By Angelic P. McDonald, MSRS, CRA, RT, FAHRA
Fall is finally in the air! High school football is underway. Homecoming dresses are being hemmed, and moms and dads are asking themselves how it is possible that their children grew up so fast. Fall is a time of reflection and a time of hope in which we wonder what the next year will bring.
As I sit here and write to you, I too am reflecting on where the time has gone and how a young girl in the USAF ended up where she is today. I want to share with you one of those momentous occasions that was a “touchdown” in my life and changed everything from that point on.
I was in a Master’s program at Midwestern State University and writing on “Transitional Challenges of Imaging Leaders.” I was passionate about understanding why so many of us gave up too soon, and why after years of successful clinical experience, management experience was so earth shattering. I was strongly encouraged to submit my final paper for publication. A little history on me, I am not a writer. In fact, one of my very first papers, my professor asked me, “Did you even open the APA book?”
I chuckle today when I think about it, but at that time, it devastated me. Fortunately, MSU has great teachers, and after a lot of red ink, I finally got the hang of it. Upon graduation I took that advice and submitted the paper to AHRA’s journal, Radiology Management. Deb Murphy was the editor at that time, and when I got my first email back with edits, she was quite a bit gentler with me that I expected a peer reviewed journal editor to be. I was expecting a chuckle or the obligatory, “Thank you for submitting, but no.” Instead she was encouraging and took the time to make some very appreciative comments that helped focus the paper more towards the journal’s audience versus a graduate program. After a few drafts back and forth, amazingly the Editorial Review Board chose it for publication.
The morning my personal copy came in the mail I was honestly in tears. My children and I danced around the living room crying and cheering and celebrating! They were probably too young to truly understand what we were cheering for, but since they rarely saw their mother display such raw emotion they just wanted to be a part of it.
You see, seeing that article in print meant more to me than the diploma on the wall. It was the pain of my own transitional challenges associated with my first leadership position that was the catalyst for entering graduate school in the first place. My research topic was the accumulation of both personal and professional knowledge and pain. Seeing it on the cover of Radiology Management was the epitome of validation that those challenges can be overcome.
We, AHRA membership, are quite blessed to have an active and truly engaged Editorial Review Board. The volunteers are not only well versed in writing technique; they are imaging leaders themselves. So the relevance of what they read matters to them. It is this combined passion and skill that keeps our journal growing with articles that change the industry of imaging and imaging leadership.
How many of us have actually put pen to paper on what we are passionate about? The answer is not enough. I want to encourage each member to take that daring first step and simply write about what you are passionate about. You don’t need a master’s degree to do this. You don’t even have to be an APA guru. The only criteria is passion. Jot down your thoughts, your dreams, your pains, your lessons learned, and submit them to our Radiology Management journal. I promise you, your words matter. It may take a few back and forth iterations to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, yes, but seeing your words in print will change how you see yourself in the future. You are leaders. You are knowledgeable, and your experience can change our industry. Do not let fear or insecurity handicap you from this experience. I promise you, it will change you, and yes, you are quite capable of doing this.
I want to congratulate Tina Peralta, author of her first article, “Say Yes to New Possibilities” published in the September/October 2017 issue of Radiology Management. You took your first step, people read, people listened, and your contribution had an impact on our industry. I will be rolling the same program out in my hospitals as I am sure others will too. I also want to thank the Editorial Review Board members for the sacrifices you make and the detail to which you review each submission. To the MSU faculty for beating APA format into a future imaging leader and to Deb Murphy, editor of the journal all those years ago, for giving a young leader encouragement to see through the red pen mark-up and keep her passions afire. You all are living representations of the true Legacy of Mentorship.
Angelic P. McDonald, MSRS, CRA, RT, FAHRA is the 2017-2018 president of the AHRA Board of Directors. She works at Baylor Scott & White-Round Rock in Round Rock, TX and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.