Learning to Lead
By Alicia Minton, BSAST, RT(R)
First of all, I want to say thank you to the AHRA Education Foundation. When I found out that I was chosen as a 2015 Annual Meeting Osborn Scholarship recipient I was beyond excited. I am extremely grateful to all of the individual donors and corporate sponsors who generously support the Education Foundation. Without all of your support I would not have had the opportunity to attend my first AHRA Annual Meeting. It was an incredible educational opportunity and an overall positive experience. Being able to network and learn from imaging leaders with various backgrounds and decades of experience was rewarding. There were three ladies in particular who made a lasting impression on my time at the meeting: Maureen Firth, Schon Schmidt, and Sherry Freeman all shared their knowledge and experiences in imaging with me.
During the meeting, I attended the Basic Management Track, which helped me establish a strong foundation of information related to radiology management. Some of the topics that were covered included effective communication in the workplace, patient satisfaction, budgeting, asset management, project management, and quality improvement. On the final day of the conference, I was able to attend the session “Road to the Executive Suite – A Panel Discussion of Different Roads to Get There,” held by Chapel Hill Solutions with panel guests David R. Fox, CRA, FAHRA and Kyle Kellum, MHA.
The panel discussed how experience, education, and networking are vital to achieving a position in the executive suite. Their discussion included how earning a Master’s degree and industry specific certifications, such as the CRA, are important for your professional marketability. The panel also stated that a three to five year timeframe with hands on experience is necessary to expand your responsibilities for career advancement. Another piece of advice they imparted was to always be friendly and to expand your network. The panel assured us that the path to becoming a healthcare leader is a marathon, not a sprint. Each day you are responsible for representing your unique brand, and you have to put forth a daily effort to build your reputation. The panel emphasized that a strong leader looks for ways to make the most impact on their healthcare organization by decreasing budget costs, improving quality of care, and increasing patient safety.
During the panel discussion, David Fox discussed the importance of creating your own personal board of directors comprised of a trusted group of advisors who care about your personal and professional success. Your personal board of directors can be any configuration of people: a religious leader, a co-worker, a former manager, a mentor, or a close friend. One of these people should be your moral compass; this advisor holds you accountable for your actions and how well you maintain your values. A second advisor on your board needs to be your executive coach. The executive coach understands your profession and can provide feedback on your professional development. The executive coach also provides a different perspective on your work and can identify any blind spots for you to improve. A third member of your board should be a person that provides constructive criticism and brutal honesty. You also need an advisor who brings you balance and evaluates where you are in life. The advisors you choose for your board of directors should be people who can speak confidently and confidentially about you. They are your biggest cheerleaders and your harshest critics. As a young radiology professional, I will use this information to find my own advisors and establish a personal board of directors as I work towards reaching my goals.
The Annual Meeting amplified my enthusiasm for radiology management. It is easy to become complacent in the tasks of daily work, but I know that I can take advantage of opportunities to provide high quality patient care. Participating in the 2015 AHRA Annual Meeting provided me with an educational opportunity that will help advance my career in radiology management. It was an excellent opportunity to network and learn from imaging leaders throughout the country. I want to be an imaging leader that strives to enhance my organization. I am excited to see what my future in radiology holds, but regardless of what transpires I know that the network of imaging leaders in AHRA are here to support me each step of the way.
Alicia Minton, BSAST, RT(R) is a radiologic technologist at Martin Army Community Hospital in Fort Benning, GA. She can be reached at AliciaRaeFarrell@gmail.com.