By John Wallace
Lydia Kleinschnitz, MHA, BSN, RN, is the senior director of imaging services for UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital. However, she did not grow up thinking about a career in imaging. In fact, her tenure in imaging services started thanks to a no show.
“A career in radiology was not what I had planned,” Kleinschnitz explains. “I went to nursing school as I was inspired by my stepfather who was a corpsman in the Navy attached to a MASH unit during the Korean war. When I graduated nursing school my plan was to work in a coronary care unit, obtain my BSN, get married and have some kids. Once all those things happened, I thought, now what?”
“I then stepped through doors as they opened,” she adds. “I worked as an office manager for a cardiologist, a director of care management at a health plan and then a nursing unit director in radiology. As a nursing leader in radiology, I was offered the opportunity to apply for the overall imaging director position. I was originally the second choice but when the candidate didn’t show up on his start date, I got the job as imaging services director at UPMC Shadyside Hospital. In radiology, I have remained for the past 15 years and I am currently the senior director of imaging services for UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital.”
The no show may be one of the best things to ever happen in her professional life. It opened a door to a rewarding career that blends a few of Kleinschnitz’s interests.
“I love my job because it is always evolving. Technology continually advances so it is never boring! Even more, I enjoy the people I work with. I admire their compassion and focus on patient care,” she says.
She has been fortunate to cross paths with some amazing leaders who helped her excel and become a gifted manager in her own right.
“One of my first professional mentors was my director at the health plan. Working for the insurance company was my first foray outside of a hospital and into a business setting. Colleen Walsh taught me how to really manage others and helped me understand the ‘big picture.’ She helped me learn to never be a barrier, but to have an open mind and be open to change,” Kleinschnitz says. “The other important mentor was my previous imaging services director Verlon Salley. He taught me about staff engagement and tactics to improve staff morale. He really encouraged staff collaboration and input.”
Salley worked with Kleinschnitz in a hospital setting and also as a researcher and writer. Their work has led to more writing as Kleinschnitz continues to share her experiences and knowledge with colleagues.
“I was a co-author along with Verlon Salley and Marlon Johnson on an article featured in AHRA magazine about staff engagement,” she explains. “I am currently working on an article with Jenilynn Porter and Marlon Johnson on tech quality assurance. We really want to feature all the hard work our teams do to maintain image quality and staff skills.”
A desire to share and watch others succeed is a big part of the way Kleinschnitz sees herself helping those she works with at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital.
“My approach to leadership is to provide the vision and to be an example but also act as a facilitator, a collaborator and, when and if needed, an authoritarian,” she says. “That last one is not often needed!”
Away from work, Kleinschnitz loves spending time with her two adult daughters and seeing the world with her husband, Andrew. She also likes that she has extended family members living nearby.
“My husband and I enjoy traveling and have visited approximately 10 countries. I particularly enjoyed Scotland and Germany,” she says. “We hope to travel again once we are through the current pandemic.”
“My greatest accomplishment must be that I have been able to balance a career while along with my husband, raise our family,” she adds. “I have a great work/life balance and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”