By Tom Wall, RDMS, RVT
If you don’t already know me, I am the chair of the AHRA Membership Committee. I would like to share how membership in AHRA has been truly rewarding to me both professionally and personally. I have utilized all the tools provided to become a better manager by increasing my knowledge and enhancing my perspective on not only imaging, but all facets of healthcare management. AHRA is truly a family. It is about people helping each other navigate through the trial and tribulations, as well as sharing the joys and successes of their journey.
My AHRA experience started with my boss, Peter DeGraaf, CRA, signing me up for membership. I would receive Radiology Management every other month and read it. I signed up for the Forum, which at that point was really a bulletin board. Now it has blossomed into AHRA Connect, an amazing resource for sharing best practices. I also love the oft forgotten Sample Document Library within Connect. There is a treasure trove of policies and practices in there to cull from and write your own that best fit your practice. If you are not comfortable writing, they are an invaluable guide.
I went to my first Annual Meeting in Denver in 2008. It was an amazing experience to talk with people who shared the same path and discuss how they negotiated their way. At least 2 of those people, with whom I had the pleasure of their company until the wee hours of the morning, I have seen every year since. In 2010, I went to the Annual Meeting in kinda-Washington DC (actually National Harbor, MD). I met Roland Rhynus, and it was like we had known each other for years. This has been my regular experience at AHRA meetings. Each year I meet new friends, and this year I know people will be in attendance who are friends I haven’t met yet. I also attended the 2017 Spring Conference in Savannah, Georgia which was smaller and more intimate, but an equally amazing experience.
Since 2010 I have volunteered at each meeting, and it is always a fulfilling experience. I was asked to be on the 2013 Annual Meeting Design Team in “Minnefabulous.” This was an amazing experience and continued for the next 3 years. I learned so much about the meticulous, detail oriented logistics of putting on the Annual Meeting, a lot of which I could carry into my work life.
Last year there was a keynote speaker who asked, “if not me then who?” There was a lot of chatter on Connect about the impact that statement had. Even though I wasn’t at the meeting, by being a member I still benefited from what was shared there. I was asked one day to describe my credo or motivation in a short, declarative statement. My answer was “They asked,” so I could definitely identify with the sentiment of the speaker. That has been my experience as an AHRA member: I was asked and I have received far more than I have given.
So here is where we outline the benefits of membership, some of which I expressed above: AHRA Connect, Radiology Management, the Sample Document library, Link (the blog, not Legend of Zelda), Annual Meeting, Spring Conference, Virtual Fall Conference (a money saver!), webinars, and most importantly the experience, guidance, and support of your peers. The last tidbit I have not found in other organizations I belong to and certainly not the genuine willingness to help each other.
We have tools available to help you spread the word, including the Refer a Peer program. There are many ways to become a member and realize the true value of membership, including the popular group membership models. I could go on and on, but feel free to contact the AHRA office to hear all the benefits and educational opportunities that come with membership. You can certainly also contact me if you would like, as I would be happy to converse with you.
Tom Wall, RDMS, RVT is the sono imaging manager at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, NJ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.