do things and to get that different perspective. I do believe that the Partners in Learning program is a worthwhile investment of any department head’s time and recommend that anyone who has not participated in it do so. Thank you Cardon Children’s, AHRA, and GE Healthcare for this opportunity and for investing in my professional growth.

Ken Stout, BS, RT(R)(CT), CRA is the supervisor of diagnostic imaging at Covenant Children’s Hospital in Lubbock, TX. He can be reached at stout@covhs.org.

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