By K. Richard Douglas
Leaving the big city and moving to a small town environment was just what the doctor ordered for Heidi Hordyk, MBA, MSHA, RT(R), CNMT, CRA. Hordyk is the director of radiology at Murray-Calloway County Hospital in Murray, Kentucky. Hordyk grew up, and lived most of her life, in Memphis, Tennessee.
“I first became interested in health care as a teenager. I became involved with the Red Cross as a ‘Volunteen’ and worked for four summers in a hospital OB unit during high school,” she remembers.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the health care environment and helping patients in many different ways. I spent the next several years in college taking generic pre-med science curriculum courses trying to decide what aspect of health care I wanted to pursue as a career. I considered nursing, physical therapy and many other possibilities before my father had some imaging tests done and told me to check out nuclear medicine,” Hordyk says.
She says that after investigating the profession and visiting the local college, she found that imaging and nuclear medicine were the perfect match for her aptitude for science and mathematics and desire to work in health care. That was the first step in her imaging career. She enrolled at Baptist College of Health Sciences (BCHS) in Memphis, Tennessee, in its inaugural baccalaureate program, to focus on nuclear medicine.
“The third year at BCHS focused on radiologic technology and the fourth year on nuclear medicine leading to dual certification upon graduation. After graduating and beginning work at Baptist Memorial Hospital (BMH), I took advantage of a cohort program with Central Michigan University to obtain a Masters in Health Administration at BCHS,” Hordyk says.
“As a ‘professional student,’ when health care began to undergo major changes, I decided to go back to school again and got my MBA from Murray State University in 2013,” she adds.
Hordyk’s career in imaging began at Baptist Hospital in Memphis as a technologist in nuclear medicine; then in nuclear cardiology.
“After living all my life in Memphis, I decided that I wanted to try life in ‘small town USA.’ I accepted a position in Murray, Kentucky, at Murray-Calloway County Hospital as a nuclear medicine technologist in 2001,” she says.
She says that at MCCH, she found a facility that was an integral part of the community and where she could take on additional responsibilities.
“In 2005, I was given the task of implementing the first PACS at MCCH and became the PACS administrator. When the director retired in 2013, I became the director of radiology. I have enjoyed the opportunity to make a difference in a community hospital,” Hordyk adds.
Hordyk says that she has always been very comfortable with project management and caring for patients – all areas that her education prepared her for.
“However, moving into the director role has been a challenge in leadership and people management that I have found to be a continual learning experience,” she says.
“One project that I am proud of is the success my team has had in improving our department’s patient satisfaction scores,” Hordyk says.
“We have always prided ourselves on patient care, and the personal touch we can provide to our community, but for years our scores stayed around the 60th percentile. Two years ago, we made a concerted effort to improve the scores with a goal of maintaining scores above the 80th percentile. I’m proud of the team’s efforts – 9 months into the
2017-18 year, the entire radiology department’s scores are at the 93rd percentile,” she says enthusiastically.
She has won her hospital’s MVP award for having a positive impact on its safety culture and was the MCCH Employee of the Month in January 2016. She is an alumni board member for the Baptist College of Health Sciences and was elected vice-president last year. She is also a Murray Calloway County United Way board member and was nominated as secretary this year.
Travel and Leisure
Not everything for Hordyk is work related. She has enjoyed some adventures that have taken her far from her Kentucky home.
“I enjoy reading, traveling and learning about other areas of the U.S. and world. The most recent memorable trip was last year when we took a cruise from L.A. through the Panama Canal to Miami. Visiting Mexico, the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Columbia was very educational,” she says.
On the job, she has always enjoyed interaction with patients, which has become less common these days.
“Health care, specifically imaging, continues to be a rewarding career and I thoroughly enjoy making a difference, one patient at a time. The most difficult part of becoming a director has been a reduction in hands-on patient care, but I look forward to the continuing challenges of leadership,” she says.
Those patients can rest-assured that Hordyk’s work still has a positive impact on them, whether in person or not.