Interview with a future CRA

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By: Sandra Smith Phillips MHA, CRA, R.T. (R) (M)

I thought it might be a nice idea to get inside a future CRA’s head and see just what they are thinking about prior to taking the test.  Maybe even inspire a few of you to decide to become a CRA.

 Today I interviewed my Radiology Quality and Safety Manager Radiology Denise A. Yost MHA, RT(R) (M) (QM) (BS).  Denise has worked at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT for 2 years. Prior to that Denise was a Breast Specialist at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, in New London CT  for 21 years. 

When did you learn about the CRA exam?

I learned about it through my (favorite ever) new Director, Sandy Phillips.  I actually did not know about before then.  You were the person who actually taught me all about it.

Had you heard of AHRA before?

No I had not.  It was not until you mentioned it that I learned of CRA and AHRA.

What inspired you decide to study to become a CRA?

I wanted to do this because I have always had self-created career ladders and after I finished my Master’s Degree I kind of came to an end and did not know what  to turn next.  However I still did not have all the knowledge I needed in my mind to become a really competent director. When I saw that the CRA offered to teach me things such as financials, human resources, and asset management amidst other things my graduate degree did not cover I jumped on it.

What do you think the CRA could offer you in your future career potentially?

I would be very appreciative if it offered connections, especially professional connections and networking aside from the obvious knowledge it will provide me.  I also feel that it will definitely make me more marketable in the future.

When are thinking of taking your CRA exam?

I had wanted to start this fall but had some life events that prevented that.  I plan to study on my new boat this summer.  I want to devote a full 8 months to study so I will be ready to take the exam next May 2022.

What do you think would attract people to want to take the CRA exam?

I think a person has to be a self-starter for one, as well as someone who is looking for further education and knowledge.  I also think it is important to identify these types of people like you did with me and letting them know what the CRA can afford them or give to them would be enough for it to be enticing.  Honestly, I feel it is not widely known about and even just seeing the books you purchased from the CRA solidified this for me.  I also think this is really going to help me in my current position in quality and safety even if I don’t use a lot of those things. The first book I opened talked about joint commission, quality and safety and the CMS. It has already given me refreshers of what I have learned in my graduate course of these types of things. 

Another piece of advice I might add is if you are a Leader and have taken the CRA allow your staff to see and peruse through the study guides to get them to change their mind and encourage them to want to take the exam.  

Directors, Managers and Leaders in Radiology; I hope that in reading this article you might be inspired to encourage your leadership team members to study for the CRA exam and maybe entice them to make it an annual goal.  As Denise mentioned I keep my books in my office displayed as to encourage conversations and questions as well as keep my CRA certification on my office wall.   Each year I try to have at least 1 member of my team strive to study and pass the CRA. I also pass on the “Take the Challenge, Do it for you” CRA token I received from the RACC at AHRA, which inspired me to take the CRA exam. I feel it is such a rewarding experience and the knowledge you learn is priceless.  I must also say there is no better feeling when someone you inspired and coached to take the exam calls or texts to say thank you so much, I am now a Certified Radiology Administrator!

Sandra Smith Phillips, MHA, CRA, R.T. (R) (M) is the Director of Diagnostic Imaging at Hartford Hospital/Bone & Joint Institute. She can be reached at


  1. Well Done Sandy. Thank You. I hope this inspires CRAs and Non CRAs alike.

  2. Good idea Sandy. The more others can hear about what the CRA can offer the better. Thanks for sharing. W

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