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Rising Star: Bryan Burnside

By Erin Register

Bryan Burnside, 39, lives in Brandon, Mississippi, where he has been living the past 18 years. With an associate degree in applied science with a major in radiology, Burnside is the imaging director and patient experience champion at Merit Health Madison located in Canton, Mississippi.

“I started my career as an X-ray tech at one of our sister hospitals, Merit Health Central,” said Burnside. “Within a year, I was working as a CT tech, and within five years, I was the CT supervisor. After 11 years total at that hospital, I was promoted to imaging director at my current location at Merit Health Madison.”

ICE learned more about this Rising Star in a recent interview.

Q: Why did you choose to get into this field?

A: In late high school and early college, I really had my sights set on being a photographer. After working around town with a couple of local photographers, I decided that turning a then hobby into a career was not going to be all that I thought it was. My aunt was a nurse, and she introduced me to the idea of “taking pictures of bones.” After some research of the field, I decided to give it a shot, and here I am 18 years later.

Q: What do you like most about your position?

A: I like the reward that comes with helping others. We’ve had so many positive impacts on our community and have implemented programs that have had a direct impact on saving lives. For example, we started a lung cancer screening program here. Of the first 100 patients screened, we found a dozen positive lung cancers. I also love being involved in developing ideas and projects to grow and improve our department, such as a complete renovation of our mammography suite. We went from a basic 2D mammo suite to the highest technology available in the nation. To be able to take something from that and see the fully realized project, along with seeing the response from our patients when they enter the room, is one the biggest highlights of getting to do a job like this.

Q: What interests you the most about the imaging field?

A: There really is an “art” to imaging patients. Every individual patient is unique. It’s fascinating the different ways we work to find that balance to create the best possible image. This is true across all modalities. Whether it’s simply manipulating technique in routine X-rays, table and tube speed in CT, phase and frequency in MR, or probe manipulation in ultrasound, they all have their own unique complexities when it comes to finding that balance to create the perfect image.

Q: What has been your greatest accomplishment in the field thus far?

A: When talking about what it takes to be successful in the field, I actually came up with an acronym: P.R.O.M.I.S.E. It starts with being Passionate about helping others. Without that, it’s really nothing more than just a job. Respect is about putting yourself in another’s shoes and looking at various situations from their perspective. Being Open-minded is what opens doors to many different opportunities and allows you to be a sponge. Mistakes are part of anyone’s journey to success. Innovation is constant in imaging. If you’re not consistently evolving, you will get left behind quickly. Street-smart is honestly a phrase that conveys the message of good old-fashioned common sense. And lastly, Education. There are very few days in this field where I don’t learn something new. I’ve had wonderful success moving up in my career from a night shift X-ray tech to now a director of an amazing imaging department. I attribute it to a dedicated work ethic, a little luck and those seven ideas I just mentioned.

Q: What goals do you have for yourself in the next five years?

A: Over the last six years, we’ve enhanced and improved both technology levels and patient comfort standards in every modality we offer. We’ve achieved ACR accreditation across the department and doubled the number of registries held by our staff. Over the next five years, we want to continue to build on that success. Personally, I’d like to grow my role in all our Merit market hospitals to try and spread this high standard of quality and comfort to all our imaging departments within the central Mississippi area.

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