New Beginnings

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Tonya-EvansBy Tonya Evans, AAS, RT(R)(N)

Talk about new beginnings! I was a new imaging manager three weeks into the job at Gateway Medical Center in Clarksville, TN when I received the phone call informing me I had been selected for AHRA’s Osborn Scholarship. I was very fortunate to be able to attend the 2014 AHRA Fall Conference in St. Louis, MO, where I gained a world of knowledge. I have twenty three years of experience as a multi-modality technologist and found one day I had reached the pinnacle of my career as a working technologist.  With downsizing and changes ahead, I decided it was time to move up in the radiology field. Degrees in hand: check; experience in the field: check; leadership skills from my past military experience: check; “I can make a difference attitude:” check. Now I just needed guidance on how to put all of that in to practice.

I was encouraged by a radiology director to become an AHRA member for transitional help into the management field of healthcare. Once I learned about the conferences AHRA offers throughout the year, I knew I would be attending for the educational benefits. I decided to apply for the scholarship due to the financial hardship of transitioning to a new job, plus scheduling the conference prior to accepting the new position. I want to thank everyone who has donated to the Education Foundation for making this scholarship opportunity possible, please keep up the excellent work.

As the events lined up for the basic track, which I always think is the best place to start, I had the opportunity to meet a variety of people and gather business cards from vendors, imaging managers, educators, and directors. Some were fairly advanced in experience and knowledge, but everyone was willing to share their enlightening stories, well-noted insight, and grounded knowledge. I realized after spending some time talking and networking with everyone that with the changes and challenges in healthcare ahead, everyone was at a new beginning, whether we talked about value-based payment, quality measures, or Ebola preparation and protocols.

As the basic track events progressed from the small steps into the big picture of management, toward the third and final day I found myself reflecting on past administrators. I realized how many did not have the luxury of the years of guidance that I will have and be a part of with AHRA. After all the years spent listening, watching, and learning how to do so many things, I can finally bring all of my knowledge and training together to form a working plan. I now know how to put into effect many of the programs covered at the conference. I was familiar with a lot of the information put out by the instructors but had been lacking the “WOW!” factor. That put it all in check.

On my trip home I continued to think about the instructors and all the information they had put together. I was particularly impressed by Jeff Palmucci, CRA, FAHRA from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. On occasion he would remark, “several times during my career, I should have been fired.” It did give me a sense of comfort to see that someone who has come this far also made mistakes, learned from them, and better yet has given his time to come forward and help other managers to avoid these same mistakes. I want to thank all of my instructors who are taking the time to help me avoid the learned mistakes. Whether you’re speaking at conference or writing articles, I feel I am learning a lot very quickly that will benefit my professional growth, department, and people I will work with at Gateway Medical Center.

Tonya Evans AAS, RT(R)(N) is the manager, diagnostic imaging at Gateway Medical Center in Clarksville, TN. She can be reached at

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