Not Just for Directors

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By Lauren Northam

Almost two years ago, Ed Yoder started as our director of imaging at Lexington Medical Center. At the time, he was the incoming president of AHRA. He immediately signed each of the supervisors up for AHRA membership. He urged us to read the newsletters, browse the website and get involved on the member forum. What a wonderful gift this membership has been!

It is so wonderful to have this wealth of information at our fingertips. Starting a new lung cancer screening program? Want to track your productivity but you need benchmark numbers? Want to get your staff engaged in patient satisfaction and need fun ideas? Check out the forum and see what your fellow members have done in these situations and many others.

In February, I received an email announcing the Spring Conference. I immediately applied for the Osborn Scholarship when I noticed that they would be having a session about Lean principles in radiology. I was delighted to hear that I received the scholarship. I was most excited about attending the Lean session but got so much more out of the experience!

My role in radiology is unique. I am not a radiologic technologist, and I do not have a background in radiology (or healthcare for that matter). My background is in hotel management. I came to my hospital a little over 4 years ago as a customer service specialist. My job was to make sure that we were headed in the right direction with patient satisfaction and to assist with referral issues from area physicians. Over the last 4 years, I have transitioned into a supervisory role and manage our scheduling and medical records departments.

The seminars that spoke to patient satisfaction were amazing. This is an area that I am very passionate about. I think patient satisfaction is sometimes overlooked because it is seen as not as much of a necessity as safety or quality. I disagree with that. Our patients are often sick, scared, stressed, and/or uncomfortable. The video that Mike Suddendorf shared in his presentation demonstrates this very well. It is our job to make sure that everything we do brings comfort and security to our patients. We are responsible not only for their healthcare, but also their emotional well-being.

Ed Yoder has been a wonderful addition to our team. We have weekly classes to teach us the Studer management style. One main thing I have learned from this is that you must turn the “healthcare flywheel” with “purpose, worthwhile work, and making a difference.” Well, the AHRA Spring Conference certainly turned my flywheel!

The conference brought attention to all 5 pillars that we focus on in my organization: customer, finance, safety, quality, and culture. We must find purpose in everything that we do in order to succeed in each of these areas. We must feel that our work is worthwhile and strive to make a difference. With these goals in mind when making decisions, you should always be headed in the right direction.

One big takeaway I had from the conference is that it is not just for directors. The most crucial breaking point in anyone’s career is in the beginning when they are making the decision to strive for more or to continue on the path they have begun. It is at this point in your career that you need to be pushed to learn more. You need mentors to lean on and ask questions. That is what I found at the Spring Conference! I want to continue to learn and grow. The current lead techs, supervisors, and managers are the future our organizations. Someday, the great directors and administrators will either retire or move to another organization. The organization is in the best position when there are future leaders waiting in the wings, already trained by their predecessors.

So, next time you get a brochure from AHRA to notify you of a conference (HINT: You should have just received one for the Annual Meeting!), think about someone in your organization that you can take under your wing. Find someone that has potential and has the passion to make a difference in the future. Think about bringing them to the conference so they can network and become your organization’s next great leader!

Lauren Northam is the radiology support and customer service supervisor at Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, SC. She can be reached at

One comment

  1. Lauren, I loved reading your arcticle and the fact that your specialty is customer service says a lot to your organization.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I have brought a number of people to the Annual Meetings and they all have great take aways.
    The Basic Leadership program is something that is near to my heart and I have all of my lead techs participate in this program.
    Hopefully I will see many in Las Vegas this year.

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