AHRA President’s Post: Are you taking care of yourself and others?

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By Brenda Debastiani, MBA, CRA, FAHRA

Can you believe that October is almost over?  Time is still flying by for me!  Hurricane Ian was expected to make landfall around Tampa, FL, and our hospital is north of Tampa, so, hurricane preparations had to be made by me and at my facility.  This was my first hurricane “Team A” experience, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I “read up” on what to do at work, following the white papers that I found online from Hurricane Katrina (put portable x-ray unit next to ICU in case elevator fails, have flashlights handy, assign sleep team and work team, etc.). 

For my personal preparations, I purchased an air mattress for my office floor, loaded up on snacks to share with my team, and loaded up on a stockpile of Coke Zero for my office, too!  Next, I had to find someone to watch my dog, since my husband was still in WV packing up the U-Haul Pods to get delivered to Florida.  I found a very nice neighbor lady who was thrilled to take in Zoey for a few days.  The pressure was off on my personal “to-do items”, so I then reported to the hospital for a 30-hour shift. At the end of the storm once it was declared safe to travel, Team A was replaced by Team B.  I was able to go home for a much-needed nap.  For you northern folks, I just explained the typical snowstorm preparation and experience.  Fortunately, my area was spared.  (We had some high winds and some rain, but not much damage.) To the south and east of us, the story was much different.  Some people lost family members.  Some people had to stay at their hospitals for weeks.  Some had no homes to return to.  My heart breaks for all who have experienced devastating losses. My prayers and positive thoughts go out to you, your teams, and your families!  Your AHRA family is thinking of you!  

National Boss’s Day came and went last Monday.  Being a leader is not easy!  Our worked hours are not less, they are more.  Our employees, however, see things differently. We are there to serve them, thus the term “servant leadership”. So how should we serve our team?  I believe that we should help them be happier in life, help them develop friendships at work, and help them experience a fuller life while at work.  Our people are our greatest assets, and if we fail our people, we will fail our patients!  I overheard an employee on the phone with one of her coworkers yesterday saying, “No, you are overthinking this.  You just need to go to sleep, get some rest, and you’ll feel better about this when you wake up.” That was a true friend conversation.  Do you have the connections with your team to be able to give that advice and it is accepted?  Trust is earned over time.  I am still working on building trust with my team.  My administrative team has been promoting “self care” to the leadership team during morning safety meetings, and they also “live it”.  It is VERY unusual for me to get an email or text after-hours, only because they want us to disconnect when we are away from work so that we can “fill up our cups”.  (Remember, you cannot fill up someone else’s cup if yours is empty.) When I do get that unusual after-hours text from my CEO, I know that it is “real”, and deserving of my immediate attention.  He has earned my respect by the way that he is handling the leadership team.  Have I told him this?  No.  Why?  I am not sure why! Let’s go back to one paragraph ago where I said that “National Boss’s day came and went last Monday”. I did not say a thing last week to my boss, but it was not from lack of respect or appreciation. So, if you are one of those leaders who didn’t get recognition on National Boss’s Day, it’s okay!  Hopefully, you are being a true servant leader who knows in your heart that you are doing the very best you can for your team! 

Some of you have reached out to me to ask me how I’m doing on meeting my goals. 1) When my husband went back to WV in September, I felt guilty about leaving my dog in the kennel all day long while at work and then putting her back in for me to go work out, so I slacked off on going to the gym.  I will get back to that this week!  2)  I have spent time with family and friends both in person and on the phone, which is part of “my happy place”, and 3) I have definitely improved my “better work-life balance” goal.  Yes, I still work some long hours when necessary, but I am “home” when I’m off work, which is an improvement! 

For a quick AHRA update: 1) The strategic goals and initiatives have been developed and implementation will begin in January 2023.  More to come on that!  2) The AHRA Board just met and has an all-day virtual meeting planned for November 5th. 3) The textbook revisions are ongoing.  If you are interested in volunteering to help, please let me know.  (Due to work responsibilities, some of our authors have not been able to fulfill their commitments.) 4) RSNA begins after Thanksgiving, and the AHRA will be there at Booth #IIIJ. 5) The Leadership Development Committee will have resources added to the website soon which will be a great addition for those who want to become a committee member or board member in the future.  6) The AHRA just added Human Resources for the AHRA staff.   7) AHRA CLIMB: The Conference for Leadership in Imaging Management & Business will be held February 24-26, 2023 in San Diego, CA.  8) The 2023 AHRA Annual Meeting will be July 9-12, 2023 in Indianapolis, IN.  I hope to see you in person there.  

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please reach out to me at Brenda.DeBastiani@BraveraHealth.com

Brenda Debastiani is the AHRA 2022-2023 President and can be reached at the email address above.

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