By Tom Wells, RT(R)(T)
Although I had read about and was encouraged by past participants’ successful Partners in Learning program experiences, I had not taken the time to apply until this year. Following my experience in October 2014 at Monongalia General Hospital (MGH) in Morgantown, WV, I regret waiting so long! I was excited when I was notified by AHRA that I had been matched with MGH, my first choice, and that I would be spending two days with their director of imaging, Brenda DeBastiani. As many AHRA members have over the years, I had already developed a working email and phone relationship with Brenda concerning various imaging related questions and situations.
Once I received my confirmation, Brenda and I had an initial phone conversation that also included her radiology supervisor, Starla Ringer, to plan my time at their facility. I discovered that MGH was a great match for me and visiting there would be very beneficial because we shared the same modalities onsite, and their facility, with 189 beds, was twice the size of my own.
Before arriving in Morgantown, I had shared with Brenda a list of topics that I wanted to discuss with the appropriate members of the MGH team during my visit. Upon my arrival to the facility’s imaging department, I was greeted very professionally and introduced to Brenda. During the following two days, we shared with each other our routine job duties as directors. We met with Peggy Pust, the department’s VP and former director. This led to learning more about competencies, staffing matrix, service contracts, and radiologist relationships with technologists.
I was pleased to spend time with the hospital’s quality department, as MGH had just been notified of their successful attestation for Meaningful Use Stage 2. I was impressed by their journey through the process and the number of staff that was dedicated to this accomplishment, as our facility is working through the same process. This was eye opening and extremely helpful.
One of the biggest takeaways of my visit to MGH was discovering the basics of the system’s customer service theme and service standards. In visiting with Kristan Rogers, Corporate Education Manager, I learned how they train and integrate safety, integrity, courtesy, presentation, and efficiency into all they do as part of their customer service efforts. It starts with new employees, but also includes continuous role playing and peers holding peers accountable while employed at MGH. Annually, 50% of the employees’ evaluation is based on these customer service standards. This impacted me greatly, as it spoke to the facility’s commitment to giving the patient their very best from top to bottom. As customer service impacts HCAHPS scores at all medical facilities, this was a huge learning opportunity with many “golden nuggets” to take home.
Although there is much more I could share about my 2014 Partners In Learning experience at MGH, I can sum it up by describing it as a facility that embraces a culture of excellence, and they enjoy seeing each patient’s experience be of the highest quality.
Thank you to Brenda DeBastiani, her departments, and the rest of the MGH team for taking the time to share their experience and expertise with me. I believe that is one of the things that AHRA is about. It was advantageous to see and hear from another facility about how they do imaging both the same and differently as we do at our own facility. I would also like to thank AHRA and GE Healthcare for providing this professional growth opportunity.
Tom Wells, RT(R)(T) is the imaging services director at Newton Medical Center in Newton, KS. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.