Inspiring a Leader to Become a CRA

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Curt-BushBy Curtis R. Bush, CRA, FACHE, MBA

One of the best things about being a Certified Radiology Administrator is the opportunity to promote the credential within our own industry. I had the opportunity to work with a fellow director of imaging services to inspire, encourage, and support her to achieve this important credential.

I met Caren at the 2015 AHRA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. We had some common interests and career experiences and were able to exchange business cards. After the conference we continued a dialog about growth and opportunities for advancement. I had mentioned to her that I thought the CRA credential would be required in most hospitals within the next 5 years, and that all of my managers would have it by the end of the next fiscal year.

While Caren didn’t anticipate leaving her current facility where she has been for 20 years, she was interested in gaining the CRA credential, and had already purchased the AHRA Professional Development Series textbooks to study for the exam. She decided to set a goal to take the CRA the following Spring. Realizing the value of higher education for career growth, she had also enrolled in a Master’s program focusing on Healthcare Administration. I offered her my guidance for achieving the CRA, and we set up structured weekly calls to ensure she was moving forward on an appropriately laid out study plan.

The plan and schedule that we developed was to focus on and apply the principles to what happened to be going on with her current work. For example, at the time, Caren was in the preliminary planning stages for a new urgent care clinic, making project management, patient flow, and equipment acquisition great areas to focus on. Also, one of her leaders was struggling with meeting the objectives of their position, so human resource management was a great resource for the development of a performance improvement plan. Applying the CRA domains to real life scenarios helped Caren understand the material she was reading by improving the relevance of the information.

As we worked through each chapter of the books together, we were able to discuss and share real applications of the topics. There were some things I was able to help clarify from my own experiences at other facilities or from my graduate programs. Caren was very diligent in reading each chapter, reviewing it, discussing with me any areas that needed clarification, and taking the end of chapter tests. But over the course of the Fall and Winter, she began to get a little overwhelmed with the studying for the CRA while also taking two Master’s level courses. Going through the chapters was not as smooth as it had been initially, and as Spring was approaching I brought up the idea of attending the CRA Exam Workshop at the AHRA Spring Conference. The workshop helped her identify her strengths and weaknesses, so she was able to pinpoint exactly where she needed to focus her efforts.

Over the next 10 weeks, we focused on the domains where the highest concentration of questions would be coming from, as well as the areas where her post chapter test scores were not as consistent. She scheduled her test for the last day of May, which was a good way to maximize her study time for the test. Leading up to the test, we did some last minute reviews, and I was able to be at the testing center the day of her test. After about two hours, she emerged from the testing room with the biggest smile on her face, and I knew at that moment she had passed.

Helping Caren was very rewarding to me personally and professionally. I’ve been fortunate to have worked at smaller community hospitals, as well as large trauma centers, and that broad experience helped me to understand her work environment a little better. Going over the material in detail with someone else also helped me generate great ideas that I can take back to my department as well to make improvements on how we do things. Regardless of the sizes of our facilities, many of the issues we face are very similar; Caren and I were able to come up with many solutions to common problems for both of our facilities. It was truly an honor to work with her, and I am sure we will remain great friends going forward. It is a great feeling to know that I was able to help someone achieve their goal and also promote the CRA credential within the industry.

Curtis R. Bush, CRA, FACHE, MBA is the director of imaging services at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. He can be reached at


  1. I have obtained the books needed to prepare for a CRA. Is the best way to prepare is take the online study course or is there another option?

  2. Great article Curt – it really is very motivating to partner and mentor the upcoming young leaders in our community. I hope your article will inspire others to encourage friends and co-workers to invest in themselves and their careers by working to achieve the CRA credential.

  3. Hi Bill, We recommend that you go on the AHRA/CRA link, take the CRA practice test, see where you have “weaknesses”, and focus your attention on improving in those areas. There are a lot of great resources out there, so you will have to decide what would best prepare you to take the exam. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your name on the list as a new CRA in the near future!

  4. Awesome to help a fellow person be promoted in our profession. Someone to look up to and give valuable insight too is priceless. Nice to see we work for the same organization.

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