By Tina Checchia MBA, RT(R)(CT)(MR)
Hello AHRA, it is a pleasure to officially meet you. I am Tina. I am new to management and to AHRA, and I am excited to share that I was a first-time attendee at the 2017 AHRA Annual Meeting!
Before I continue, kudos to everyone that attended for investing in your personal growth and development, your organizations, and the profession. You all rock and deserve some recognition. I am proud to say that I am an introvert. Large, unfamiliar crowds are synonymous with an anxiety attack for me, but everyone that I encountered at the conference was very welcoming, which really helped me connect and get the most out of the sessions. Thank you!
During the conference, I completed the Basic Management track, attended a few of the exhibitor symposiums on various topics, and was present for the three keynote speakers. I also spoke with numerous vendors in the exhibit hall. While I was partially motivated by the free food, I genuinely appreciated seeing where technology is today and making new connections. I thought that my head was going to blow-up by the end of the conference because it was full of information!
As a newer manager, the Annual Meeting was exactly what I needed. I admit I did not know how much an imaging administrator is responsible for when I transitioned from the clinical world. I’ve spent the last year learning on the go, laying down one brick at a time. The conference brought the pieces together. For the first time, I feel like I am standing on a solid foundation.
My experience was made possible by the AHRA Education Foundation’s Osborn Scholarship. I cannot put into words how grateful I am for the opportunity that was awarded to me. My presence at the meeting changed my point of view, which is my key takeaway from the event.
I am a single mother, and like all kids, mine are magicians – they make my money disappear. Originally, I joined AHRA because of the resources that came with the membership. Like many of you, I knew that I needed easily accessible and current imaging education. I figured that I would get it as a passive member through Radiology Management articles, the forum, webinars, and scholarship opportunities. My organization does not assist with educational expenses that are not tied to a degree, and the kids come first, right? After sports, activities, and their other numerous needs are paid, there isn’t much left for Mom. My mentality was, “I cannot afford to attend the Annual Meeting.” Then EF Chair Lori Burns called to let me know that AHRA invested in me.
The AHRA Annual Meeting is more than great education and networking. It is an opportunity to connect with an organization that truly believes in and supports the imaging profession as well as its leaders. It is feeling like you are a part of something big, a family. I heard many stories from veteran AHRA members and Fellows that involved tears, laughs, and triumphs. Everywhere I looked, friends reunited. As the days went by, I wanted to be a part of the family more and more; not a distant relative. The conference showed me that I do not want to be a passive member. It is impossible to connect to a webpage. I want to be present. I want to give back. I want to make a difference. That means investing in me. I removed “I can’t afford it” from my vocabulary. The kids still come first, most of the time.
Tina Checchia MBA, RT(R)(CT)(MR) is the imaging services manager at Memorial Hospital in York, PA. She can be reached at Tina.Checchia@pinnaclehealth.org.