By K. Richard Douglas
Many of today’s professionals found their calling while serving in the U.S. military. The military provides excellent training and a wide variety of career fields to choose from. Sometimes a new recruit has no idea what might lie ahead as a career path until they stumble upon it while serving.
That was the case for David Dacorro, MBA, CRA, CNMT, NCT, NMTCB (CT)(RS), RT(N)(MR)ARRT.
Dacorro is the nuclear medicine clinical-radiation safety manager at the Naval Hospital Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida. He is certified in nuclear medicine technology, nuclear cardiology imaging, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and is a Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA).
It was early in his Navy experience that he discovered his calling.
“I was first interested in the medical imaging field when I was stationed at my first duty station in Okinawa, Japan. I was assigned to a major health care facility at the time as a general duty corpsman and I noticed the radiology department. I observed all the techs being passionate at their job duties with how they took care of their patients before and after they got imaged. That’s when a light bulb went on in my head to become a medical imaging technologist,” Dacorro says.
“I volunteered and shadowed at a busy radiology department, observed how passionate all the technologists were at their jobs and it sparked my interest to become a medical imaging technologist myself,” he says.
He went through a formal nuclear medicine technologist program at the Medical Education and Training Campus, located at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. The program was a joint services program with members of the Air Force, Army and Navy all in the same classroom.
“I held several positions during my 12-year tenure in the U.S. Navy, such as senior surgical technologist lead tech, main operating room manager, nuclear medicine technologist lead tech and now I am currently a radiology department manager for 65 civilian and military personnel,” Dacorro says.
Dacorro admits that his biggest challenges have centered around setting priorities and transitioning roles.
“A challenge, that I have encountered during my time in the U.S. Navy, is being able to balance my professional life with my personal life. I am a very ambitious and goal-oriented individual and sometimes I get so intense with achieving my next goal I get tunnel division and forget what really matters to me. Thanks to the love and support of my wife and dogs, I am able to counterbalance that tunnel vision by sometimes taking a break from what I am trying to achieve and just spend quality time with my family,” he says.
As an imaging manager, a special project Dacorro tackled was taking over leadership from someone who was handing over the reins to him.
“I had to develop my own leadership style and develop professional relationships with subordinates, peers and those who are above me in the chain of command which were no easy tasks by all means,” he says.
“Another hurdle that I had to overcome was taking over the administrative portion of the job by taking charge of staff training and education, career development, staffing and updating standard operating procedures. The whole project was a bit overwhelming at first, but with the help of my mentors and self-determination, I was able to embrace adversity and conquer it with huge success,” Dacorro adds.
Rough Seas Build Character
Pets are part of the family in Dacorro’s home.
When not on the job, Dacorro enjoys powerlifting/body building, playing with his dogs, watching competitive sports, Japanese anime, trying out new food, attending professional conferences, going to the beach and traveling and exploring new places.
Dacorro was the subject of the “Member Spotlight” in the November/December 2018 issue of Radiology Management magazine in a piece titled: “Don’t Become Stagnant.”
During his military career, he earned two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. He says that these were for “all my hard work by making a positive impact at my previous duty stations.”
Dacorro likens challenges to character-builders. They are part of a learning process.
“As I mentioned, I am a very ambitious and goal-oriented individual who strives in achieving success no matter what challenges or life situation that may and will happen during the course of my life. I am also a huge proponent of not being afraid to make mistakes. In fact, the mistakes you will make during the course of your career and life are the most significant lessons to learn from towards achieving ultimate success,” he says.
“Going through adversity and challenges help build character/composure and there is a special saying that I always live by whenever I encounter a tough challenge; ‘A smooth sea never made a successful sailor,’” Dacorro adds.
“In summation,” he says, “mistakes, challenges and adversity should never deter you away from achieving your goals, it should help propel you if you react in a positive way which will, in time, ultimately make you a stronger human being and you will realize that with hard work you can accomplish absolutely anything.”
The military teaches many life skills and embracing them for life is key to growth and self-enrichment.