By Daniel A. Neal, CRA, CNMT, RT(R)(MR)(BD)
I recently had the privilege to attend the AHRA 2017 Spring Conference in Savannah, GA. Not only was this my first ever conference experience, but it was all made possible thanks to the AHRA Education Foundation selecting me as an Osborn Scholarship recipient. I accepted this opportunity without hesitation and soon found myself checking into the conference and receiving my name badge. I didn’t know what to expect and initially felt out of place as I was the only active duty military member in attendance. I had swapped my Army uniform for business casual attire and found myself surrounded by fellow AHRA members with countless years of radiology management experience compared to my modest three to five years of experience.
As soon as the keynote speaker opened up, I knew that I was in the right place, regardless of my present occupation. My initial uncertainty was replaced with excitement as I quickly realized that aside from the obvious difference in attire, radiology administration in the Army is not very different from how it works in the civilian sector, and therefore I was not as behind the power curve as I originally thought. All of the presentations and presenters were great, but the one that stuck out the most to me was the one about mentorship. Mentorship is an important part of being an Army leader, so it was refreshing to see that it is also viewed as an important part of being a radiology management leader. Since the conference I have even been able to apply what I learned about mentorship in an effort to make lasting improvements to my current workplace.
While there was plenty to learn from the topics discussed at the conference, the best part in my opinion was the time I was able to spend talking to other AHRA members and vendors during the breaks, lunches, and the reception. I met some great people and really enjoyed the experience of networking with my peers to help me become more prepared for my eventual transition from the Army.
I made the most out of my opportunity to attend the conference, and I would highly encourage other AHRA members who might not have the means to attend the Annual Meeting or Spring Conference on their own to consider applying for an Osborn Scholarship. I would also encourage others to continue supporting the AHRA Education Foundation through donations and volunteering, as they are the ones that make continued opportunities like this possible for our members. I look forward to attending my next conference or meeting and continuing to grow as a radiology leader and AHRA member.
Note: Applications for the Annual Meeting Osborn Scholarship are now open; the application deadline is May 8. Click here to apply!
Daniel A. Neal, CRA, CNMT, RT(R)(MR)(BD) is the NCOIC nuclear medicine services at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, VA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.