It is a new year with new challenges and each of these challenges holds opportunities. Within the world of medical imaging, there are ever-changing challenges and opportunities. There are a few things that can be done to make sure you make the most of the New Year. As with most things it will take some time to consider and plan. However, it is time that will be well spent.
The first thing you should consider is scheduling all preventive maintenance for the year. Work with the with the radiology director and lead techs to put together a calendar that has a date and time for all of the preventive maintenance you will do for the year. This is an especially good practice with MRI, CT and mammography modalities. It allows everyone to know when the units will be down and for how long. It prevents the late-year scramble to get PMs done. It also reduces stress for you and those who operate the equipment. To do this properly, holidays and staff vacations should be put on the calendar prior to any discussion with the department.
Schedule tool maintenance. Taking time to verify you have a full set of star bits, verifying that your ball end hex keys are still viable, and ensuring screwdrivers are still serviceable is well worth the time requirements. Replacing worn tools will make the time you spend working on the imaging systems more efficient. It might even make sense to obtain extra hex keys in sizes you use on a daily basis. Scheduling calibration for electronic measurement tools is also wise. Make sure to add it to the preventive maintenance schedule so that you don’t have preventive maintenance scheduled for a time when your digital multimeter is out for calibration.
If you have staff development funds, schedule all the training. Obviously this would also be added to the preventive maintenance schedule. Try and schedule training for equipment coming off of warranty or contract as close to the time the equipment will come off of warranty or contract. Everyone knows how difficult it is to go to training a year before you get to touch a piece of equipment and then be expected to be an expert two days after a warranty expires. Often these funds show up mid-year, so the preventive maintenance schedule may have to be reviewed at that point for school scheduling.
Finally, plan to participate in industry groups and attend meetings and functions. Schedule them onto your calendar. Obviously the ICE conference in Las Vegas is coming up February 16-18 and I highly recommend attending. Also, it is important to be engaged with local groups in your region. It allows for sharing information, learning best practices and elevating our imaging community as a whole. So get out your calendar!